Since today is my Dad’s 60th birthday I figured this would be a good time to share this weird comparison I’ve had in my head ever since I was a kid growing up. My Dad’s not likely to read this anyway, but even if he did I’m sure he’d take this comparison as a compliment. I mean, what man wouldn’t? Anyway, I think my Dad is Harrison Ford. No, not literally, I’m not a crazy person or anything. It’s just this weird connection I see between them, an association I make in my mind based on my own vision of my father and a string of memories that dates back to my childhood.
When I was a kid I feel like I spent more time with my Dad than my brother did. I don’t know if that’s factually true or not, but that’s how it felt. If anything I guess I spent more time with him without my brother around than they did without me around, just a result of me being the younger child. Whatever the reason, one thing my Dad and I did a lot of was watch movies together. I know, that doesn’t seem like the sort of activity that would create long lasting implications or memories, but for me it kind of did. I still remember all of the movies we used to watch. We wouldn’t actually put movies in using a VCR or DVD player, we’d just watch whatever movies happened to be on TV for the most part. And more often than not, the movies we wound up watching had one common theme… Harrison Ford was the star. Whether it was Patriot Games, Witness, Clear and Present Danger, Air Force One, or any of the Indiana Jones movies, we always seemed to be watching Harrison Ford on screen just being his usual badass self (we loved Star Wars too but those movies weren’t on TV a lot back then!). Yes there were times when we would watch other movies too (A Few Good Men, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams and Hoosiers come to mind), but for the most part Harrison ford was around. So some of my strongest memories with my Dad will always be linked with Harrison Ford. Keep in mind too that my Dad always controlled the remote, so he was the one choosing to watch all of these movies which means he had to have liked Harrison Ford quite a bit himself. Just another element that strengthens the connection between the two!
There were other connections between the two as well. For one, their sense of humor. Many of Ford’s characters, especially Indiana Jones and Han Solo, had a particular kind of dry humor which my Dad has in spades. If my brother and I were watching whatever stupid comedy was popular at the time (say perhaps, Zoolander or Joe Dirt) our Dad wouldn’t really laugh that much. But the right look or a perfectly timed one-line from Harrison Ford, and you could definitely get a chuckle out of him. This isn’t to say my Dad isn’t funny, because he certainly I once you get to know him. His humor is just more situational and sarcastic rather than knee-slapping and pure joke-telling. Secondly, and this might just be a matter of opinion, but I think the two men actually look a little alike. Again, maybe this is because, for me, they were in the same room as me much of the time. But they both have strong jaw lines and tend to have some scruffy unshaven look at times. I’ll grant you, the resemblance is far from uncanny so this comparison might be stretching it, but when I’ve had this association going on so long, it’s hard to turn it off.
And finally, my Dad is a superhero. He is simply the hardest working person I have ever seen and carries himself with such pride and determination it’s hard to doubt him about anything, and I would certainly never dare too. Back on the screen, Harrison Ford often plays, for all intents and purposes, real life superheroes that are capable of thwarting terrorist attacks, taking on the IRA, and going to the ends of the world chasing rare antiquities. Essentially, a character like Indiana Jones was the hardest working archeologist, and Jack Ryan was the hardest working and smartest CIA agent. Ford’s characters were always the smartest and most determined, just like my Dad was. I watched my Dad remodel and essentially rebuild his house over a number of years almost exclusively by himself. I also watched him go to work for 10 hours a day every day and still make it to every single sporting event my brother or I had.
For me, these two men will always be associated with each other in my mind, I know it’s weird, but hopefully I’ve explained myself enough to avoid being committed. If you decide to take anything away from this post I hope it’s this: If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re trying to find a lost artifact, racing across the galaxy in a beat up ship, or attempting to thwart some sort of foreign drug plot and Harrison Ford isn’t around, maybe try giving my Dad a call. I’m sure he could figure it out!
Happy Birthday Dad!