Monday, June 18, 2012

The Best Father's Day Card Ever

My kids are pretty creative, but they really pulled out all the stops this year for my Father's Day card. They joined forces to create a short comic book. Using Hugh Grant's opening monologue from a favourite family film, About a Boy, they have attempted to sum up a day in the life of Kenneth Oppel.

Let's have a look, and then we'll deconstruct:

Let's begin with Page 1.

In the opening cell, the concept of "Ken Island" is introduced, and the notion of how I divide my work day up into "units." My flag features a pair of spectacles.

"Watching Promethesu Trailer: 1 Unit."
It's true that I have of late been childishly excited about the prospect of seeing Ridley Scott's latest film. As a fan of the original Alien, the designs of HR Giger, and one of the best monster creatures ever imagined, I have been chafing at the bit to see Prometheus. I foolishly told my kids I'd watched the trailer 12 times in a row.

You may also notice the toppled bottle of wine on my desk. It has become a part of family mythology (engineered almost entirely by my "creative" son) that I am pretty much constantly drunk. This is not even remotely true. I am only drunk Monday through Wednesday, and only during work hours. Nonetheless, I don't believe I've had a card made by my son, in which there isn't at least one image of me with my eyes X'd out, sprawled in a nest of empty bottles. It's funny, the things kids imagine.

Finally, you will also notice I have a shirt pocket with a pen and pencil jutting out of it. This is also an act of fiction. I have never had writing impliments in my shirt pocket -- growing up in the 80s, this was an iconic symbol of nerdishness, and to be avoided at all costs, for fear of brutal social censure.

"Web-Based Research -- 2 Units"
These two panels relate to vital research I am currently concucting for my latest novel. I will say nothing more on the matter.

"Exercising -- 2 Units"
It is true that my preferred form of exercise is the ellipitical machine. Note the inclusion of the "gross sweaty dude" to the right, my "free sweat pants" (given to me by a school I visited, that sensed my wardrobe was sufficiently feeble and lacking in sports gear: they were correct), and the "strong" muscles of my left arm, which, boldly superimposed, were clearly added as an afterthought.

I do also sail from time to time. "Alpha" does not refer to my aspirations to be an alpha male, but to the name of one of the actual boats in the club.

"Having My Hair Carefully Dishevelled -- 4 units"
I go to the hairdresser when I am at risk of looking like a TV actor from the 1970's. My hair doesn't so much grow as grow out, necessitating a visit. Tangerine is the salon I visit. I take issue with the four units of time allotted to this enterprise, since exercise only got two units, and I spend far more time exercising than dishevelling my hair.

I do, however, always say "Lookin' good" at the end of my haircut.

"I often wonder if I would ever really have time for a job."
Another part of my kids' family mythology is that I don't really have a job, or work. They often put these last two words in quotation marks ("job!", "work!") when they speak to me. I have probably aided and abetted this delusion, by always being at home, helping make their lunches, greeting them on their return home, helping them with their school work, and generally being an awesome Dad. I try to shield them each and every day from the brutal reality and moral compromise of a writer's life. Clearly it's worked.

The postscript
I did not include the back page of the card in which my oldest daughter wrote some nice things, and my son wrote some things which bolster his mythologized view of me as an "unsuitable parent". As proof, here is what he wrote:

"Father. Thanks for being a pro Dad.
Things to work on:
-The drugs
-Cutting off my hand with a light sabre
-Blowing up planets
-Breathing by yourself
-Make a stronger Death Star

I've never been prouder of my children.


  1. Love this post. Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. I just googled "Clacks Bros Museum" and "Sasquatch" to try to determine a connection. So far, I'm coming up short.

  2. haha that's so cool :3 you are so blessed!

  3. I suspect they will grow up to "work" have a "job" just like you. Very creative.

  4. Ken, I'm just seeing this a month late, but I wanted to tell you how great it is. You obviously have fantastic and creative and funny kids. I wonder where they get that from. :-)

  5. Great selections of father's day cards. I think a card with some heartfelt fathers day messages will surely make his day. Happy Father's day to all wonderful dad around the world!