Has your dad been laying around the house, cutting his own bangs, and complaining about persistently feeling sad, anxious, and empty? Did he do that thing where he watches Baby Looney Toons for hours while sobbing into the Super Dad mug you gave him for Father’s Day? Don’t worry bud, chances are, your dad’s just got some grown-up business on his mind. 

Maybe your dad’s favorite soccer team had another horrible season this year. Maybe he’s having trouble coming to terms with the condition of his aging body, like his growing bald spot and bad back from operating that old rusty lawnmower. Maybe he’s seen too many Vineyard Vines shirts at work that reminded him of the ghastly sperm whale that has long been haunting his dreams. As frequently recounted by your dad, its “snow-white wrinkled forehead” and “high, pyramidical white hump” towering menacingly over him, ballooning into gentle blobs of sperm blubber in the shape of rugged sailors’ hands that massage his entire body while chanting, “Squeeze! Squeeze! Squeeze!” The nightscape melds him with the white sperm blubber and turns them into one before wrenching him from his slumber in cold sweat.

If you really want to help out your Pa, go get him a can of cold, refreshing beer. You know what? Help yourself to one while you’re at it kid, just don’t tell your mother. Or do, what do I care, god why does it even matter at this point… Anyway, the alcohol will ease his mind, remind him of his true purpose as a man, and in no time he’ll return to his old fiery ways. It will be almost as if his phases of violent sobbing and unexplained lethargy never happened. 

You may find this period of his life concerning, but your dad is definitely not depressed. They didn’t even have “depression” back in his day – that’s just something you kids made up on your TikTok app, like oat milk or the moon landing. And if he snaps out of it, he might finally invest in that newfangled electric lawn mower from Home Depot and start revitalizing his 10-square-foot plot of lawn. He might even splurge on a toupee. 

—A. Lin