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Does your Dad say any of these? If so, he's a legend

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June 9, 2024
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Dads are a unique breed. They have their own set of rules (many of which seem to be universal for some odd reason), their own sense of style (white trainers looks dope), and most importantly, their own set of expressions that they love to use (which also come from a secret stockpile shared among the dad community). Whether they’re cracking a joke, imparting wisdom, or just trying to get a laugh, dad expressions are a staple in every family. Here are the top five dad expressions that are guaranteed to make you remember why you groan the second you give him the opening.

"Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about."

The ultimate dad threat. We've heard this too many times. The slightly unhealthy reminder things could always be worst.

"Go ask your mom."

Dad gets to keep his aura of command, while ensuring his choice wont lead to him sleeping on the couch.

"Dad Tax."

Right when you open your bad of chips, a massive, dirty hand plunges in and tax the first share. Thanks Dad, I'll enjoy the remaining crumbs.

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“I’m not sleeping, I’m just resting my eyes.”

Ah, the classic denial of a dad nap. No matter how many times you catch him with his eyes closed and snoring on the couch, he’ll always claim he wasn’t actually sleeping. This expression is often followed by a sudden, unconvincing burst of alertness, as if to prove he’s been awake the whole time. Dads seem to believe that admitting to a nap is a sign of weakness, but at the end of the day, you kids are exhausting, so maybe let the man get a few more minutes.

“Were you born in a barn?”

This expression is usually thrown out when you leave the door open, or bring any form of dirt into the house. The visual of being born in a barn is supposed to invoke a sense of rustic chaos, but it often just leaves us wondering, “Why a barn? Farmers aren’t exactly the careless type…” Nonetheless, it’s a surefire way to make you bombastic side eye and, begrudgingly, close the door. It’s a part of the dad lexicon that implies cleanliness and order, albeit in the most rustic way possible, especially in city dads. 

“Back in my day…”

Every generation thinks they had it tougher, and dads are no exception. This expression is the preamble to a story about walking to school uphill both ways, in the snow, with no shoes. (That story was exceptionally funny when it was told by my father, a man who likely didn’t see snow until his 20’s. It’s a nostalgic trip down memory lane that serves as a reminder that things were somehow simpler and more challenging at the same time. Whether it’s about technology, prices, or general hardships, this phrase is a staple in the dad playbook, often met with eye-rolls but seldom heeded for the quality lessons the stories are meant to teach. All dads cant’ be Aesop, unfortunately.

“I used to play piano by ear, but now I use my hands.”

A classic dad joke that highlights the dad’s love for corny humor. This expression is a playful twist on words, making it both funny and the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard a person say. This example is, generally speaking regional, so it can be subbed out for any number of location or situationally dependent jokes, usually inserted upon Dad having a flashback to his father traumatizing him with it three decades prior. It’s a lighthearted reminder that sometimes the simplest jokes are the most effective.

“Hi, Hungry, I’m Dad.”

The older my kids get, the funnier this joke becomes, don’t ask me why, it just is. Whenever someone in the family announces they’re hungry, dads can’t resist this, like the toons in Who Framed Rodger Rabbit can’t handle not finishing the Shave and a Haircut tune. It’s a play on the typical introduction format, turning a simple complaint into a punny dad joke. The first time, it might earn a laugh. The hundredth time, it’s greeted with groans and brochures about Shady Acres Retirement Home being left in the garage. Yet, this joke persists, showcasing the dad’s unyielding commitment to puns and wordplay.

These dad expressions are more than just words; they are a part of family folklore. Much like the Rosetta Stone, they connect generations, providing laughter, groans, and memorable moments that are cherished (or endured) by everyone. Dads have a unique way of communicating that’s both endearing and exasperating, but one thing is for sure, their expressions are unforgettable. Next time your dad drops one of these classic lines, just remember to appreciate the humor and history behind it. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself using them one day too. By incorporating these timeless dad expressions into your next conversation, you’ll not only get a few laughs but also unbridled exasperation, a true mark of dad humor success.

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