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Dad Checks Watch, Longs for WWII Podcast He Saved for Ride Home From Family Weekend


Photo by Sammie Sander / CC2.0

“Damn, still got at least a half hour left,” Adam Penner, Penn dad and self-proclaimed “history buff,” muttered under his breath in between rounds of flip cup. At that point, Adam was enduring his sixth hour at Penn and ninth hour of “family time” that day. "That is," he continues, gesturing to Mrs. Penner, “if you count the three hour car ride with Drinky Von-Pees-A-Lot.”

So far, the Penner family had brunched, walked, shopped, lunched, and boozed. They had made their way back to a “Parents’ Pong” party, but the lack of MILFs was kind of bumming everyone out. Adam was ready to go. Unfortunately, he had entered into a heated game of 1v1 flip cup with one of the other dads, who had unknowingly challenged Adam by showing up to Parent’s Weekend in the same puffer vest as him. The “old school” flip cup rules had each parent line up 8 red cups on a table and drink them in a row, before flipping all 8 in a row. Three ties had left the two men in a hotly contested, drunken, slurring, and stumbling winner-take-all fourth game.

Adam knew he was going to be driving “just a little tipsy, my friend,” and since that was nothing new, he wasn’t really concerned. What did concern him was his waning confidence in whether or not Hitler had actually killed himself as the war came to an end. Every bone in his body told him that, of course, it had to be true. But a recent foray deep, deep into the heart of his mind left him questioning every facet of his life much more than before.

“I think they called them skeptics in the middle ages, they were like the guys who inspired the Renaissance,” Adam explained to me in the second-floor stall of his son’s fraternity’s bathroom after sniffing a relatively small portion of cocaine off of the corner of a folded Louie Louie napkin. He had won the flip cup playoff and proceeded to invite me up “for a little party before the Penners hit the road?” The Renaissance reference told me that, clearly, this guy knew his stuff. I kept listening, and I kept my tape recorder recording. 

Unfortunately it seemed like Adam was slipping further and further away from reality as the conversation lengthened. I was super excited to welcome his alternative viewpoint, internalize it for a few intense days of reflection, and make a decision for myself. I love keeping an open mind. But the more he talked, the more I thought, “Dude we need to call this guy an Uber.”

One time in high school I was at a party with the popular kids and I felt really out of place. And when my Uber was on the way, this girl was like, “Is your Uber coming?” It made me feel unwanted, sad. I didn’t want to give Adam this impression, but I was also done with his fake history full of fake academic rhetoric. So I just walked him to his car, wished him and Mrs. Penner safe travels, and waved goodbye.

Despite my mixed feelings, I was happy he would have a chance to listen to his podcast after such a long day. And although he was definitely fucked up, it was probably safer for him to drive than call an Uber and risk the chance of a Tesla picking him up.