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CLASSIFICATION: BURLY DAD

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OUR LIFE’S WORK IS TO CLASSIFY EVERY DAD, AND BURLY DAD IS AN IMPORTANT CLASS

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl - LSU v Louisville
OUR MOST BURLY DAD OF THE MOMENT, ED ORGERON
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Forget that he’s Ed Orgeron. Imagine this is your neighborhood growing up, and that this is one of your dad’s friends. Your dad probably doesn’t have friends, because men after they get married only befriend dogs, and because the only men to ever become friends after the age of 35 are a.) Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, and b.) Killer Mike and El-P. Everyone else has the dog, and maybe a membership card to the nure-ochiba club coming.

There’s Good Time Dad, who’ll be divorced from your friend up the street’s mom soon. There’s Death and Taxes Dad, who you only see going to and from work at terrible hours in a sensible sedan, and who is so bad at leisure he shows up to social functions dressed up like a man who looked up “OUTDOOR LEISURE CLOTHING” on the internet. There is at least one Buddha Dad on the block, the one who magically and effortlessly has a real sheen of happiness to him, who doesn’t appear to work too much, loves his wife, and spends real engaged time with his children.

Later, you find out he has a searing pill addiction.

There are all those dads. Then there is Burly Dad. Burly Dad has a squat rack in his garage. Burly Dad mows his lawn shirtless, and jogs around the neighborhood shirtless, and often lifts in his backyard shirtless. This is never for show: Burly Dad removes his shirt to save on laundry, and also because heat disperses faster under the stress of exertion without a muffling garment keeping heat trapped close to the skin.

Burly Dad’s entire nutritional pyramid consists of a broad base of steak and other lean red meats. He cooks these on a grill frequently and with skill, but is not doctrinaire or tedious about how. Burly Dad has, however, seasoned the meat already, and cooked it to the proper specification. You have never had a conversation about whether you wanted it medium-rare or not, or whether there was or wasn’t steak sauce in the refrigerator. Asking Burly Dad about any of this seems so foolish it never even crossed your mind in the first place as an option.

He eats salads, though, because “All pipes need scrubbin’.”

Burly Dad’s politics are simple: If people work, they get to eat, and if they work hard, they get to eat steak. This is it. There is nothing beyond this. Ask him about the space program, and he will attempt to retroengineer the entire policy discussion thusly:

is astronaut job?—->YES

important/not-important job—->steak test!

if important, then astronaut work hard?

If WORK HARD, then STEAK —->if not, NO STEAK

if not verifiable—>”I don’t know about all that [chuckle]”

Burly Dad did something once in a social situation that led you to believe there was a previous iteration of Burly dad—perhaps the earlier Burly Son or Burly Man—that thought grown men could and should fight on a regular basis. Maybe he yelled at the kids to get away from his roses with some real menace in his voice; Maybe he broke up a fight between two middle-schoolers with a little too much force. Burly Dad might have done some stuff in his youth, is what we’re saying, at work and at play. When it comes up, everyone gets real nervous and starts looking for the exits like a moose just wandered into a crowded movie theater.

Burly Dad had season tickets for the team, but probably let them go to spend more time “at church”, which might mean “at church,” but could also mean “at the gym.” Burly Dad doesn’t really make too much of a differentiation between those. “At the gym” means lifting weights, with a grudging touch of cardio thrown in three times a week only because his wife and doctor insisted on it.

Burly Dad enjoys all the shows on standard linear cable that no one admits to watching. He admits to watching all of them, and does not understand why you would not watch them, too.

As for music: Burly Dad likes songs about the beach when kids are in the car. When the kids are not in the car, Burly Dad either listens solely to songs about murder or prison, or sensual, almost erotic ballads too sexy for public consumption. In brief fantasies had while driving and listening to Toni Braxton, Burly Dad is holding a rose on a moonlit balcony for a woman. The tux he wears is perfectly fitted, and at least 15 years out of style, but he doesn’t know that and that’s fine.

In short: Ed Orgeron is our most Burly Dad coach at the moment. If he runs around shirtless, it’s because he’s a large animal, and it’s very warm outside, and also because he wants to earn a steak for lunch, because in a steak-based value system hard work means steak.