Junior Sam Mattern Parkes’ father, Adam Parkes, has passed down several interests and hobbies to his son. Cartoon by Paulina Hafer, photo illustration by Sunčana Pavlić.
Viewpoints writer Sam Mattern-Parkes reflects on having a British father and the experience it brings.
Every morning, when I am still half-asleep, my dad brings me tea. That is when I really have to wake up because it cools down rather quickly.
My father, Adam Parkes, is a very tea-and-crumpets kind of guy. Except not crumpets. Still, he is undeniably English.
He grew up in Wolverhampton (apparently this makes him Wulfrunian), an industrial city in the middle of England not known for its beauty. He went to the University of Cambridge, then moved to New York to get his doctorate at the University of Rochester.
After that, he began teaching English Lit and Comp at the University of Georgia.
Yes, Dr. Parkes is an English, English professor, one who makes his students walk up and down three flights of stairs when they look “dead”.
My dad is very much a fan of English sports — especially soccer — which is unfortunate because England is known for chronically underperforming at soccer.
Still, sports are one of the most important topics for him, and we discuss either soccer, tennis or cricket every day. His memory of soccer, tennis and cricket, which spans the past 40 years is insane. He constantly amazes me by telling me the makeup of soccer teams from 30 years ago, and who won tennis tournaments in any given year.
Growing up, my dad would play me The Smiths, The Stone Roses and The Pet Shop Boys — all English music anywhere from the 1970s to the 2000s, and still enjoys.
I’ve gotten used to the accents and sayings. Now, I almost exclusively listen to English music.
Just not the English national anthem, “God Save the Queen”, which my dad refers to as “the worst national anthem in the world.”
This burning patriotism also extends to the royal family and English politics, which he describes as “bloody awful,” even compared to the US.
One aspect of his mindset that is very prominent in him, and also in me, is a skepticism that sometimes almost borders on rational conspiracy-theorism. Thank god he hates Twitter.
Everybody has little quirks, but he has English quirks, and it’s hilarious.
At the end of the day, I am two types of bulldog.