When people wax lyrical about their upbringing, I bite my tongue and try not to roll my eyes. They glorify their fathers as the men who played catch or took them out for ice cream. This was not my dad. My dad spent the majority of his existence with his nose in a textbook. In hind sight, I really didn't mind.
The man is a walking math/physics/engineering braniac (after 2 bachelors, 2 masters and 2 PhD's that's what you get). In his eyes, there was birth, school, application of things learned and death. Everything else was extra.
We held odd hours at our house. It was a firm early to bed early to rise program with the occasional insomniac treading to the bathroom, but there was always an exception for dad. Studying physics at 3 am over his 3:30 breakfast was done regularly and the wafting of boiled pork chops would invade my nostrils in the wee hours of sleep. By the time we got up at 6am he was taking a nap while we aired out the pork smell. These naps were paramount in the morning. I never knew what I'd get.
It is my opinion that every curious kid with a good sense of humor and an ample dose of patience should have a father who talks in his sleep. My dad would stretch out on the couch with his hand folded across his chest in the peaceful attitude of death. There was no twitching or shifting around, however (and I can't believe I am admitting to this) if I took a pencil and ever so lightly brushed his cheek with the eraser, his face would invariably begin to twitch in ways that face muscles should not twitch. If I kept at it, his arms would twitch until he would practically levitate an inch or two off the cushions as if shocked by a strong volt of electricity. It also helped to be a fast runner.
On one of these mornings I was contemplating a delicate approach of the eraser entering the hairy cavity of his nose when he bolted upright and exclaimed "I've got it!" In the pitch dark of the living room I was scared out of my wits, but he then fell back to the pillow and was out like a light and mumbling about currents, waves and particles.
Sometimes when I wasn't feeling quite so acrobatic, I would sit at his feet and listen. I learned many things about my father in those quite minutes of day break. His dreams are filled with molecular physics, math jargon, really bad engineering jokes, and pecan pie. Obviously there is a connection between dessert and the delicate workings of the universe.
For those who immortalize their sweet fathers... all I can say is energy equals mass times acceleration and don't forget to square it!