Dads are pretty freaking awesome. Tough bastards too. I know its hard to see, when compared to men of ages past. Sure, ancient man is what we’ve been trying to beat out of men for the last four decades or so (I mean, Hercules might be muscular oiled chest and leather with dashing hair but he’s also Mr I-killed-my-wife-and-kids, you know) but we’re constantly held up against such men, and the movie starts who play them. Time for us blokes to fight back.

Can the modern, civilised Dad, also be metaphorically the strapping hero-of-old? I say yes. If fact, modern man undertakes feats that would make yea-who-sails-across-the-sea-to-attack-countries-backed-by-actual-live-Gods tremble.

Now King Arthur, he had it easy. I mean, on one hand he dies from a wound inflicted by his son, Mordred – well, son/nephew and here’s a hint for free if it is not already obvious: never fuck your sister – but on the other hand, he ruled the entire country just because he pulled a giant sword out of a stone. But if someone said “How about a super sharp knife to your nutsack?” he’d quiver in his chain mail. Yet Modern Dads worldwide step up to their doctors for vasectomies every day. Instead of a sword pulled from the round stone – a sword thrust into two stones*.

My personal feat status: The Reverse King Arthur: 1 to Idle over the men of steel.

Returning to Hercules, he had to complete twelve feats of strength. Pretty tough, until you consider he had help. From Gods. For fuck’s sake, he was half God himself, which is a massive cheat in my book. How can I compete?

After all, my status in bed aside, I’m no God.

Yeah, let that sentence can hang as it’s own paragraph for a second. It deserves it.

To touch on a point again, Hercules was required to complete the twelve feats of strength as penance for murdering his wife and children. Killing your wife and children? That’s a dog act if you ask me. Not tough at all. You want to know what’s tough, Hercules? Telling your wife that if you die, she’ll get lots of money. Now THAT is tough. What’s more, she knows that if I slip into a coma, she’ll get 75% of my current salary until I’m 65 as well as my death payout, which by itself is enough money to pay off the mortgage, childcare for three children for five years, and a little bit extra for bills and, I assume, her new gigolo.

My personal feat status: Feed the black dream**: a second to his idleness, none to heroes of the golden past.

Jason and his Argonauts spent a long time on boats. Months at sea, broken only by goat chasing (yes, goat chasing) and cliffs clashing and a lovely fleece jumper. Months at sea. All by themselves. All oiled. All muscles. All… Greek. Yet I bet not one offered to check the other for colon cancer. Not in the accepted medical method practiced today. Before you judge, obviously their society was more progressive than our socially, yet not more medically advanced. That said, it’s those kind of ‘before you do that, can I know your first name’ situations where real Modern Men come to the fore. Real Dads get checked.

My personal feat status: Holding the clashing cliffs apart: Not yet done. Well, there was “Lachlan” (I forget his Dr Surname) who checked me for internal bleeding when I got run over by a car in 1996. And “Frank”, who diagnosed me with haemorrhoids and gave me some pills that, to this day, gives my wife a violent fit of giggles when she remembers the look on my face immediately after ‘taking’ the medicine. I plan to complete the feat of holding the clashing cliffs apart in the next few years. Forty doth approach. Jason and his Argonauts: zero.

So I’m two from three. Strapping heroes: nada.

Have you, or has your man completed any of the Modern Dad feats of strength?

There are other feats of strength out there – The new Atlas (corporate hell), The new Sisyphus (engaged parenthood) and the new Beowulf (idle parenting, send your kids outside). Any more?

* The ‘sword’ may or may not be thrust into actual testes. But it gets uncomfortably close, like touch your eyeball uncomfortable. Except it’s not your eyeball, it’s your nuts.

** The Bride Stripped Bare reference, a book I unwittingly gave to my wife on a wedding anniversary.