What makes you ‘that guy’

Mac McPhail

You can’t beat a good ol’ macho action movie. Well, at least I think so. And summer is the time for those blockbuster action films. If a movie is a success, you can bet there will be a sequel, and a sequel to the sequel.

Probably my favorite action movies are the Bruce Willis “Die Hard” films. Bruce Willis’ character in the films is John McClane, a policeman who reluctantly gets pulled into fantastic situations, where he saves the day against some dastardly criminal genius. But what is appealing about the John McClane character is that you feel that he is just an everyday guy, who just happened to be thrown into the middle of a criminal disaster. OK, I know he will probably fall down twenty stories from a building and walk away. I know he will be shot at by a bunch of thugs with machine guns and not get hit. And, in the end, he will overcome impossible odds and kill the evil mastermind. But he seems like just an average guy put in a tough situation.

In one of the “Die Hard” movie sequels, “Live Free or Die Hard,” McClane explains this to his young sidekick in the movie, Matt Farrell. They have been shot at by the bad guys. (Of course, they missed. Those thugs are always terrible shots.) McClane tells Farrell what it has cost him to be the one who ends up saving the world. After he tells of all it has cost him personally, he concludes, “Trust me, kid, nobody wants to be that guy.”

The young sidekick, Farrell, then asks, “Then why are you doing this?”

McClane responds, “Because there’s nobody else to do it right now, that’s why. Believe me, if there were somebody else to do it, I’d let them do it, but there’s not. So we’re doing it.”

Farrell gets it and says, “That’s what makes you that guy.”

It ain’t easy being “that guy.” There are a lot of “that guys” out there, and they are not in the movies. For me, my father, L.F. McPhail, was “that guy.” Just like it is for all fathers, it wasn’t easy raising my sister and me. We weren’t bad kids, but it’s never easy being a parent. There were the everyday duties of being a father. But it was also the pressures and responsibilities of making sure all our needs were provided for. There was the pressure of doing whatever he could to ensure that we could have the best possible future. And, of course, Mama was always along side during the journey. I’m sure there were days when he was fed up and tired of being “that guy.” But someone had to do it, and it was his responsibility. So, he did it. He would have been the first to admit that he wasn’t perfect and that he didn’t always get it right. But he was always there, and he did the best he could. And, he would have told you that, in the long run, he was blessed for doing it. Daddy passed away a few years ago, and up to the day he died he was always “that guy” for me. (I know many of you mothers have filled this role, but it’s hard to call you “that guy.” And, besides, this is a Father’s Day column.)

I also want to say thank you this Father’s Day to all you young men who are being “that guy” for your family. (By the way, I consider “young” to be anyone younger than me.) You honor your responsibilities and duties as a husband and father, even when it is difficult. By the way, in the long run, you also will be blessed for doing it. You stand out as “that guy” because so many other males (I didn’t say men) today have chosen to do other wise.

Today is Father’s Day. The point I’m trying to make today is the same one I made on Mother’s Day. You may be busy with other obligations today, and they may be legitimate. It may be a hassle to make that visit to your father. (There are many reading this column who wish they had that opportunity just one more time.) If you do make that visit, I can tell you that there will be a time down the road you’ll be glad you did. While you are at it, thank him for being “that guy.”