Paternity test

Which cinematic, TV, literary father are you? Take our quiz and find out

Mark McGuire
Section: Life-Today,  Page: G1

Date: Sunday, June 17, 2007

What kind of a father are you? Take our quiz and find out

Fatherhood isn't always easy, and we're not just talking about the life role. Its depiction in pop culture often takes the form of leaden stereotypes, the kinds you probably wouldn't get away with if you were talking about moms (mostly because your mother wouldn't let you). But it's Father's Day. The one day of the year that's all about YOU.

What say we take a gender gander back at cinematic, TV and literary dads ... before you go mow the lawn?

We've come up with five famous (and infamous) father figures to play with.

Which dad are you?

Yes, we know today's dads are vastly different from their historical counterparts, but the modern pop fatherhood oeuvre - see, for instance, "According to Jim," "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "The Sopranos" - just doesn't offer the well-known archetypes we need for our game.

Have fun!

Oh, and Happy Father's Day.

The test:

1. Your fifth-grader, Jimmy, comes home with an F on his report card. In phys ed. What do you do?

A. Explain what an F can lead to: no sports car, no good job and never leaving home.

B. Explain that school - including gym class - is the foundation for good citizenship.

C. Immediately depart with child in a 10-mile march with full pack.

D. Mandate that you and your child play 30 minutes of Nerf basketball in the living room every day.

E. Nothing. You never check his report card.

2. It's Halloween. Eight-year-old Susie needs a costume for the party. You have two hours and a roll of duct tape. What do you do?

A. Embarrass her by making her wear a hand-me-down from her older sister; lecture her on the importance of being prepared in life.

B. Concoct a perfect Tin Man costume; child later learns you are the best artist in the county, too.

C. Smear camouflage greasepaint on her face, dress her in fatigues and send her to the party with the admonition, "Take no prisoners, honey."

D. Grab one of your dresses, use tape to take up hemline.

E. Give her a nail gun and tell her to go as a carpenter.

3. It's dinnertime, and you're home alone with the kids. The fridge is empty. You have approximately 15 minutes before the kids' whining devolves into full-blown tantrums. What do you do?

A. Order hoagies and open the potato chips; plan on hiding it from the wife.

B. Take your kids to an ethnic restaurant; talk is limited to discussion about foreign culture.

C. Take kids to backyard and teach them to hunt, skin and fire-roast squirrels.

D. Make popcorn together, then brownies for dessert.

E. You can't concentrate on the TV with all their moaning; tell them to go to the corner bar for a burger and beer.

4. Your 17-year-old son comes home late, and your brand-new car (which he borrowed) is decorated with a brand-new dent. How do you deal?

A. Lecture him about responsibility and call a local charity, so he can spend his weekends working off punishment.

B. Sit him down on the porch swing and deliver a stern lecture about consequences of actions.

C. Dent the car again, with kid's head.

D. Tell him a funny story about how you did the same thing when you were his age.

E. Chase him around the living room while driving said car.

5. The kids are heading off, for the first time, to Camp Akawapatobameenhaha. What fatherly advice do you offer?

A. Have fun, but not too much fun.

B. Be honorable, be fair, be environmentally aware.

C. Come home with a trophy, or don't come home at all.

D. Wait a half-hour after lights out before sneaking away.

E. Nothing. The kid will be gone three days before you notice.

6. You catch a whiff of dirty diaper, most likely attached to the backside of your infant daughter, who has a habit of doing such things. Your wife is staring at you with arms crossed, waiting for you to make a move. How do you escape diaper duty?

A. Lift the baby by the diaper, scrunch up your nose and wait for the wife to leave before bribing your youngest daughter with a dollar to do it.

B. You don't; it's only fair you do your share, and besides, you want to experience it all with your child.

C. Tell daughter she won't get a clean diaper until she can say "latrine."

D. Put on Depends and do a poopie dance with infant in your arms.

E. Raid wife's change purse to pay older sibling a quarter per diaper.

7. Your 16-year-old daughter is heading out on her official first date. You glance out the window to see her boyfriend has pulled up in a van. What do you do?

A. Invite boyfriend in, sit him down on couch and give him a good look over; the silence will intimidate him more than words.

B. Explain to daughter that trust, once broken, takes time to mend; disappointment, even longer.

C. Pre-emptively beat the snot out of the boyfriend and hope the word gets out.

D. Dress up like a waitress and wait on them at dinner, glancing out of corner of eye to make sure boy keeps his hands to himself.

E. Offer the teens a Barry White CD in case they want to relax.

8. Your 14-year-old son is getting harassed by the school bully. He hasn't eaten school lunch in a week because his lunch money keeps getting stolen. What do you do?

A. Say, "It is better to have fought and lost than never to have fought at all - but keep an extra sandwich in your locker just in case."

B. Say, "Words are stronger than fists."

C. Say, "If you get beaten up again, I will pummel you even worse."

D. Don backward baseball cap and backpack and masquerade as middle schooler; confront bully and vow to beat the crap out of him if he does it to anyone else again.

E. Say, "Well, you were putting on some weight."

9. You're coaching Little League, and your son is - let's just be honest here - the absolute worst player, a true butterfingers. He'd have trouble catching a cold if it was headed right for his nose. What do you do?

A. Talk about how good you were and say the genes are there; keep pushing him until the wife convinces you otherwise.

B. Impart the importance of finding character lessons throughout life.

C. Fire baseballs at him until he passes out from multiple concussions.

D. Practice throwing and catching, in formal living room where Mom's Austrian crystal collection is displayed.

E. Nothing. You stopped watching the game after you realized the concession stand sold beer.

10. You've just settled into a seat at a restaurant and your toddler begins to cry. Then howl. Pretty soon, she's shrieking like a blender, whirling and stomping around in the aisle. A fellow diner asks if you'd like him to dial 911. What do you do?

A. Offer child pudding pop, then order round of pops for the house.

B. Explain, in gentle but firm voice to fellow diners, that tantrums are a normal part of childhood, a venting of youthful energy, and that, as good citizens, they should be understanding.

C. Shout, "You want something to cry about? I'll give you something to cry about!" until child hyperventilates into silence.

D. Tell fellow diners child is budding performance artist. Encourage round of applause.

E. Let toddler out of high chair to run freely around the restaurant.

11. It's time for that conversation. You know: the "facts of life." How do you explain - or get out of explaining - procreation to your child?

A. Use a bunch of useless analogies to confuse the child even more, then tell the child, "Ask your mother."

B. "I have something important to talk to you about, and I want you to know it's OK to ask any questions you want."

C. "Ask your mother."

D. "Ask your mother."

E. "Once upon a time, a beer and a doughnut fell in love and had a baby. Mmmmm ... beer-doughnut hybrid."

Now, count your answers and determine which letter you chose the majority of the time. That will determine the kind of dad you are.

A: Cliff Huxtable, the doctor-dad played by Bill Cosby on TV's "The Cosby Show": Fair but funny, full of sound advice and love, always dished out with a heaping spoonful of (no, not Jell-O Pudding) sarcasm - because what's fatherhood without a laugh track?

B: Atticus Finch, the lawyer-dad in the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," played in the movie by Gregory Peck: The moral compass, the stalwart, the paragon. There's always time for porch-front chats and life lessons. And he's the best shot in the county, to boot.

C: The Great Santini, the Marine-dad in the novel "The Great Santini," played in the movie by Robert Duvall: Authoritarian, demanding, prone to combat flashbacks, likes to talk really loud in your face. The reason God invented teenage rebellion.

D: Mrs. Doubtfire, the divorced-dad played by Robin Williams in the movie "Mrs. Doubtfire," who gets a job as his ex's housekeeper so he can spend more time with his children: "Kid-at-heart" (translation "irresponsible") father so desperate to be with his children he's willing to change his life, get a new job, start taking things seriously and, well, start living in drag.

E: Homer Simpson: D'oh! Need we say more?

Stephanie Earls, Mark McGuire, Steve Barnes, Amber Miles and Tom Keyser contributed to this report.