Hey Dad, what else do you call someone who uses a lawnmower? When your friends come ask who I am, it isn’t funny when you say that I am just the free-loading gardener who can’t do anything except cut the grass inadequately. It also isn’t funny when you say, “Well done, son,” with the irony effervescent in its brutally crushing flow because my lifetime achievements fit inside a crouton. Hey Dad, when I was asleep on the sofa when you came home from work, and you called me a lazy slacker, did you know that my eyes weren’t closed? I was just watching something invisible. I was watching the photo on the mantelpiece of the three of us: your hair cut like lemons, Mum wearing that perfume she left behind, cradling me in her arms, and I’m wearing my favourite dragon t-shirt. Hey Dad, I wish you would remember when I was twelve, and I played the thief in the school play and stole the show. You were so proud you let me sit in the front seat of the car, but now I have to use a sleeping bag on the basement floor instead of the sofa where we used to sit watching football together, drinking beer, making small talk about your job and the weather. Hey Dad, I may have been alone in the house all day, but I wasn’t, like you so elegantly phrased it: ‘the most fucking useless gardener since Alan and Eve’. That’s not true, not quite. It’s not even correct, so at least get your insults right. I mowed the lawn again before playing card games against myself, even appointing myself with names like Luke, Noah, Moses, Mary Magdalene to pretend the Bible’s written about me, to mend my shattered confidence. Hey Dad, shall I tell you what I remember? I remember when I was three, and you told me dragons didn’t exist. I remember you telling me I was an accident in front of your friends, in front of my first girlfriend, in front of the teachers at parents’ evening (the only one which you actually went). I remember being thirteen and writing the script for a zombie film told from the zombies’ perspective. I called it “Night of the Sparkling Apple Jazz”. You called it a waste of time, son. I remember yesterday when you said my potential is like The Smiths reforming – it’s never going to happen, son. Hey Dad, I’m not going to apologise for ruining your jumper by turning it into a peninsula; cutting the sleeves made me feel like I was a marathon runner ripping the finishing line. And I’m definitely not going to apologise on your behalf, because she’s left and never coming back, because that’s what happens when you spend a lifetime trying to make being selfish an endearing characteristic, so we might as well cancel the newspaper subscription, but if you do this week’s crossword, the final word is L-A-W-N-M-O-W-E-R-E-R; it is a real word, so if you’re going to insult me every day, at least use the right terminology even though it is arguably not true, like how I still call you Dad. I’m sorry, Dad.