This Father's Day, I give my dad credit for my relationship with the sounds of words. Which is no small thing.
My dad is a musical guy. He reads Torah, which involves memorizing chants and vowel sounds to read from a scroll where neither is printed, almost every week, and sometimes leads services as well. His conversation is often interspersed with lines from songs--why say you're going to have fun when you can channel the Beach Boys and predict "Fun Fun Fun?" Mention a familiar movie, and he'll sing its theme music. Hand him a book to read aloud, and you'll learn any song out there with its characters' names in the lyrics.
Even when he's not actually singing, he's putting things in rhythm. I realized recently that every time I count to five, I'm using the rhythm he used to teach first-grade me to spell write for a spelling test: W! R! I-T-E! My childhood was dotted with ditties; my little sister's name was tough for a four-year-old to learn, but who could forget it after a few dozen repetitions of "Leora does the horah, while she studies Torah?"
And then there are the puns. My dad isn't the sole influence (see also: grandfather; uncle who can't hear flexible without saying Flaxible), but he has influenced my soul. When you mention a skirt, it's absolutely necessary for my dad to say, "Let's not skirt the issue." When I think of a pun and I'm anywhere near Twitter, I will mistweet the English language.
As those who know me are aware, I love me some rhyme and meter. I don't sing especially well, but I love writing song parodies and noticing which song lyrics fit to which other songs' melodies. I have an ISBN song, similar to "Camptown Races," that helps me make sure I haven't missed any digits. In short, my life is a life of earworms.
Thanks, Dan the Man. Happy Father's Day.