5 Inopportune Times My Father Tried to Teach Me About Clouds

Fathers love to impart knowledge. It’s a safely one-sided, unchallenging form of communication in which they thrive, and our dads deserve to tell us about baseball, jazz, or the natural world every once in a while, but sometimes, it just isn’t the right moment. Here are five inopportune times my father tried to teach me about clouds:


When he gave me ‘the talk’.

When the first poorly timed case of my father trying to teach me about clouds occurred, I was just a kid. I asked him where babies came from, and he sat us down with a strong pot of chamomile and told me that clouds are visible accumulations of minute liquid droplets and ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere. It was that day that I learned about cumulus, cirrus, stratus, and nimbus clouds, but it would be several years before I learned about sexual reproduction, much to my chagrin.


When I left for college.

On the day I left for college, my dad helped load up my car, then stood by the driver’s side window with his hands perched on the roof. As he looked off into the distance I thought he might impart a piece of wisdom for my coming chapter; I even thought he might shed a tear. But instead, he turned to me and said that cumulonimbus clouds are the coolest ones because they’re all big. It was not the right time for me to hear about this.


When I fell off the trampoline, bad.

Another time my father tried to teach me about clouds but shouldn’t have is when I bounced right off the trampoline and shattered my leg. He ran outside when he heard my screams, which was the beginning and end of his correct response to the situation, for as soon as he stepped under the open sky, he spotted some wispy cirrus clouds and began teaching me about them.



While I rolled down the hill.

My dad’s chance to tell me about the cirrus clouds was limited, for the trampoline was located at the top of a hill, and no sooner than I had fallen badly to the ground was I rolling down that slope at increasingly rapid speeds. While I rolled down the hill, my father shouted to me that he was “kind of a weather junkie” but I didn’t want to hear it, nor could I due to the centrifugal force on my eardrums.


On a rainy day spent indoors together.

This was not an inherently bad time for my dad to teach me about clouds, except that I was knocked out from the painkillers. He did draw some clouds on my cast, which was fine.


So those are the four inopportune and one sort of okay times my dad tried to teach me about clouds. Now when I look up at the sky, I always hear his voice. Not because he’s dead but because he’s standing next to me telling me about it.