Your dad loves you, but he became a different person the moment you were born, and that's a man he can't claw back. When you were born he was imbued with responsibility and reason, and suddenly had a thing for picking the miniature screwdriver sets out of Christmas crackers, holding them rapt to the light, and saying, "That'll be useful, that". When you were born your dad was happy, but he also lost the ability to be truly happy: sometimes, when your dad approaches happiness now, a sick lurch jolts him from his chair, and he remembers you need money, and food, and clothes, and shelter, and that it falls on him to provide them, and maybe he should take more shifts, maybe he could do some taxiing, maybe he could crack an ISA open, give you the yolk inside. Your dad loves you, yes, but a very dark part of him just yearns for a singular moment of peace.
Today is that moment of peace. Day booked off work, sent mum off with nan to the garden centre, bit of WD40 on the action on his Laz-E-Boy, all the instructions for making Amazon Prime work on the big TV written in hand on the back of a big A4 envelope. He is ready. The Grand Tour just dropped.
The Grand Tour, if you did not know, is TV for dads, because Top Gear was TV for dads, and The Grand Tour is, obviously, just Top Gear again. But how "for dads" is the new episode of TV for dads? Well, let's get up at seven o'clock in the fucking morning and watch it and find out. First, obviously, we must consult the "yer da" matrix.
THE YER DA MATRIX
Being a father is a straight fact: you have a child, you are its primary male carer, it looks up to you, you will teach it to shave one day or threaten its first boyfriend, you will have complex feelings of shame and pride when it grows taller than you; this animal you must protect from harm without outwardly loving it, like fathers do. Being a da is different, ethereal, harder to pin down. You can be a father and not "yer da". But you cannot be "yer da" without being a father. Listen, it's complex, and the matrix explains it better.
Here are the five base states of da-dom, driven down to the quick:
Encountering literally any traffic on an early morning drive to an airport
This is the angriest yer da can possibly, possibly be. There's two Astras and a Jeep between him and a car park, and he's losing his rag. Your flight isn't for another six hours. Yer da has forgotten the machinations of speech and is just yelling. Yelling and yelling and yelling. This is the angriest he can possibly be. This is Peak Da.
Discovering that a foreign football player is wearing pink or orange boots
Yer da is angry about Phillipe Coutinho, but he's not fully angry about Phillipe Coutinho. This elevated state is called, in da lingo, "in a tizz".
Taking an hour-and-a-half shit with nothing but the racing pages for company
This is yer da's latent state: he is neither happy nor sad, he is just there, quivering in the vague area of contentedness, putting two pink dents into the crooks of his thighs.
Sipping a real ale for the first ever time and going, "yeah: it's alright, this."
Yer da is approaching peacefulness.
Watching cricket for eight straight hours without anybody saying a single word to him
Other things yer da can get angry at: a mole he thought he'd won a months-long war with leaves a mound in his lawn; being poured a Guinness in any way that deviates from the way he knows; Snapchat. Things that can soothe him: a really well-done Airfix model; black coffee served in a polystyrene cup at a crisp-in-the-air garden centre; watching F1 qualifying. You can make your own da matrix at home, but this is the one we're using today. Onwards.