The Morning File / Kids, listen up: This Pittsburgh paterfamilias has some edicts

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It was nice to see attention given in certain local media ( meaning this one ) over the weekend to the guys responsible for " Pittsburgh Dad " on YouTube.

Creators Chris Preksta and Curt Wootton pay homage to paternal male yinzers of a certain age. A camera just tapes one fellow's monologues, pretending to talk to his kids and others about the major issues of life that are on his mind: the half-empty cans of pop left in the frig, the damage done to the lawn by careless children, the failure of neighbors to maintain their property properly.

Others can worry about wars and fret about financial collapse of the world -- Pittsburgh Dad has his priorities straight. It's the little things in life, compiled into a heap of foul, rotting, oozing frustration if allowed to fester, that one has to keep on top of for the sanity that allows quality of life. Let one screen door too many slam without comment, or allow one more child to track snow or mud into the house, and it's enough to push a man over the edge.

(And you only need to read the news briefs to know what Pittsburgh men are capable of when excessively provoked -- every sort of crime and misdemeanor short of cutting other men's beards, which is a more Ohioan sort of thing to do when feeling outraged.)

So in the spirit of Pittsburgh Dad, and with benefit of 55 years of cumulative aggravation in The Morning File's household from children who only occasionally know how to be as wonderful as their potential, here is advice for our young readers on how to stay on the good side of Pittsburgh Dads (and perhaps some Pittsburgh Moms, too):

• Keep all of your beverage cups away from the edges of tables and out of the reach of someone's elbow. Everyone's tired of cleaning up after your spills of juice, milk, soda -- and why, by the way, can't anything you knock over ever just be a glass of water?

• Other than in a parking lot, don't ever open the passenger side door behind the driver to get out of the car, and especially not without looking. It's a good way to get the door decapitated. And put on your seatbelt before you become a flying human projectile.

• Go to the bathroom before leaving the house on a trip. No one wants to waste time stopping on the road for anything like that.

• If you leave your bike or toys out front of the house, why not just put up a sign inviting strangers to come by and steal them? Don't come to me whining to buy you a replacement.

• Put the DVDs and CDs back in their cases after using them, and don't move the remote controls around. Things would never be lost if people would just keep them where they belong.

• Turn off the lights when leaving the room, and don't leave the TV on if you're not watching it. Electricity isn't just handed out for free, you know.

• Don't throw any balls or swing any bats near a window, a car, a person or anything else stupid like that. If you break something, you're paying for it out of your allowance.

• If you're too lazy to take your money, love notes or other personal things out of your pockets before your clothes get washed, just be aware that it all becomes property afterward of the one doing the laundry. Finder's keepers, loser's weepers.

• You'd better not be using a new clean towel every time you take a shower. This isn't a Hilton you're living in.

• When I say I'm going to pick you up from your friend's house or the mall at 5 p.m., you'd best be ready by 5 p.m. And next time you want to go do something three blocks away, you can walk. You need the exercise, and this is not your personal taxi service, because guess what? I've got a life, too.

• If the toilet is making a sound like running water after you use it, then jiggle the handle. And for gosh sakes if you've clogged it up, let someone know who can do something about it before it smells like an Army latrine.

Gary Rotstein: or 412-263-1255. First Published December 5, 2011 5:00 AM


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