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Good fathers, bad fathers, and a few between

Published June 19. 2010 09:00AM

Here are some thoughts on best and worst fathers in acknowledgment of Father's Day.

Keep in mind there's no universal list and no consensus. No two people would reach agreement on this topic. So take the following with a grain of salt.

Top father

If the top father is the guy with the most kids, then the father of all time is Mulai Ismail (1646-1727), the last Sharifian Emperor of Morocco. By 1703 he had at least 342 daughters and 525 sons and by 1721 was reputed to have 700 male descendants.

This meant he had been intimate with an average of 1.2 women per day for over 60 years. And to think this was long before the days of Viagra, or even Geritol. His nickname was the Warrior King. But obviously his mantra was make love not war.

Interestingly, Ismail claimed to be a descendant of Muhammad through Muhammad's grandson.

Some accounts say he fathered a total of 889 children, a number considered the record for any man throughout history that can be verified.

Anyway, after Ismail died, there was a battle of succession among his sons. This only proves that virtually all children will argue after the parents are gone, even when one parent is descended from Muhammad.

Worst father

The biblical figure Lot gets the award as worst father. In a drunken binge, he slept with each of his daughters.

But in more modern times, the honor probably goes to someone like Marvin Gaye, Sr. He shot his own son on April Fool's Day, 1984. It was just one day short of his son's 45th birthday. According to reports, the father shot his son twice in the chest with a gun the son bought for him as a gift. If that's true, Gaye also gets the honor for being the most ungrateful father who ever received a gift.

Most confusing father

We were taught that the father of our country, George Washington, was super-honest. A guy to emulate. He supposedly professed that he was unable to fib. He said to his father: "I can't tell a lie. I chopped down the cherry tree with my hatchet."

Well, no human is perfect and neither was Washington. In fact, Washington's purity may only have gone as far as cherry trees. Turns out, George Washington didn't return a library book. If he were still living, he'd be facing a steep fine, according to the New York Library. Library ledgers show that Washington borrowed a book called "Law of Nations." The entry on Washington simply lists the borrower as "president." He also borrowed another book containing debates from Britain's House of Commons.

Both books were due on Nov. 2, 1789. But he never showed up to return them. He was probably busy making cherry pies.

Anyway, the library figures he racked up 220 years' worth of late fees.

"We're not actively pursuing the overdue fines," said head librarian Mark Bartlett. "But we would be very happy if we were able to get the books back."

Those late fees would amount to $300,000. That's the truth. I can't tell a lie, and I still think Washington was a great man.

Best father

This one is easy. The best father is yours. He's the one you know better than anyone else, and who helped to make you the person you are today.

Better still, if you happen to be a Dad, then the best father might well be you. Either way, here's to you on Father's Day. You're the best. That much is certain because I can't tell a lie.

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