This Mug Exaggerates My Grandfathering Skills To An Embarrassing DegreeCommentary • Family • Opinion • products • ISSUE 37•03 • Jan 31, 2001 By Herman Fraser, World's Greatest Grandpa Herman Fraser World's Greatest Grandpa My word. I still can't believe I was even nominated. When I woke up Sunday morning, I never imagined that later that day, I'd be named World's Greatest Grandpa. I didn't even know there was such an award. But there it was, written on the mug I got from my grandson Josh. I just don't know what to say. To be honest, I came very close to declining the award outright. How could I accept such a title when there are so many other deserving grandpas out there? What did I do to distinguish myself from them? I mean, look at Ralph Fincher, just across town. He's got 16 grandkids in three states, and he never forgets a birthday. He knows each grandchild's favorite candy and always has a bedtime story at the ready. Just to be mentioned in the same breath as a grandpa like that is an honor. I've only got the one grandkid, and here I am being lauded as some sort of world champion in the field? I'm speechless. And Charlie Quinn, over in Parkhurst! His daughter is raising her kids without a husband, so Grandpa Charlie picks them up from school every day with a big smile on his face. And, oh, how those grandkids squeal with delight when he plays the "got your nose" game with them! (A game I never play with my grandkid.) I hope Charlie at least got some special consolation award, seeing how he got snubbed for the big enchilada. I mean, sure, I took Josh to the zoo once, but that's standard-issue grandfathering. Telling a wide-eyed 8-year-old that the South American capybara is the world's largest rodent hardly makes one a world-class grandpa, does it? I just read it off the sign on the cage. Could I really have won the World's Greatest Grandpa award? Is this really happening? I feel like at any moment, someone's going to wake me from my afternoon nap and tell me it was all just a dream. I've searched every inch of that mug five times over looking for some qualifier, like, "World's Greatest Grandpa–Waupaca County Region," but no dice. I can't help but wonder, who were the judges in charge of making this decision? And what criteria did they use? Were ballots mailed out? According to the inscription on the bottom, it was awarded by Continental Novelties, Inc. I guess that must be like the Motion Picture Academy for grandpas or something. And since the award is "World's Greatest Grandpa," and not "America's Greatest Grandpa," am I safe to assume I was up against European and Asian grandpas, as well? Because I'm sure there are some pretty terrific grandpas in Burma. There are so many people to thank. First and foremost, my supportive wife Connie. She's the one who bakes the chocolate-chip cookies when Josh is here and reads him stories. I certainly can't accept this honor without acknowledging her tireless efforts. Connie, this is yours as much as mine. Whenever the World's Greatest Grandma award is announced, my money's on you all the way. My daughter Justine and her husband Paul should get some credit, too. If they didn't bring little Joshy around once a month, I never would've had the chance to hone my grandfathering skills. Justine and Paul, thanks for this opportunity of a lifetime. And, quite frankly, Josh must share this award with me. Without him, I wouldn't even be a grandpa, much less the world's greatest. If I am number one, Josh, you are the one who makes it easy. Kudos, champ. This really hasn't sunk in yet. It all seems strange and dreamlike. Like I'm out of my body looking down on some other, far greater grandpa. There's no way I could ever look at this mug and think, "Yes, that's me. That's the award I earned." I'm certainly at a loss for where to display this thing. I could never drink out of it, that's for sure. This needs to go someplace befitting of an award this prestigious. I guess I could have some kind of cabinet or display case constructed for it. My God, what if there's a formal ceremony later and they expect me to make a speech? I don't even have a nice suit. Are there some grounds on which I could just decline the award, like when Brando protested the plight of the Indians at the Oscars? But what would I protest? Maybe those new toilets that use less water. Those really frost my shorts. Wait a second, what am I saying? This is not the sort of thing I should be trying to get out of. As the World's Greatest Grandpa, millions of grandpas around the globe will look to me as the embodiment of grandfathering. I have an obligation to uphold the responsibilities that come with such a title. Besides, when Morrie and I get into one of our scraps about what's wrong with today's kids, and he gives me some guff, I can always whip the mug out and shut him up good.