If Soldier 76 were your dad

Dad, the Millennials died out before you even started pushing payloads, calm down.

If Soldier 76 were your dad, you would never want for broken-in boots and old leather jackets. At first he would complain that he put those items in the donation bin for a reason, and anyway they look too big on you, just let him get you some new ones. But you'd refuse, and insist these are more comfortable, and eventually he'd relent.

If Soldier 76 were your dad, you would hear all about how he delivered payloads back in his day, uphill both ways in the snow, without feet.

If Soldier 76 were your dad, you would answer the phone one day and a bestial screeching like the dying souls of a thousand hells would come over the line. You would hold the phone away from your ear until it stopped and then ask the eldritch abomination on the other end if he wants to talk to your father, at which point Reaper, sheepishly, will say he does.

If Soldier 76 were your dad, he would strongly object when you refer to his visor as 'that thing that Geordi LaForge wears.' He doesn't remember asking you for fashion advice either, he says, only he totally does, frowning when you laugh at his dorky prescription lenses and coming home the next day with something actually belonging to the current century.

If Soldier 76 were your dad, you would not have to suffer dad jokes, which he definitely does not make. At all. Ever. Dad jokes are beneath him.

(Hi beneath him, he's dad.)

If Soldier 76 were your dad, every time Reaper came over you'd just lean away from the open doorway yelling "DAAAAD! HE'S HERE!" and there'd be an uncharacteristic fumbling noise from the kitchen, as your dad comes out to meet him without remembering to take off his apron. One time he comes out still carrying a pan of meatloaf.

If Soldier 76 were your dad, Father's Day would be an actual blast and, also, potentially lethal. Laser tag is involved, as are live pulse rifles.

If Soldier 76 were your dad, you would call him up and he would know before the first word was out of your mouth that you just broke up with your partner, and he would say that it happens, kiddo, it's not the end of the world no matter how it might feel, and this just means you're free to do more mercenary work now. "Wait," you say into the phone, faintly alarmed. "Dad, I'm not talking about that kind of partner." But he's already proceeding to talking about getting you some good starter gear and advanced weapons training, and you sigh and just listen to him, because he makes it sound kind of nice, actually.

If Soldier 76 were your dad, after the nice chat about turning to armed vigilantism he would say, "There's someone I want you to have a talk with," very gravely and with purpose, and you would say, "Dad, I know it's Reaper." And he would continue, adamantly, to describe this shadowy figure and the even more shadowy organization this figure works for, and eventually you have to throw up your hands and say, "It's just Gabe, Dad! He was here for dinner last Thursday! And I don't want a job with him, I was just upset about a break-up!" And your dad's expression will falter, his brow knitting for a moment before he says, "I know that. This is about me and Reaper. We figured it was time to tell you, we're--" and you would cry, "Oh my god, Dad, stop."

If Soldier 76 were your dad, he would be completely inaccessible on Sundays, which you soon learn is when he meets with Reaper and the others for bridge club. Then you learn that "bridge club" is a euphemism for something else which probably violates the Geneva Convention. Asked just what he and his old war buddies get up to, something will flicker in your dad's eyes, and he'll grunt: "Classified." You will sigh, and point out that "Classified" has been his reason for everything including why you had to have an 8pm bedtime until you were 16, but he won't budge. It's left to Ana to fill you in, which she does, obligingly.

If Soldier 76 were your dad, you would know just how terrifying the sport of golf can actually be, and you hope you will never have to share this with anyone else.

This article draws its influence from The Toast's If X Were Your Y series, to which we here at Zam owe a huge debt! Previously: If Hanzo Were Your Boyfriend.