Father's Day: Five Horrible Dads You're Glad Aren't Yours

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On Father's Day, we all take time out to tell the old man what a swell guy he is, and then on Monday, we all move on, and Dad has to wait another year to get some acknowledgment. But most of us with cool dads probably don't realize how truly lucky we are; that a million cosmic shifts could have altered our destiny and left us to be raised by a jack-ass. So to illustrate this point, here are some fathers you're dang lucky you never wound up with, and who can show you just how good you have it.

5. John List

An inspiration for the underrated 1980s gem The Stepfather, List ranks at the top of the, uh, list of fathers who kill their families because they can't financially support them. (Fortunately, it's a rather short list.)

In 1971, List was a New Jersey Sunday school teacher and accountant by trade who was too proud to tell his wife, mom (who lived with the family) and three teenaged kids that he lost his job. So instead, he pretended he was still employed: he went to the bus stop every day and hung out until it was time to go home. Amazingly, this brilliant plan didn't solve List's problems, so he opted for the second-best solution: shooting his family so their souls would go to heaven. (His wife and kids were found neatly laid out on sleeping bags in the home's ballroom -- it was a big house -- but his mom was in her attic bedroom.)

He kindly left a note for whoever stumbled upon the grisly scene. ("Mother is in the attic. She was too heavy to move.") List split Jersey, adopted a new identity and lived quietly until his story appeared on American's Most Wanted in 1989; a forensic artist sculpted an uncannily accurate age-projected bust. Neighbors recognized List, and he was ultimately convicted of five counts of murder. He died of pneumonia in prison in 2008. So this Father's Day, why don't you tell your dad you're glad he never went John List on your ass -- he'll know what you mean.

4. Abraham

This dude was better at being the father of a religion rather than an actual father. Most dads, if commanded by an authority figure to kill their kid, would tell that authority figure to go pound salt. Not Abraham. Thinking God's instruction was perfectly reasonable, Abraham took Isaac up a mountain and got ready to snuff him, when, at the last second, an angel appeared and explained that it was all a practical joke. Awww-kward. If nothing else, at least let your old man know you're glad he never tried to stab you to death and then light your corpse on fire. It's the least you could do.

3. Michael Jackson

If your name isn't Blanket, and you don't spend Father's Day riding a backyard Ferris wheel with the old man and Macaulay Culkin after using the Elephant Man's bones as Lincoln Logs and ultimately ending the evening by tucking Dad into his hyperbaric chamber, then, really, what do you have to complain about? Chances are your dad has never dropped not-so-subtle hints about wanting a new nose for Father's Day; nope, all he wants is a beer and a cigar, or maybe a power drill. That's not too much to ask, now, is it?
2. Marvin Gay Sr.

Ever get into a heated argument with your dad? He ever shoot you to death over it? Might want to let him know how much you appreciate that.

1. Darth Vader

Ever get into a heated argument with your dad? He ever chop off your hand with a light saber? Might want to let him know how much you appreciate that.

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