During his 20s and 30s, Rick Kaempfer worked in radio, producing legendary shows by Hall of Famers John Records Landecker and Steve Dahl & Garry Meier.
During his 40s, Kaempfer became a full-time writer. He wrote or co-wrote four books during that time (“The Living Wills”, “Records Truly Is My Middle Name”, “$everance”, and “The Radio Producer’s Handbook”), while also serving as the primary caregiver and stay-at-home dad for three growing boys (ages 10, 8, and 3). Care to guess which half of his job was a bigger challenge?
As a means of making sense of it all, Rick wrote a column about his parenting adventures at the end of every week. He posted those humorous stories on his daily blog (rickkaempfer.blogspot.com), and before he knew it, Rick had developed a following.
The Northwest Indiana Times came calling, and for the next eight years Rick wrote his weekly column under the title “Father Knows Nothing” for various different properties at nwi.com. With the help of this added exposure, and the explosion of social media, Rick’s following grew. He may not have gotten any better at the hard part of his job (hence the title of the column and the book), but he began to be recognized for his writing. The Chicago Headline Club twice nominated Kaempfer for a presigious Peter Lisagor Award for best newspaper-affiliated blog in Chicago. (And though Roger Ebert at the Sun Times came home with the award, Rick did get to put on a suit and drink ten dollar cocktails with the journalistic glitterati for a couple of evenings.)
In 2013, just after he turned 50 years old, Rick reluctantly bid a fond farewell to Father Knows Nothing. He wanted to turn his decade of writing into a book. For the next eight months, Kaempfer waded through 400 old columns, wrote some new material, and wove these memorable stories into the narrative form you can purchase today.
To his readers his message is clear: “This is definitely NOT a how-to-book. More like a how-not-to-book.”
To his sons: “When it’s time for therapy, just hand this book to your shrink. It will save you a lot of time and money.”
It’s certainly not their fault that Father Knows Nothing.