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“You can apply that to different scenarios,” said the actor who played America’s No. 1 TV dad.

With wife, Camille, by his side since they met and fell in love in the District five decades ago, Mr. Cosby, 75, still does his thigh-slapping, laugh-a-minute stand-up routines (those he’s usually seated these days). But in recent years, he has taken heat for his blunt we-need-to-talk-about-this-now commentaries.

A few years back, he told black America to claim ownership of its ups and downs, and last year his comments to me about guns and the Trayvon Martin killing drew a remarkable response. And he recently wrote a piece in the New York Post in which he said we could benefit from emulating some of the cultural behaviors of black Muslims — “who put so much effort into teaching children the right things, they don’t smoke, they don’t drink or overindulge in alcohol, they protect their women. We don’t have to become black Muslims, but we can embrace the things that work,” he said.

Some boys and men can’t tell the difference between being a father and being a member of what young people call “daddydom” — a fantasyland where girls and women allow boys and men to unzip their pants as they please.

“It’s tempting,” Mr. Cosby said. “I just want the message to get to these young boys who are thinking it [fatherhood] is a rite of passage, and the message is for females, too.”

“If more and more people resoundingly bring out the facts and the message — my children, my responsibility — we’ll be better.”

In closing, I almost asked Mr. Cosby how he was doing, but then I heard him deliver that laugh, that Fat Albert-like laugh, as we exchanged other pleasantries.

I miss my dad, but Mr. Cosby put me on point — again.

Happy Father's Day.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at