Monday, June 18, 2007

Fathers Day Reflections

As another Fathers Day passes by, I wonder about the kinds of things my kids will remember about me. What memories will make them laugh, cry, snort milk out their nose, etc?

Will it be Daddy singing at chuch every Sunday? Will it be taking a minute to play 'tea party' before leaving for work, even though I'm already running late? Piggyback rides in the pool? Riding along on the back of my bicycle? Going to see WWE Smackdown live and in person? Going to the beach? The first time I called my 10-year-old on her new cell phone (ugh)?

This is an excellent time to recount some of the things that I have learned from MY father:

- Do what you say you're going to do.

There were many summer 'temp' jobs that I didn't like. There were many times that I didn't feel like going to Little League. Still, I kept going because I said I would and the team was counting on me. Come to think of it, I think I've only ever had two sick days in my life. Watch out, Cal!

- Never tease or make fun of someone for something that they can't help (or control).

This speaks for itself.

- Never 'ride the clutch'.

My dad taught me to drive on a manual transmission (stick-shift). This has proven to be an invaluable skill and many people just don't know how to do it. I never knew any other way for the first 5 years or so of my driving career.

When he was teaching me to drive a stick, he would notice whenever I didn't take my foot all the way off of the clutch. Dad would gently whack me on the arm repeatedly saying, "Get your foot off the clutch, get your foot off the clutch, get your foot off the clutch." As you may know, leaving your foot resting on the clutch is a pretty good way to wear it out more quickly...and they are not cheap.

Whenever I was out driving by myself, if I left my foot on the clutch I would subconsciously feel this whacking sensation on my arm and I would come right off of it.

I think I had my first car, a Jetta, for about 10 years. As I recall, it only ever needed one new clutch.


Whenever I was in a particularly bad hitting slump (which seemed to be quite often...hey, there's a reason I'm a banker and not a ballplayer), my dad would take me out to the diamond and we would have hitting practice.

He would pitch and tell me to 'focus on THE BALL'. At that moment, when I was up at the plate, nothing else in the world mattered...just THE BALL. Not the pitcher, not my teammates, not the state of the global economy, just THE BALL. Don't take your eye off of it until your bat hits it. Just THE BALL.

A good lesson, not only for baseball but for life in general.

- "You don't have to KNOW what you're doing, you just have to ACT LIKE you know what you're doing."

In other words, be confident in yourself and people will follow you. I have started reading "The Little Engine That Could" to my daughters for this very reason. It's not just a children's book, it's a lesson about life.

Of course, you do have to have a little knowledge at some point but as the great Yogi Berra said, "Half the game is 90% mental."

- Police officers should always wear reflective gear at night.

On second thought, I think I'll leave this one alone...before I'm 'struck down'.

- It's not so much yourself that you have to worry about, it's the other maniacs out there.

True, not only when driving but in every aspect of life.

- How to change a flat tire.

This lesson came about when I first started driving and took a curve too fast in the rain. BOOM - right into the curb, blowing out the tire...and the axel, and the frame, and...well, you get the idea.

I had to call home and tell my mom who then had to call my dad at work...much to my dismay.

I knew I was in trouble when dad came flying up the wrong way on a one-way street, screeched to a stop, checked to make sure I was uninjured, then said,

"Nice work, son. Change the tire."

Whew. I think I had to go home and change my underwear. This would have been much less traumatic if my dad hadn't been in the car with me just the day before telling me that I was driving too fast in the rain. Dads...what do they know anyway?

- When to 'rescue' and when to 'give space'.

Junior prom. Nervous as hell. Got to the dance with my date. Had a great time. Went to leave. Realized I had locked the keys in the car.

Called dad. He drove down with the spare keys. The garage attendant took me (alone) to my car and told me that the car had drifted out to the middle of the garage. He had pushed it back into its space.

I was apparently so nervous when I got there, I left the keys in the ignition when I locked the doors AND I had left the parking brake off without realizing it.

Since it was now after midnight and I was going to be driving after the provisional license curfew of midnight, Dad followed us back to my girlfriend's house...but waited about a block or two away while I walked her to her front door.

- "Be smart, and if you're going to be smart about it."

Fatherly advice as I began my Freshman year of college. It would be my first time living away from home, surrounded by plenty of distractions (college parties, girls, etc). Good advice.

Well, I could go on all day, but I am being summoned to the bathroom by my 3-year-old.

"Daaaaaddy, I neeeeed you. I had a poooopie."

I wonder if they will remember this part.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Keep Your Butt in School

I can only hope that my kids do not turn out like this...

Excerpts from Actual Resumes

"My goal is to be a meteorologist. But since I have no training in meteorology, I suppose I should try stock brokerage."

"OBJECTIVE: To have my skills and ethics challenged on a daily basis."

"OBJECTIVE: Total obliteration of sales and federal income taxes and tax laws."

"OBJECTION: To use my skills in sales."

"Education: B.A. in Loberal Arts."

"I have a bachelorette degree in computers."

"EDUCATION: College, August 1880 - May 1984"

"Completed 11 years of high school."

"Finished eighth in my class of ten."

"Graduated in the top 66% of my class."

"Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain operation."

"Experience: Watered, groomed, and fed the family dog for years."

"Previous experience: Self-employed - a fiasco."

"Extensive background in public accounting. I can also stand on my head!"

"Excellent memory; strong math aptitude; excellent memory; effective management skills; and very good at math."

"Exposure to German for two years, but many words are inappropriate for business."

"I am quick at typing, about 25 words per minute."

"English (fluent)"

"Typing speed: 756 words per minute."

"Reason for leaving last job: The owner gave new meaning to the word 'paranoia'. I prefer to elaborate privately."

"Reason for leaving last job: They insisted that all employees get to work by 8:45am every morning. Could not work under those conditions."

"I procrastinate, especially when the task in unpleasant."

"My ruthlessness terrorized the competition and can sometimes offend."

"Personal interests: Donating blood - 14 gallons so far!"

"REFERENCES: None. I've left a path of destruction behind me."