As an adolescent you tend to de value the wisdom of older folk. As the old story goes about fathers:
“When I was fourteen years old my father was so ignorant I could barely stand to be around him. When I turned twenty-one I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in just seven years.”
In honor of Father’s Day, I want to share some gems of wisdom from my father, Larry Daniels. This is the type of instruction you roll your teenage eyes at in the moment, and then years later look back and appreciate. The old man with red socks and a bald head maybe did know a thing or two:
Lazy folks always work the hardest.
As a naturally chubby lazy kid, this one was quoted ad nauseam to me. I took advantage of plenty of opportunities to prove its truth. In other words: Do it right the first time and you won’t have to redo it. I once remember pulling weeds out of our side ditches. Instead of hauling them off and throwing them in the backyard I threw them back down into the ditch near the drain. Clogged neighborhood drains usually aren’t up to code or satisfactory work for a dad. So naturally I had to go back down into the ditch, fish them out of the drain, and then haul them into the backyard anyways, all adding to my workload exponentially.
Boom: Lazy folks always work the hardest. Especially chubby punk kids with awkward bowl hair cuts.
Whatever you do, be the best you can be.
For this one, my usual sarcastic tongue in cheek response was: “I want to be a garbage truck man. You know, the one that rides on the back!”
My dad would respond without missing a beat: “Well, then be the best garbage truck man you can be!”
When I endeavored to play team sports, from T-Ball all the way up to HS football, dad’s common refrain was, “Don’t forget the three H’s: Hustle, Hustle, Hustle.” My best effort was always expected from me, and as current a father of two young sons I now expect the same from them.
It’ll make a turd
This is one of my favorites. My dad’s a barbecuing King. I’d match his hickory slow smoked ribs against anyone’s in the world. But in the circumstance we weren’t eating his perfectly smoked and seasoned dead animal, his common response was a shrug and:
“Well, it’ll make a turd”
This Big Mac may taste like a fart sandwich, but maybe we’ll get some nutritional value out of it at least.
Those three stand out, but there are plenty more nuggets of down home common sense I could share. The man is a virtual endless reservoir of American history and political knowledge. But I’ll stop there and say thanks pops for your consistent, strong, hardworking spirit. As the patriarch of our family, I appreciate everything you’ve done to lead and love us (especially those grandkids).