In honor of Father’s Day, and my Dad (who despite his habit of doing embarrassing things like tripping over an installation at my opening and breakingthe piece…which he says is “in his job description as a father”… is pretty rad) here are a few of the important life lessons my Father has taught me over the years:
How to use a hammer.
When I was 5, I used to hang out in my father’s workshop a lot. He had, and still has, a 1955 MG that he tinkers with. It’s a big flashy red car so that alone was appealing. I didn’t care much for dolls, much to both of my parents’ pleasure, so when I needed something to keep me busy and to keep me occupied while he was tuning the carburetor, my dad gave me a piece of wood, a box of nails and a hammer to play with.
Now I play with a hammer at work, hanging shows.
Hockey Players Don’t Cry.
It was bath time and a bar of soap had gone rogue, slipping unnoticed out of the soap dish and onto the floor of the tub. I slipped. And cracked my head open. I was probably 3. My Nanny rushed me to the doctor. As he approached with the needle to stitch the gaping wound closed, I started to bawl. My father, who had escaped work early to meet us there, turned to me and said: “Hockey players don’t cry.”
The tears stopped and a few minutes later I headed out of the office with a lollipop.
Of course the irony: I never played hockey.
“In heaven, all you get is Matzo and Manischewitz. Just enjoy the hot dog.”
Health food and my father just don’t go together — they’re like water and oil. But my father has a point: life is short, every once in a while, it’s okay to indulge a little bit.
My father was an international rugby player when he and my mother were a young couple. When I went to college, he started volunteer coaching our ragamuffin team, which meant I had a legitimate reason to go to games.
Sub lesson learned — rugby players have great thighs…
It’s important to have a morning routine.
Every day, my father drives into town to the local bakery. He buys the scone of the day, a cup of coffee, and 2 cookies to split among the 3 dogs that make up the rest of the family. He comes home, spreads out a napkin and proceeds to read the entire NYTimes, cover to cover. No one can make him do anything before he finishes the paper. This is a routine I approve of, and I would take part too, except he hogs the paper…
You have to kiss a lot of toads.
My father has spoiled me rotten. He can fix everything. He can’t really cook anything, unless it’s out of a can, but otherwise, he’s pretty ace. Standards are pretty high. Every time something goes south with the guy I’m seeing my father, in his usual way just shrugs and says: “You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find a prince.”
Since you have to kiss a lot of toads, it’s just better if you learn to do it yourself.
And this is why he’s taught me to grout, paint, check my oil, etc. etc — because, as he also says: “How can you be independent if you can’t change a tire?”