My father has taught me some useful things over the years, and today in honor of him, I will share with you a few of my favorites. Although we don’t always see eye to eye, he does often make some valid points. As always, in no particular order:
Don’t waste your time watching televised sports.
At a young age my father said “here’s the thing about sports Nick…you have to be smart enough to know what’s going on, but dumb enough to care”. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve said this to over the years, hundreds, maybe even thousands. I love seeing the look in sports fans eyes when I get to the last part. This line has also saved me from many insufferable conversations with slack jawed dullards. I recently watched an evidence based YouTube series called “things poor people do that rich people don’t”. I liked the title and thought it would be funny, but it proved to be less humorous and more fascinating. Guess what made the list? Turns out watching sports conditions you to be viewer instead of a doer, which actually makes sense. Thanks for saving me from being poor!
Money isn’t everything.
While I still struggle with this one, he may have a point. This is why my father hated our neighborhood in Hampton, and GTFO as soon as he could. “No one’s going to care what you drove after you die” he use to say while underscoring the sentiment by keeping vehicles until not even the junkyard wanted them. Money can buy happiness, but it never guarantees it. Ask most of my moms miserable neighbors.
Sometimes you have to pretend to be nice (especially in business).
For a man who said at least once a day “I fucking hate people” it was always confusing for me to think of how my father dealt with upset customers when he owned the dry cleaning stores. “He’s actually really good at it” my mom use to say. I never bought it until I saw him I action one day at the main store. He was charming, gracious, and the customer who’d been frothing at the mouth when she came in left with a smile. As soon as her car pulled away I heard him say “fucking bitch” under his breath. Honestly, my parents shouldn’t have wasted all that money sending me to business school because I learned everything I needed to know at 15.
Dogs are better than people.
Don’t buy things you can’t afford (never listened to that one).
Sometimes you are a victim, but only when it comes to your brain chemistry.
Naps are important, and possibly life sustaining.
Nicotine makes any situation better.
Drugs/alcohol are fun, but can ruin your life.
Never waste time taking things to the dump if there’s an empty lot next door.
No one cares who you decide to sleep with.
Don’t tell your wife you’re bringing another dog home.
Following schedules is essential.
Avoid stupid people – they are boring and/or dangerous.
Be your own man.
It took me quite awhile to learn this last one – probably the most pertinent lesson he imparted. My father was (and still is) infamous for showing up in public places dressed like a homeless person. I never understood this until I was in my late twenties and realized comfortable clothes are way more important than what other people think of you. If it wasn’t for him I’d probably still work in corporate America, letting imbeciles tell me what to do all day so I could drive a nice car. Unfortunately, if he hadn’t taught me this I’d probably still live in the United States – but the only person’s happiness we can guarantee in this life is our own.
My father did go against this value, and still does, when it comes to helping his three selfish kids and manic depressive ex-wife, and for that, we thank him