Dad’s Advice: Don’t Be a Tool, Son
Fathers are a curious species.
Unlike mothers, who nurture and worry, fathers are more mysterious, often standing off to the side. Silent.
My father was no different. He had his routine, his office, his toolbox. They were his turf, not to be toyed with.
Just in time for Father's Day this Sunday, there's a book out titled "Stuff Every Man Should Know."
My father would have thought it a foolish little book. It's filled with "tips" on how to tie a tie (he could), how to change a flat tire (he could) and how to sew on a button (he never would).
There is also a section on what every man should have in his toolbox. Thirteen items, in fact, everything from a tape measure to a can of WD-40.
Dad had a lot more than that in his toolbox. I know. I went looking around in there one day when I was 10 or so.
I only did it once.
"Get out of there!" he yelled when he came upon me unloading his tools onto his workbench. He then said I was messing everything up, although that wasn't exactly the word he used. He used a different word. It was a word even at my age I recognized as special.
I think that's how fathers teach. By example. They don't so much sit you down and teach you how to do something. They let you stand there and watch. And listen.
You can pick up a lot that way. And then you can go off and make a fool of yourself, too. Just like all guys do.
That's why this new book seems kind of wimpy. Its advice for giving a wedding toast, for instance, is to stay sober.
I always thought the whole purpose of a wedding toast, especially the one given by the best man, was to make everyone nervous. Especially the bride and her mother.
I also thought a guy was supposed to mix up what he wears every now and then. Brown belt with black shoes. That kind of thing.
Instead, this book includes 15 wardrobe "essentials" every man should have in his closet. Shoes, belts, suit, socks, khakis, sweaters and underwear, among them.
How my father got dressed without this advice, I don't have a clue. Too late now. Poor guy's been gone 13 years. Buried in a nice brown suit, though. Not sure about the belt.
Instead of investing in this book, I suggest you just follow your dad around on Father's Day, pick up a few tips (maybe even a word or two), then go out and have a beer with him.
And if you don't already know how to open a beer bottle without an opener, ask him.
Otherwise, it's page 76.