Hoi Polloi

I just got off the phone with my dad. Apparently, he hasn't been getting a high enough billing on this space, so I just wanted to share with you all a few things I've learned from my dad over the years:

  • There are only two rules for life: 1. Make traffic go smoothly. 2. Have fun, but see rule number one. All other rules are subsets of these two rules.

  • You can find truth in anything. I remember having many family discussions about the principles of Life, the Universe, and Everything after watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. And Looney Tunes. And any movie that we ever watched together. And I think my dad has still to read anything by Douglas Adams. Just goes to show ya' how cool he is, despite that fact.

  • You never "get there" until you are six feet under. Until then, you need to be very careful about using phrases like, "One thing I've learned..." Chances are, you'll find out something next week that upsets the perfect little box you had set up in your mind regarding that one thing. So keep seeking truth.

  • "Never give up. Never give up. Never give up."

  • Think.

  • Pay attention.

  • You can't make someone's decision for them. You can only give them all the information possible so that they can make the decision.

  • If a decision is hard to make, you just need more information. Sometimes more information is not available, so you just have to work with what you've got.

  • Family is the most important relationship next to God (with your spouse being the first and primary member of your family.) Family will always be there.

  • Classical music is really cool. And so is Willie Nelson and Gordon Lightfoot.

  • Reading is fun.

  • Hard work is important.

  • Working smart is even more important.

  • Hold on to your honour. If you lose that, you've lost everything. A good reputation is more important than a comfortable life.

  • How to be a good wife, and treat my husband like a man worthy of respect and honour instead of like a child or a pawn worthy of manipulation. (My husband has actually thanked my dad for how he raised me!)

  • How to cook. Okay, my dad didn't actually teach me how to cook, he just endured many, many lousy meals while I was learning on my own. At fifteen, he made me this deal: "You cook it, we [he and my brother] will eat it." And they did. Even the one meal that was so charred as to be unrecognizable that I said they didn't have to eat. The crux: by the time I was finally starting to get the hang of it, I moved out. (I do try to cook for them whenever possible now, though.)

  • If you don't know what a word means, look it up. The World Book Dictionary is right beside the phone, for Pete's sake! Tonight I learned the meaning of "hoi polloi": the common people, the masses. (Thanks for making me look up my word of the day, Dad. I didn't bother asking what it meant, 'cause I knew you would just tell me to find my dictionary, anyway.)

So now the next time I talk to him on the phone, he's going to say I made him look all put out by that "high billing" comment, so I'll just put the disclaimer right here: he didn't say anything of the sort. (Okay, there were a few comments about ranking "number 10" on my Weekend Top 10, but I won't mention those. It was the first thing that happened that weekend! None of the rest would have made sense without mentioning that first!! From now on, no more rankings. Really, he would probably be just as happy if I didn't mention him at all. But I bet he secretly thinks it's pretty cool that I do.)

Hopefully, you can all glean a little from the wisdom my dad passed on to me.

Dad--And you thought I wasn't listening. ;-D