Sunday, June 19, 2016


When I was a kid, especially in high school, my father made no secret of his disdain for our free public education. According to dad, most of what we did in school was a “bullshit, waste of time.” As long as our grades weren’t bad, he didn’t seem to care too much. But when I did get a bad grade, dad was pissed. I tried to throw it back in his face.

Me: I thought you said school was a bullshit, waste of time.

Dad: Yeah, but that doesn’t explain why you’re bad at it.

I have a distinct memory of the time my older brother taught me how to play tic-tac-toe. I immediately lost the first two games, and then won the third. I proudly showed my win to dad, who said, “You should never lose at tic-tac-toe.” That’s how he felt about school -doing poorly means a lot, but doing well means nothing. It wasn’t discouraging; dad just expected more.

So of course, when he attended awards ceremonies at school, it was out of parental obligation. And to entertain us by interjecting with his opinions.

Teacher, presenting award: These are truly the best students. These are the cream of the crop!

Dad, quietly to my brother: Did he just say ‘cream of the crop’? These are clearly the loser kids; even I can see that.

That’s priceless. That’s dad.

Happy Father’s Day.