- “Don’t ever get anyone pregnant.”
- “Don’t ever take LSD.”
- “Don’t ever put on a crew-neck sweater with a lit cigarette in your mouth.”*
- “Don’t be nervous, but don’t make any mistakes, either.”**
- “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.”***
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* Numbers one through three constituted the entirety of my dad’s pre-college advice, which marked one of the longest conversations that my dad and I ever had, clocking in at about 3 minutes, 53 seconds. My dad will talk in short bursts sometimes, but then he’ll go in the other room and like bang nails into a piece of wood or design houses (he’s an architect) or do computer animation or something. And then maybe he’ll wander back and talk for another ninety seconds before wandering off again. So, you sort of take what you can get, conversation-wise.
Anyway, my dad has a fairly quirky sense of humor, much like his son, and so he sat me down in the living room for our big PRE-COLLEGE TALK, with much harrumphing and throat-clearing, and introductory remarks like, “Well, son, you’re heading off to college now… Guess that means I’m getting older now… Probably soon I’ll be dead…” Etc. This is all my dad’s concept of what a joke is, which I have to say I respect.
Then, once I was dying with anticipation for what he was going to say, he imparted all his worldly wisdom to me, numbers one through three, which took twelve seconds. Needless to say, I was let down. But again, this was his concept of hilarity, and it is all good advice, and I followed it, especially the LSD part, and you should strive to follow it as well, in your own life.
** This was also sort of a joke. It’s actually the advice that Fred Astaire used to give to his dancing partners, which my dad repurposed and gave to me right before I took my first driving test. It is, needless to say, terrible advice. And also impossible advice, sort of like “Don’t think of a pink elephant.” Don’t be nervous… don’t make any mistakes either… okay, got it. Also needless to say, with this advice firmly in mind, I instantly got nervous and instantly went and failed my driving test. My dad later admitted that he told me the advice specifically to fuck me up on purpose. My dad kind of rules.
*** This is not advice that my dad gave me. I just felt like four things was not enough for a full list. My dad didn’t say this, famed Negro Leagues and Cleveland Indians pitcher Satchel Paige said this. But still, it’s good advice.
**** I asked two other friends for advice that their dads had given them. My friend Dan’s father said this: “Never have sex with a woman that you’d be ashamed to be married to.” It is worth noting that Dan was twelve years old at the time. And my best friend Tiffany’s father gave her this advice: “Never date a Middle-Eastern man.” You can go leave outraged comments about that one in the comment section now.
***** Not really a footnote or anything, but that photo of my dad and me is from, like, 1976 or so. It is worth noting that my dad still has the exact same haircut and the same mustache. I have never seen my father without a mustache, and he has successfully maintained the same hairstyle since 1968 or so. Which is pretty bad-ass. Anyway, you rock, dad! I praise you with great praise, to quote The Lord of the Rings. You kind of suck with the advice though, Dad.