Wednesday, July 02, 2003


It has been six months since my dear father passed away and not a day goes by that I don't think about him. While he was alive, though, I didn't think of him very often considering we spoke about three times a day. We had shared a great deal together over the years. Most say that personality-wise, I am his dead-ringer. Unlike most children, I now take that as a compliment (obviously that wasn't always the case.)

My mother called me this morning and asked me if I had any feedback for the inscription on his tombstone. I said that I would be more than happy with what she chose and I didn't have any suggestions. Besides, I thought, everything he taught and everything he was to me would seem silly or uncharacteristic on a tombstone.

And after I hung up the phone, I began to think about all the things he taught me and the memories I have of him. The most significant ones. Well, maybe not the signifcant ones but the ones that make me laugh and the ones we refer to as "good times." Those, in retrospect, are the most important. And those are the ones we don't appreciate enough when our dads are around.

Here is what I came up with:

- Buy no-frills products because it will save you tons of money with the exception of Pepto Bismol, Tylenol, air fresheners, aluminum foil, and shampoo. All else is safe. And incidentally, once you taste Pathmark cottage cheese, you will never go back.

- Always start a speech with a joke. And try to start a conversation on a light-hearted note.

- "No Son of Mine" By Genesis (the lyrical content was irrelevant to him) is a great pop song and "Get Out of My Dreams (And Into My Car)" by Billy Ocean is an even better one.

- Sometimes listening to an oldie music station is the best way to cheer yourself up.

- Don't talk about yourself too much. People think that the letter "I" is so much more interesting than the letter "U."

- Never open your car door while the vehicle is in motion. And never let the gas tank get below a quarter of a tank. Also: take care of your car and your car will get you places.

- Whole wheat bread is good for you. White bread is not.

- Treat yourself to sugar cereals on occasion (and always get the name brands, not the no-frills ones. For example: Fruity Pebbles; yes. Fruit Stones; no.

- It's ok to cry.

- Seek out good deeds but not the credit for them.

- Sleeping late is a waste of time but respect the rights of other peoples' laziness.

- Get to know your mechanic, your pizza man, your dry cleaner, your doctors and most importantly, your barber.

- You don't need a reason or an excuse to buy a loved one a present.

- Never trust a cat especially when you're allergic to it.

- Be on time to places and if you can, even be early (which I have yet to perfect).

- Sometimes there is nothing as satisfying as a "shoot-em-up" movie.

- Happiness is a Ritz cracker with a) chopped liver on it or b) herring onions on it. And a cell phone, like life, is complex.

- Thursday night is Pizza night. And Sunday night is either chinese food or a Bar-B-Q. Deviating from this system could change the order of the universe.

- Weather every ten minutes on the ones (1010 WINS) or on the eights (880 WCBS).

- Bonding is sometimes as simple as splitting a black and white cookie.

- Traffic report is usually right before weather.

- Always be embracing, not abrasive.


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