A childhood friend was in his mid-40s when he finally married and sired two kids.
“That’s the way to go,” he said. “By the time they’re old enough to be embarrassed by me, I’ll be dead.”
Our two girls know what it’s like to cringe when Dad says something he should not say, does something he should not do, or wears something he should not wear. I think it builds character.
• One time, Ruthie was riding with me in my ancient Ford truck, a blend of rattles, rust, exhaust fumes and peeling white paint. I was gabbing away when I noticed that she had slid down in the seat … way down, with her head below the window. Twelve-year-old girls can be so sensitive …
• In Liverpool, she was even more aghast when I spotted a pint beer glass on the sidewalk, picked it up, and put it in my backpack. “What are you doing? Put that back!” she said. Well, the glass had come from the Philharmonic, a Victorian bar frequented by John Lennon when he attended the art school across the street. When someone asked him what he missed about Liverpool, he allegedly said, “A quiet pint at the Phil.” I didn’t put it back, of course. That glass has class.
• Another old friend used to make little motorcycles out of old bicycles and lawnmower engines. One time, daughter Elizabeth needed a ride to school, so I offered to ferry her there on the back of my motorcycle. She immediately indicated that she would rather be burned alive, crawl on her hands and knees, or just quit school. “That’s not even a motorcycle,” she said with contempt. “That’s just some junky old bicycle with a motor stuck on it.” Ouch!