I got an email asking if the Death Of Civility had any good Lee Dumbass stories in it and I said no.
There are stories that could be shared like the time he fell down the stairs because he tried to text someone while eating a pork rib or that one time he made a bet that he could stare at the sun longer than anyone else.
I think he walked into two light poles after that, but I can’t really remember, might have been three.
Dude may not be smart, but I’ll give him credit for being stubborn. Not that stupid and stubborn is anything to write home about, but I digress.
Tales Of The Dumb & Absurd
My son told me he doesn’t like it when I yell.
I asked him if he thought I do it often he laughed and said it rarely happens.
That made me smile because it is a conscious decision not to do it. I
“Dad, do you realize how loud you are?”
“Yeah, my voice carries so I usually don’t have to raise it to be heard. I figure yelling is an easy way for people to recognize when I am playing and when I am not.”
He nods his head and we move on to a discussion about speeding tickets.
“I hear you got a ticket.”
“Yeah, wasn’t happy but I think I drove around 19,000 miles this last year. When you put that many hours on the road you have to figure at some point your foot might get a little heavy. But I don’t advise it, that is a real waste of money.”
Our father and son moment is interrupted by a call from my father.
It is a seamless shift from playing dad to playing son.
“I told him he is not allowed to speak with you.”
I laugh and say it is not necessary.
“Dad, I appreciate it, but I am cool here. I didn’t lose my temper with him and I made it very clear we hold him accountable and that we stand our ground.”
My dad and I spend a couple minutes talking about the situation and then drop it. After 48 years I know his positions on things like this and he knows mine.
We are in sync and don’t need to waste energy on a jerk like this.
Later on my son tells me he heard me say the Wilner men have gone to war and says since he just got the greenlight he is ready to jump out of the plane and do his part.
I smile and tell him I already told this guy he is not allowed to speak with my children.
It’s no secret that there is stuff going on or that it is a mix of really good and really awful.
It is why I am not surprised about how short tempered I have been or how there have been some moments in which I wanted to go looking for trouble.
Moments where I thought about how I’d like to vent by telling some people exactly what I think in a way that leaves no uncertainty or question.
But the echoes of the past extend into the present and I have listened to them.
“Don’t be stupid and let your temper get the better of you. Don’t make the same mistake as me. Be smarter.”
Grandpa has been gone for 11 years now but I can still hear his voice and remember the day he said those things to me.
Since he was among my biggest cheerleaders it was always noticeable when he took a different approach and I am grateful for it.
It helped keep me grounded and reminded me to be smart and to remember sometimes people don’t mean to hurt you and you have to give them a break.
Given the age of my children that particular conversation has been had a few times because when you’re in middle school you’re at the prime age for misunderstanding.
And given a recent conversation with a certain girl the echo of grandpa’s voice couldn’t come at a more opportune time.
“Listen to your father and remember sometimes it is better to think those words and not say them.
When you know you can’t be civil it is better not to speak unless you are prepared to burn some bridges.”
They share a story with me and I agree it is reasonable to angry and hurt.
“That would upset me too but I wouldn’t say something until I was sure I could be calm when I said it because I’d want to be certain I was heard and if I started yelling they would get defensive. That might stop them from hearing me.”
A head nod follows the silence and then I hear something about being more mature than Trump.
It is bittersweet to hear it.
I am proud of the recognition of bad behavior and their determination to do better but disappointed it is our president that they don’t want to imitate.
Call me naive and foolish, but I like the idea of having a president that kids want to grow up to be like.
Hell, if you want real tales of the dumb and absurd all you have to do is look at the White House.