Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On the other hand

Idly leafing through a "Real Simple" magazine while idly leafing through a sick day yesterday (I think the meds I took were harder on me than the cough/fever/cold) I came across an article in which a woman listed ten things that her father had told her - and was RIGHT about!

You remember what Mark Twain said, about how when he was 16 his father was the stupidest man alive, and how surprised Twain was, at 21, to see how much the old man had learned in five short years!

Of course, that can go both ways.  If your father happens to be a foolish bloviating
ignorant poophead, then don't hold your breath waiting for wisdom to be conferred upon him anytime in this century.

But most Dads are not mel-contents, so you can learn from them.  The woman who wrote the article mentioned a couple of old maxims: keep plenty of baggies around (big yeah from me!), you can't go wrong with a Clint Eastwood movie (with only the sole exception of Bridges of Madison County, but no one is perfect) and always have a handkerchief (I wouldn't be without my bandana.  Ask to see it, any time.)

One interesting note that the writer learned from her pop, and I really liked, was this one:

1. Hold hands while you hash it out. My folks have been married for 47 years. One of my father’s rules for a happy marriage is that if a nasty argument erupts, hold hands as you fight. You’ll feel goofy doing this, but here’s the thing: It works. Recently my husband, Tom, forgot to pay a few bills that were buried under a pile of clutter. I was incandescent with rage. So we interlaced our  fingers while we talked it out, and I felt my blood pressure plummet and my endorphins flow in spite of myself. It’s impossible to scream at someone who is giving your hand a gentle squeeze. It just is.

Now, now, now.  I really like this one.  It's from the "a soft voice turneth away wrath" school of behavior, and many marriages and relationships seem to run off the fumes, if not the grapes, of wrath.  So, since you can't fight if you can't find someone to fight with, try this out and let me know how it works, will ya?  Because Peggy and I, well, we just don't have those fights.  Peggy is the greatest wife in the world.  She deals with my mother with the economic skills of Ben Bernanke, the healing skills of Ben Carson, the dessert skills of Ben and Jerry, and the diplomatic wisdom of Ben Franklin. After 37 years, and with neither of us being hotheaded or temperamental, we know each other so well, that there is little chance of becoming "incandescent with rage."  I mean, really.  You're gonna go ten rounds just because he forgot to pay some bills?  Did the world come to an end?  I hear you can forgo house payments altogether for like two years before the sheriff even has chance to mail foreclosure papers to your front door, so, come on with the bills already.  Oh sure, there are times I have to sit down and give Peggy a good listening-to over something I did or didn't do, and yes, I was wrong to a buy magazine subscription when a pretty girl came door-to door putting herself through college, and I was dead-to-rights wrong when I was certain that "Light Brown" paint from K-Mart was a perfect substitute for "Raleigh Tavern Tan from the Olde Williamsburgh Collection" paint for the backsplash at the old house, and yes, I thought it was pretty funny to move all the pots and pans and plates and cups in that same kitchen, but if only someone had been holding my left hand, I would only have been able to prank half as much that night.  It was to be the next morning that I came to find out that rearranging the kitchen was not nearly as funny as I thought it would be.  

I know that now.  Give me a hand.

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