Back in January I wrote a column on the lessons I have learned from my mother. Today, being my father's 72nd birthday, I figure that he is now fair game! Anyone who knows me knows that I often tell stories about my childhood. Well, the lessons those experiences taught me make me (in no small measure) who I am today!
So, who am I? Here is a quick precis:
I am someone who drinks my coffee black. Dad always has had his black and often derided the way some of the boys in my scout troop drank their coffee as being more of a milk-shake than a cup of coffee. To this day I prefer black coffee to a latte!
I believe that driving cross-country is a great way to have a vacation! Okay, I guess that this was more of a practicality and expense thing; there were the six of us and the dog to consider! (But I still love driving long distances and setting out on long trips by car!)
I find it nearly impossible to look at something without thinking about fixing it. There needn't be anything actually wrong with the thing for me to want to fix it either. Oh, and I really don't actually need to know anything about the thing either. Lack of acumen is no hindrance. (I do, however have better sense than actually trying to fix whatever it is. Another lesson learned - wanting to do something does not give one the ability to acually do it.)
I am gregarious. I will talk to almost anybody about anything. If I have no personal knowledge on the subject, I will listen and fake it as best I can. If all else fails, I'll just make something up. (Making stuff up is another trait I inherited from Dad!)
As long as you don't mind if I embelish a bit here and there, then I'm your go-to guy if you want something explained. If embellishment is okay, I can explain anything to anyone. (Okay there was that one time I tried to explain what Binary Code was to a co-worker, but that wasn't really fair!)
I think of creative solutions to difficult problems and tend to deliver solutions everyone can live with. Here's a tip from dad's book: Your kids won't wash their faces? No problem. Invite them to shave with you! Get one of those old-style safety razors that had the blades that could be removed, get the kids to play with the water a bit, splashing their face, then slather them down good and thick with shaving lather. (It is mostly soap after all; as they scrape it off with the empty razor, and later rinse it they're washing their faces!)
But I think the most obvious thing I have learned from my dad is how to tell a story. I love telling stories! And of course, they are all true! ..And if they aren't now, they ether once were or one day will be! Dad, I love you! Have a happy birthday!
I hope that wherever you are today you have a role model to look up to!
Don Bergquist - 26th May 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom