Monday, March 21, 2011

Raise Up Your Glass(es)

     I thought, in this brilliantly ridiculous mind I have, I would take a post and brag about somebody.  A particular somebody.  Somebody special; and somebody completely worth mentioning.  My father.
     First, some background, perhaps, hm?  Okay.  Once upon a time, in a far away land, there was (wait for it) ... a little girl and her father.  (Woosh! Wow.  Big surprise beginning, right there.)  And this little girl was such an enigmatic fusion of her mother and her father that neither of her parents knew exactly what to do with her.  Neither knew, but especially not her daddy, since he's not the kind to look into the grey areas of personal relations and individual character in the first place.  You see, this father was the kind who saw in black and white (colourblindness did run in the family, you know); what was was and what wasn't solid fact wasn't to be trusted and probably shouldn't be considered all that much.  But this theory was mercilessly destroyed by the young daughter who tore the cover off the Book of Presupposed Absolutes.
     The father spent years just trying to figure out this new concept.  Puzzling over it.  Messing with the pieces and trying to make them fit.  But it was almost as difficult as a four-thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle depicting the inner workings of a 1950s alarm clock.  I'm sure many times, he started to give up, but after several years, the moving parts started working themselves together.
     ....And they are, ladies and gentlemen.  They are indeed starting to come together.  My dad and I have been so alike and so different for so long.  For years, we haven't been able to understand each other in the slightest.  And it's just now starting to make sense.  Maybe it's because I've gotten older and a tad more rational-minded (emphasize "tad").  But it's working.  Somehow.  Like magic.
     There are a lot of wonderful things about my dad.  He's hard working, for one.  His employers love him because he gets things done.  He makes the other employees look bad (well, that's also partly because most of the other employees are bad.  It would probably be best if I left that bit out, though, to inflate his prestige in the mind of the reader.)  Here's the catch, though: my father hates his job.  And yet, he still excels in his field.  Dedication, my dear friends, is where it's at.  Dedication and responsibility.
     Not only that, but loyalty as well.  (I couldn't NOT include this example.  It warrants its own mention.)  We've established that he hates his job; and three days ago, a message was left on the answering machine from "Cyndie at Executive Something-Something of This-That-or the -Other-Thing", talking about all kinds of things I didn't have the motivation to follow.  Now, I can't say they were offering him a position or anything as huge as all that, but I do know that he deleted the message without entertaining a thought of leaving his current  company.  For some reason, when he hit the delete button, I couldn't help but be filled with awe.  In his shoes, I probably would have let myself think things over for a little while before turning down any kind of offer.  No thinking involved, here.  It was touch and go.  Beep.  Done.
     One of the most important, significant things my father ever taught me was what should be considered his mantra: "Never assume anything."  Regrettably, I have not yet completely learned this lesson.  Never take anything for granted.  Always expect the unexpected.  It's a good rule.  Pretty wise, I daresay.  Most, if not all misunderstandings are based on incorrect assumptions; and if there's one thing my father doesn't like, it's conflict based on misunderstanding.  Stupid mistakes are not welcome; he'd rather be meticulous, bored, and right than sloppy, entertained, and wrong in any way.  (This is also another source of my perfectionism.)
     Never has he really been open to change, however.  But he's been getting better about this one in recent years.  Several years ago, he started eating vegetables and trying new foods.  He learned to like coffee.  (Nowadays Mama can't keep him out of it long enough to snatch a cup for herself.)  And the newest adjustment is the pair of spectacles he's been prescribed.  Now, personally, I happen to love my dad in glasses.  He looks so very smart.  Dad always looked smart, but glasses have a way of helping that along, don't you think?  (Admittedly, though, the best part of having a dad with glasses is having a dad who's perfectly comfortable with letting his daughter wear them just for the fun of it.  Yes, I do; I wear them sometimes when he's not using them.  I always wanted glasses as a kid and am now unfathomably jealous.)
     I'm almost 100% positive there was more I had intended to say, but whatever it was, the concept is probably buried somewhere in what I've already said.  No, I'm not a Daddy's-girl.  I'm more of a Mama's-girl, in every sense.  But my father's character begs more than just a mere mention or a slight reference.  This entry all is to say all the things I haven't said over the years, but probably should have.  If this means I've been failing as a daughter, it ends here.  My dad's pretty amazing, and I'm an idiot if I don't recognize it.  So I propose a toast, with my virtual champagne glass, to my dad.  The best man in the world. (So far.)

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