(I really don’t know how I am going to write this blog with the distraction of Audioslave playing right now. I guess I will have to struggle through, either that or just give in to that temptation to head bang. Put that on your list of mental images of me you really didn’t want to have)
I should start every blog by digressing. OK. Touch the big toe to the water, test the temperature, and jump in….
My work week started with an epiphany. I like most epiphanies, rare as they are, and this one was a good one. It was an epiphany that has gradually been revealed to me, mostly because it’s more of a realization that most guys either accept or dread or both, male reality thrust upon me in various forms over the course of my adult life. Much comes to me as my realm of experience approaches that line that borders the hazy world that is my memory. That line inches closer and closer to memory as I age, my age and experience beginning to narrow to that of my father’s. For that is really the essence epiphany that I speak of brought to me —
I am my father.
The epiphany came when I received a text from my sister in law Monday morning, asking me if I know how to replace a broken belt on a gas clothes dryer. Anyone of the two or three people who have been reading my blog knows that I dabble in appliance, home, auto and bicycle repair due to my tightwad tendencies. My SIL definitely knows that and apparently has confidence in my abilities, more than my doubtful spouse who regularly tries to discourage my efforts. ‘Yes, I can do that’ was my text reply, carefully typed as I realized that I was likely committing myself to something I may regret. ‘Do you have time to replace the dryer belt for my tenant? Today?’ was her reply. I couldn’t say no. My SIL has been very kind to me. Just the night before she had dropped off a late Christmas present for me, a gift card to Panera. Her former husband, who had served as her handyman even after they divorced, recently remarried and is now unavailable. ‘OK, I can fix it during my lunch today’ was my reply. She gave me the address, told me she would contact her tenant, and thanked me for the favor.
The thing is that I wasn’t quite sure I really could fix the dryer. From experience, I know that not only is a clothes dryer a relatively simple device, instructional videos and manuals are on the internet to be found. I called the tenant, asked for the model and serial number (even told her where on the dryer to find the information), and found not only the video for the repair, but also the part number and price for the replacement belt at my favorite appliance parts store. I had confidence. I have taken clothes dryers apart before and managed to put them back together in working order. I could do this.
And I did do it. Quickly. Successfully. My SIL now regards me as a hero, passed that information to my wife, who rewarded my with a few York peppermint patties when she got home that evening. I will do anything for a peppermint patty or a Junior Mint, the latter the most effective because I have never ever had a bad Junior Mint (with the exception of a couch cushion JM or two).
The epiphany came after I finished the job, relished in my success, my growing confidence as a handy type of guy filling me with a bit of a buzz. Fixing the machine made me think of my father. I have always thought that my father KNOWS how to fix nearly everything. My father is one of those types. My error in thinking has always been that my father KNOWS how to fix nearly everything. I have often lamented that he failed to teach me how to fix things, my conception false that he has the knowledge.
Not so. A good amount of what my father used to fix started with a lot of guessing. Dad dove into a lot of projects not really knowing how to fix the appliance or car issue or whatever it was (unless it was carpentry — Dad knows carpentry). I learned how to be a tightwad from my father, a tightwad out of necessity.
Just like me.
I like being my father. I like it in so many ways. Not every man can say that he wants to be like his father. I do.
And the epiphany really is not that I am like my father, I knew that already in some respects…it is that I like the likeness of him in me.
One of the ways Mir tries to insult me is to tell me that I am like my father. She thinks of him as an angry man even though she has never experienced him that way or seen him angry. Any time she wants to assign a negative quality to me, she says that I am like my father. Maybe I should thank her the next time she says that.