This Is My Favourite Picture...
My dad, who is third from the left, was a great man...and, he is dead. But, not a day goes by that I don't think about some of the wisdom (and pithy sayings) that he offered The Lifeguard on a near daily basis.
He always used to say that I was not afraid of hard work. "Son," he would say, "you could lay down beside it and go to sleep."
On work, he noted that "if work were fun, it wouldn't be called work." In fact, he believed that the natural order of things should be that every person should get to have their retirement from the age of 22 (after finishing college; or, just as important, military service) to the age of 32. The government would pay you Social Security, and you could fuck off to your heart's content. But, at the age of 32, you went to work...where you stayed 'til you died. Too many people, he noted, worked their entire lives only to die before they could enjoy the fruits of their labours.
He observed that, "Manual Labour is not the President of Mexico."
That, "If you needed a day's work, get a boy. If you needed half a day's work, get two."
Or, "The only thing that you can do well with gloves is piss your pants."
On religion, he thought that if you weren't going to actively participate in the activities in your church, you should go and play golf. He was a member of the Church of the Seventh Green; and, he celebrated the glory of God, upon his retirement, on the golf course at least five times a week.
Of Hell, he said that, "At least I'll be warm, and all of my friends will be there."
He recommended a healthy amount of Scots Whisky daily; and, he enjoyed the occasional Cuban (cigar, you sickos). "No one ever died from having a whisky and a Cohiba (or Romeo Y Julietta)," he would say. And, when The Lifeguard was teeing up the ball, he would offer his support (especially if we were playing a $5.00 Nassau, and there was a press on):
"Don't shank it," he would say.
"Dad, we're on the same team," I would respond.
[Shanking the ball.] "Fuck!"
"I told you not to shank it," he would offer.
He was a man who was larger than life. He survived polio, a World War, a couple of plane crashes, and a car accident that would have killed a lesser man. He was full of a humble swagger that was admired by many (and owned by few).
He didn't have a favourite book, song, or movie. He loved living. He could solve the world's problems before 0700; and, shoot an 83 before noon. In the afternoon, he would be the referee in a sporting event. At night, he'd solve the problems of the world that had arisen since last he'd solved them.
I never knew how much my dad knew until I realised just how little I knew.
And, as the seventh anniversary of his death approaches, I think about his life, his love.
He was a great man; and, if The Lifeguard can be half as good as him, The Lifeguard will be a great man, too.
God bless you, Big Bob.