Thursday, February 15, 2007

T-Shirt #2.4

Dad. Dads are good. I blogged a little about my dad once. Thank you LC.

From LC somewhere in Illinois -


Minus isn’t the new plus, minus is just plain plus. How do I know this? I grew up with a minus sort of guy playing the role of father and the pluses I got from that keep piling up, even 30 years later.

My father is my hero for so many reasons, minus just being one of them. His most visible minus was transportation related. He rode his bike to work in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the 1960s. When we moved to a Kansas City suburb, he took the bus.

I can’t tell you his reasons for doing that because we’ve never discussed it. My minus father is also a very reticent man. But I can guess. Part of it was economic, part of it was novelty, but most of it was freedom. To me, a big part of the minus/plus equation is self-reliance.

When the car, washing machine, even television in those days, broke down, he fixed it. When we needed something new, he built it. We found him most often in the garage or his basement workshop. The plus part for me came in being able to hang out with him there or take a rare trip to the hardware store.

Reticence doesn’t matter so much when you’re shoulder-to-shoulder with someone. Still to this day, he’s in his 70s now, he can most often be found on a ladder, in the garage or working in the yard.

Here’s another plus. Minus people don’t throw things away even if they are broken. My father has hardware to rival Wal-Mart and he can find just the right part without too much work.

I’ve inherited many of my minus father’s traits. I ride my bike, I attempt many repairs (some more successfully than others) and I rarely throw away any useful part, no matter how obscure.

One of my favorite minus memories was when I volunteered to work on the art merit badge with my son’s Cub Scout troop. The boys got to make junk sculptures out of pieces and parts I found in the basement. More than one father assumed I had to scavenge for weeks to find all the ingredients. I didn’t think about it then but I should have answered, “No, I got it all from my minus dad.”

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