October 18, 2022

Too Much Like My Dad (a writing prompt)

I wanted to write about something light-hearted today and as I was reading through some writing prompts online, there was one that sparked a recent funny story. The writing prompt was: "Have you ever been embarrassed by something your family did? Why or why not?"

First, I have to give a little background info about my dad. He's always been thrifty, creative, stubborn, and most certainly a DIY'er. I can't remember him ever calling a plumber or carpenter or anything like that--he likes to figure things out himself. (And yes, I definitely take after my dad!)

I asked my dad to show me how to change the oil in my car

On Father's Day a few years back, I wrote out a list of some "life lessons" --dad-style. 

There are so many things my dad has taught me over the years: 

-Eating carrots will make you see better.
-Garbage disposals are not to be used for anything! EVER!!!
-Shoes don't have to be worn in matching pairs, as long as each shoe fits.
-Same goes for socks. And gloves.
-Eating walnuts will keep you warm when ice fishing.
-Maxi pads (or Super Glue) make great bandaids.
-When you're a kid, you're on-call to bleed brakes whenever Dad's working on a car.
-Real fishermen don't use gizmos and gadgets; they just know where the fish are.
-All the radiation from Fermi (a nuclear power plant that we live very close to) means you have to talk twice as loud on a cordless phone so that people can hear you.

While I wrote this tongue-in-cheek, these are all things that have stories behind them. Here's one...

Jeanie, my sister, is eight years older than me, so we weren't very close growing up. This story went right over my head when I was younger and I had no idea why it was funny. Jeanie was in high school at the time and she had a group of friends over one day. My dad was playing baseball and he wound up with a large abrasion on his leg after sliding into second base.

Ever the creative DIY'er, rather than get bandages for it, he took a maxi pad from the bathroom and pressed it over his wound. He secured it with tape, and voilĂ ! An instant bandaid for a large abrasion. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense--maxi pads are meant to absorb blood, after all--but it was unconventional and kind of funny.

Jeanie, however, did *not* find humor in it at all. As a teenager with a bunch of friends over, you can imagine how horrified she was when her dad walked back out with a maxi pad taped to his leg! She was completely embarrassed and told him to go inside and take it off.

Somehow, this story gets brought up once in a while when my family gets together. As an adult, I can definitely appreciate his creative thinking; but I am thankful that it was Jeanie's friends who saw it and not mine at that age!

A couple of weeks ago was Eli's homecoming dance at school. He and his girlfriend had broken up just a week prior, so he wasn't sure if he was going to the dance. I really wanted him to go because it would be good for him to do something fun after the break-up. Even the morning of the dance, he said he wasn't sure. (That's Eli, though--he's not very good at planning.)

In the early afternoon, he announced that he was going to the dance with a few (male) friends. (Is it still a thing to call it "going stag"?) I was SO happy that he was going; I told him to have fun and if he wants to do something after the dance, that's cool too.

He called me toward the end of the dance to ask if his friends could come back to our house--they could play the Xbox and just do whatever it is that teen boys do. I said sure--I hadn't heard him sound that happy in a long time.

Meanwhile, Jerry and I noticed that Joey had a hot spot on his back (a raw patch of skin caused from him scratching and chewing there--I'm not sure what caused the itching). We didn't have a cone to put on him to keep him from making it worse, so I was trying to come up with something. He had a hot spot a while ago, and we put a t-shirt on him--it worked great! But the location of this one couldn't have been more inconvenient (on his back, about six inches in front of his tail).

Being my father's daughter, I had the brilliant idea to put a panty liner on it. Then I wrapped an ace bandage around and underneath him, placed so that he'd still be able to go to the bathroom. It wasn't pretty, but it worked.

You can see where this story is headed...

I was in my bedroom, which is right next to the living room. I heard Eli and his friends come in after the dance, and Joey was super excited to have new "friends" petting him. Then I heard one of them ask Eli what was wrong, and why did Joey have a bandage on his back.

I was horrified--not for my 40-year old self, but for 16-year old Eli, hahaha. I hoped that the ace bandage covered the panty liner enough that they wouldn't notice what it was. After the boys went out to the garage to play the Xbox, I checked on Joey and it was clear as day (to me, anyway) that it was a panty liner.

I started laughing. I realized then that I am most certainly like my dad. I am all about practicality, and the older I get, the less I care what people think. When I start wearing mismatched shoes on purpose, it may be time to rethink things ;)

In all seriousness, I'm lucky to have a pretty cool dad. He's an expert fisherman and car mechanic; an extremely talented artist; a drill sergeant of a baseball (and softball) coach ("perfect practice makes perfect"); a very funny story teller; an old-school-but-still-cool dad; and the most amazing "Pay" to my kids. If I share some of his traits, well, I'm not complaining!

With my dad and Jeanie


  1. This is too cute! I am cracking up picturing Joey with a panty liner taped to him! Maybe it's just obvious to women and not so much to teenage boys ;) Your dad sounds like a great guy!

  2. OMG! I would have been mortified as a teen about the maxi pad, but don't all parents embarrass their kids at some point? Isn't that sort of your job? :-) Great memories.


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