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A Tale of My Father: The (Almost) Burning Man

26 Mar

March 26, 2018

My father was a man who had quite a lot of stories, and I can vouch that they were true. Stuck in a rioting hoard of women on Black Friday, calling Macy’s to complain about their Santa at the Thanksgiving Day Parade, or refusing to take off in a small plane from the shortest runway of an airport high on cliff, he had some interesting things to talk about. 

This one is short, and though it happened long before I was born, it could have had a dramatic impact on my life.

When he was younger, my Dad-to-be and some of his friends took a road trip. The details of when and where aren’t important and I’ve long forgotten them if I even ever knew them. I want to say they were teenagers but knowing Dad and some of his friends, they were probably in their twenties but acting like teenagers. 

So they were driving and it was getting late and they stopped for gas. One guy got out and was pumping while Dad and the others took the opportunity to stretch their legs. Well, they guy pumping the gas thought it would be a hysterically funny joke to turn the nozzle on Dad and soak him with gasoline. And another friend thought it would be even more hysterically funny to chase Dad around the car with a lit cigarette lighter. 

You can see where this is going.

Almost, almost!

Natural selection nearly took a hard left turn that night but either Dad was a faster runner back then, or his cries of “what the FUCK are you doing?” got through this friend’s thick skull and Dad escaped immolation and lived to laugh about it later.

It’s a wonder I’m here to write about this.

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A Moment Of Kindness On The Metro North

8 Mar

March 9, 2018

The Metro North is a northeastern regional train line. You buy a ticket and the conductor walks down the aisle and punches a card, which he sticks on your seat signifying at which stop you get off. I ride it every day and I usually get a seat but  on this night it was crowded and I stood.

Sitting not far from me was a family, a father and his young children. They were about five years old and very cute, reading books on the ride. But it was crowded and cramped and bad as it was for me standing, it was worse for the conductor who had to squeeze his way down the aisle and check everyone’s ticket and punch a card for each one.  So he could be forgiven if he just did his job and moved on down the line.

But he didn’t.

Wouldn’t you give this child a smile?

When he got to the family, he took some extra time with the tickets. While he made small talk with the kids (“Do you like the ride? Is it smooth enough?”) I watched him make a lot of extra punches in their tickets. I had no idea what he was doing but when he was finished, he handed them each a card which had a smiley face punched into it.

The kids were thrilled as only a little kid would be at getting a card with a smiley face punched in it. Their smiles were huge and they waved the cards in the air. They were happy, their father was happy, the conductor was happy, and I, who just happened to be looking at the right place at the right time, was happy too.

Look closely at the ticket in his hand.

 

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