This was my mom’s advice today as my dad and I headed out the door. See- he forgot his golf shoes in S. Dakota so we had to stop and buy some before we hit the links.
I paused. I mean that’s perhaps the most obvious and strangest statements I’ve ever heard. Seriously, top 10 for sure. I went back in the house and looked at her and she was just washing some dishes and playing with the kids and thought nothing of it. She didn’t seem even the slightest bit “off” or loony. She didn’t even look up and now I feel a little guilty about going back in to check and see if she was all right. I was worried for a second. “Maybe this is it” I thought, “Mom’s started losing her marbles and will soon start talking about the good old days like they’re happening right now or have a serious conversation with the cat or something.”
“Mom!” I shouted, “What the hell was that advice. Seriously? Make sure they fit? What’s he going to do? Buy three sizes too small?”
Now this is how I get to today’s article. Because I hope each of you have someone like this in your lives – moms, dads, guardians, uncles, aunts, BFF’s… whatever. I hope you each have someone to look up to and chuckle about, not because of crazy statements like, “make sure they fit.” Bit, if you just step back, just one step, for a better perspective, you’ll realize the utter genius of it all.
“If you buy shoes make sure they fit” isn’t crazy or even really that weird.
It’s genius. Squared.
Genius squared. That’s my term and I look for it in my life. Feel free to use it whenever you’d like. I wish I had more of it. Genius to the second power consists of a perfect summary of any situation without all the extra dialogue and bullshit. Pretty much dead on-balls accurate. My wife is amazing at this technique and as I age I find my parents are as well. My hypothesis is that it’s actually quite rampant in parenting and that many parents are in fact, quite adept at this subtle but extremely accurate effect. We, as the sons and daughters, are just so certain we’re so much smarter than our parents we often miss it.
I find myself most birthdays calling my parents and just reassuring them they were right. “Right about what hon?” –
“All of it mom. Most all of it.”
You see, mom never for a second meant, “Honey, pick the right size.” That’s obvious and if she had to remind me stupid obvious stuff like that as an adult or God forbid my dad as a full-on grown ass man, the battle would have been lost decades ago. We would have died crossing the street having failed to indeed, look both ways. She loves us and is still here with us so obviously that’s not the problem. She doesn’t think we’re stupid. No, she was just being concise and to the point. Her one sentence summary should be decoded for us still stuck in the Neanderthal days of “communication” as…
“Dear Husband/son.. the last few times you’ve bought shoes you looked in the shoe and looked and the anterior portion of the tongue to re-establish that indeed, they are the correct size. Good work caveman. Now, try them on. My recollection and experience tells me that the last few tries have been fails, not due to actual printed shoes size but because of other, less obvious issues. Perhaps the arch or the snugness or the style or the color or the squeeze or the drop or the way the cleats fit or any and all of the other dozens of problems that have made them not the correct shoe for your purchase, DESPITE the correct size. You have spent, more or less, $500 dollars in the last few years on shoes that have not fit and actually brought you misery, despair and discomfort. You have wasted time and money on shoes that did not actually fit at all but had the size as their only redeeming factor. I, being mom, have had vast eons of experience both personally and as your (spouse/mother) and I feel it is my duty to at least offer you advice based on your previous shortcomings. Alas, I am indeed your (spouse/mother) and will allow you to continue to make the same mistake until you fix the error of your ways as we all learn at different speeds. Know that I love you, I just wanted to throw you a clue to help you on your struggle with footwear (and various other LIFE issues).”
See the genius? She doesn’t have to say all that stuff because she’s slept in the same bed as this man for the last 47 years and she definitely doesn’t have to say it to me because she wiped my ass for years when I couldn’t. My mom GETS us. She gets us to such a degree she can get away with saying stupid shit and the reality is it makes sense. Not only makes sense but is correct and even – great advice.
I golfed horribly today. My dad golfed horribly today and the worst part is we even rubbed off on the guy that invited us out as our play was so horrible he couldn’t help but be sucked into the black hole of sand traps and tree shots we brought to our threesome. But I have to be honest with myself. I was distracted, for as I saw my mom smile knowingly at her sound advice as we walked out the door and try hard not to give me the “Duhhh” eye roll I couldn’t help but realize how damn smart and prudent her advice is and I think really it all just caught up to me a little this afternoon. I thought about this the entire round.
How much stuff have I overlooked in my life that was simple easy advice that I just blew off as obvious but was truly much deeper and sound advice?
Be nice to your friends.
Make sure you love her.
This is a great time in your life.
Treat your brother better.
Money won’t make you happy.
Try your Hardest.
You are tired, go to bed.
This could go on and on but you get the point. Its Genius. Squared. Deep and profound but obviously simple and concise. And true. Mom, I know I say this to you over and over but seriously. You were right.