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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Social blunders that make you smile… or grimace

Article ToneHumorous, Wife Doesn't Find Funny, Informative-Borderline All-knowing, Preachy, Medium, Medium Rare, Sorta Serious, Death Related 

Being me is embarrassing.  I should wear a sign that says, “Pardon me for being a bit of a dork.  Please understand that that in my presence anything can happen at any given moment.”

Making a social faux pas is par for my course. And those around me just want to pull their head right into their chest cavity and hide. Mostly, it's me that should hide and keep my mouth shut to avoid putting my faux pas in it.

In the past I have:

— Made fun of someone's hair to someone who turned out to be that person's mother.

— Chewed out my roommate for unauthorized use of my stuff while I was wearing his shirt without permission.

— Insisted that Anna Karenina's last name was pronounced Care-a-Nina. It's only funny in the retelling.

Sometimes, making silly mistakes actually makes me laugh. I am generally a gregarious person and often say silly things while trying to be friendly. I can have a good chortle about a mistake I made for an hour or two. Then I tell my wife about it and chortle all over again.

What I am not expressly fond of is making those "learn by experience" mistakes when others are watching — whether they know me or not. I am slightly famous for:

— Mistaking someone for being pregnant who wasn’t.

— Thinking a smile, a hug or a wave was meant for me when it wasn't.

— Walking into a glass partition that I could have sworn was a door.

— Cheerfully saying “have fun” when someone told me they were: going to a funeral; a root canal; and one time, a colonoscopy.

— Singing happy birthday to someone I should have known — having to mumble during the name: “Happy birthday dear blaugh-wa …”

— Remembering a funny joke I was told by the mechanic and laughing at it in a city council meeting during the Pledge of Allegiance.

— Hugging someone goodbye and then realizing that the two of us were going in the same direction.

— Singing a song from my high school top 40 out loud with the sudden realization that the lyrics were more than a little raunchy.

— Sneaking up to someone I knew and goosing them to find out they weren't who I thought they were.

— Settling down in a public bathroom and overhearing a little girl say to her mother, "There's a man in here."

— Getting mad at the clerk for not helping me and then realizing that she was not a store employee.

— Not knowing the correct situation salutation. Is it a fist bump, or a high five? A high fist? A longing embrace? No, they just want to shake hands. Oops.

— Saying “you too” after the guy taking my ticket wished me a good trip.

— Seeing someone I knew in the store and then seeing them again in the next aisle, and then again in the next aisle, and again ….

And, I hope you never do any of these:

— You see someone walking by and you pretend you don’t see them because you owe them money, or you ran over their cat.

— You say hello to someone who obviously hears you and keeps walking.

— Have this conversation: You say, “How are you, Bob?” They say “Fine, Angela, and you?” You say “Terrific Bob. How are you?”

— Smile and say “Yeah” when someone asks you to pass the salt and pepper or ask for the time.

— Answer someone’s emphatic question and then see that they are talking on their phone.

— Have more smarts to say anything other than “Your mom!“ when they have insulted you.

— Miss your exit in a revolving door, become disoriented and get your arm stuck.

— Are never caught short on cash or having a card declined in front of your father-in law.

— Get caught picking a nose — yours or someone else's. (It was my grandson if you must know.)

— Hit “reply all” when replying to everyone on your church list was the last thing on your mind.

— Make a friendly attempt to join a conversation without being heard, repeat what you just said louder and then realize that they all heard you the first time.

— Clog the toilet at a friend's house. And if you do, you don't flush a second time and have to take care of sudden high water in a long-sleeved shirt.

— Brag about having caught three raccoons in your backyard before your neighbor tells you that feeding the friendly fauna was his reason for getting up in the morning.


And, if you are as fortunate as I am, all your friend and neighbors will accept your apologies as many times as you offer them and still answer their phone when they know it's you calling.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Life's happening's are not your daughters fault

Article Tone:  Light, A Little Less Light, Medium, Medium Rare, Sorta Serious, Death Related

- Ask Prodigal Dad -
On dogs and daughters

Prodigal Dad - Our family pooch was hit by a car and my daughter thinks that it was all her fault.  Reality aside, how do I turn this into a good thing for her?- Dog-less in Davis County.

Dear Dog-less.  I am very sorry for your loss.  Pets are wonderful, horrible, charming, poopy, loving creatures that remind us that there is a God and that he loves even those of us who are imperfect.

Of course your daughter is not to blame -- even if she is at fault.  So she left the door open or she forgot to tie the pooch up.  It's true that every decision we make affects those around us in some way. And yes, things could have ended up differently due to our having agency and choice. But the dog won't judge and neither will you or I. 

Everyone here in a mortal environment -- including your pooch or my wonder dog, Meg  -- will kick the bucket.  Mortals die and move on. As far as your daughter is concerned, deal with pooch's death directly.  Talk about your beliefs. Go over plans for what could happen if you get hit by flying space debris tomorrow.

Comfort her, and talk about all the things you as a family learned from caring for pooch-ella.  And list all of  the things you have learned that you will apply to the next dog - regardless of whether or not there is a next dog.  Celebrate life by acknowledging your dogs death.  Your daughter will appreciate life the more for it.

My own religious beliefs allow me the knowledge that there is more to this world than what we see.  This is of great comfort to me at times like this when we have lost a friend. I know that there is an "after" life just as there was a "before" this life.  

Though I'm not exactly sure how this will look, but I am betting that my wonderful pooch will be there as well.    

Friday, September 5, 2014

Don't call me...Maybe

Article Tone:  Light, A Little Less Light, Informative - borderline all-knowing, Preachy, Medium, Medium Rare, Sorta Serious, Death Related

You should have asked Davison Cheney 
-- Don't call me, maybe --

Prodigal Dad,

How do I teach my kids how to behave on the phone.  I am tired of hearing them answer with a "Huh" whenever someone calls. I don't want them paying so much attention to the cell phone that they walk into a pole, but I do want them to have manners. Then they can walk into a pole.  - Too many cells in

Dear Cincinnati,

Last week I snuck a rotisserie chicken into a movie, so I don't know if I am the right dad to answer these questions on propriety.

What I do know is that our society is becoming more and more casual.  My father was in the medical profession, and we kids learned to answer the phone like a business would answer.  However, "Thank you for calling the fun and faithful family of Dr. Cheney"  doesn't fly today.  It was slightly odd even then.

Things that were ingrained into us are not as important today.  There are things we used to do that the younger generations just don't do: wearing socks with dress pants and undershirts with a white shirt; Using sheets on the bed; sitting down at a table to eat; doing homework -- these are just a few items that have gone the way of the buffalo.

 However, If you, as a parent believe that your kids need certain experiences, then take the iPhone by the ear bud and teach them what you feel is appropriate. You as the mom or dad have the responsibility to give your children the tools to be successful.  Don't wait for Hillary to propose a bill (get it?) to teach kids phone etiquette.
The practical application is that if you are paying for the phone it is easy to stipulate the behaviors -- as in,  "Please answer the correct way or you may not have the privilege to use the phone in the future".

If the child is paying for the phone himself then congratulate yourself for teaching the value of money and ask him or her to practice being a human on the phone.