Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

When I was a young father, I wanted to be considered a “character.”  Think about it.  As a “character,” you can say things and get by with actions that might not be acceptable otherwise. People expect strange behavior out of characters.  But, my wife wouldn’t have any part of that.  “That’s not being a character,” she frowned.  “That’s being rude.”

A couple (or so) years ago, when I was in my late 50s, my youngest son labeled me a “character.”  I’ll set the stage.  For more than 30 years, I worked in corporate America.  I wore the corporate colors.  Brown, Grey, Black, Blue.  And, I wore white and blue shirts with striped ties and wing-tip shoes.  You get the point.  But, when my corporate days were done, I decided to wear what I wanted to wear.

Our youngest son was attending the University of South Carolina and was soon to marry a wonderful young lady from Greenville, SC.  A few months before the wedding, we were driving to Greenville one weekend for what seemed to me like a marathon of wedding parties.  Days before the busy events, Parker called to make sure we had all the details, and to find out when we expected to arrive.  During the conversation, I said, “When you see me at the parties, I’ll have a different look.  I’ll be sporting bow ties.”  He said, “Cool, Dad.  When did you start wearing those.”

“Do you remember Chuck Patterson,” I asked him.  “Of course,” he said. 

“Well,” I went on, “we were at a party together a few months ago, and Chuck came in wearing a bow tie.  I thought it looked so neat, I decided I was going to start wearing bow ties.”

Parker chuckled.  “Dad, if Mr. Patterson jumped off a bridge, would you jump off one too?”

I hesitated only a second, “If he looked good doing it, I might.”

He laughed again and said, “Dad, you’re a character!”

I said, “Honey, I’ve always been a character.  You just didn’t recognize it.”

"No, Dad,” he said, “you were always weird.  Now you’re a character."

Date of Blog Story: 
October 2, 2007

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