I missed the memo about snoring, selflessness and sociology.
In honor of Father’s Day, I tell one of my favorite stories about my Dad.
You may recall that college-wise, I kinda put all my eggs in one basket. So when I was invited to come to the campus of Oglethorpe University to compete for a full scholarship, I was pretty excited and really, really nervous. The competition consisted of doing some reading in advance, participating in a group discussion with a professor and other hopefuls, and doing some writing.
Somehow, I chose to be in a discussion group whose focus was sociology, a subject about which I knew pretty much nothing. As I attempted the advance reading, I realized I was probably in a bit over my head. I had always been a big smarty-pants, but this was the first time that I recognized that there was a really big world of really complicated ideas out there and I really didn’t know shit. It brought about a poorly-timed crisis of confidence. And did I mention a full scholarship was on the line? No pressure.
My mom and dad dutifully drove me down to Atlanta and the night before the competition, we were all bunked down in one hotel room. My Dad fell asleep and promptly began to snore. Loudly. I put a pillow over my head, stuffed Kleenex in my ears…to no avail. After a couple of hours, I was starting to get a little desperate…
I suppose nature eventually called my Dad and he discovered me attempting to sleep in the bathtub. As it dawned on him that his snoring had contributed to my situation, he shooed me back to bed, quietly got dressed, and slipped out of the hotel room. Rather than risk a resumption of his snoring, he drove around an unfamilar city in the middle of the night.
He returned a few hours later, cheerful and with doughnuts. He must have been exhausted, but he didn’t let on. He chauffeured me over to campus right on time. And when the competition got started, it was clear that I had just jumped into the intellectual deep end, but I managed to tread water most of the day. I didn’t win the full scholarship, but managed to earn a substantial partial scholarship. Under the circumstances, I considered a partial scholarship a complete triumph.
Here’s the thing about my Dad: He didn’t attend college himself and even though he has an awesome natural intellect, he hadn’t really had any experience with academic competition or sociology, so he couldn’t really help me prepare. But he could make sure I got some sleep on the night before a very big day. Good dads can’t do everything, but they do what they can do, and they do what they’ve got to do.
Happy Father’s Day and Memo received.