Hell of a Guy
Adventure is worthwhile - Aesop

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Advice and Feedback…


During the span of my life I have received lots of advice and feedback, both solicited and unsolicited.  Some I heeded, most I simply dismissed.

My mother used to brag she and my father had never argued in all the 68 years they were married, and I often wondered if it could possibly have been true.  Sounded a little farfetched to me any couple could be together that many years and sustain a marriage without a disagreement.  One day shortly after my mother’s death, I asked my dad about it.  His reply went this way.  He said, “Son, I learned a long time ago when your mother and I appeared not agree on something and if she stopped talking about it, it was time for me to shut up.”  He was a wise man and that was a teachable moment for me.  The Nancy and I do not argue because I know when to shut up thanks to my dad.  It has probably prolonged my life.

I got some good advice from my Air Force drill sergeant while in basic training back in 1963.  Shortly after arriving at Lackland Air Force Base the drill sergeant said he needed a volunteer.  Having been prone to naiveté at the tender age of 19, I raised my hand.  My reward was to be named “Latrine Queen,” a designation that proved to be somewhat undesirable, in other words, it was a shitty assignment.  Later he told me never volunteer for anything.  These days I avoid volunteering when I am awake, but must sleep with one hand in the air.  I find myself involved in projects and situations where The Nancy is connected in some way.  I have a sneaky feeling she uses my name freely.

I have often told people my mother once said she could not figure me out.  She didn’t know if my indifference was “ignorance or apathy,” and my reply was quick and sassy.  I told her I don’t know and I don’t care.  Of course, I made up the story, but will have to admit most of the feedback I received throughout my life was totally ignored.  That is up until I did a series of personal development workshops in Dallas, Texas and I was hit over the head with the same feedback by others in the program.  I was told in one session over and over I came across as an “arrogant know-it-all.”  It was a point in my life when reality slapped me in the face.  I am a work in progress, though I still exhibit a little asshole behavior now and then.  Change is tough for some of us, and even tougher for a few of us. 

But I must admit one of the best pieces of advice I ever received came from my older (by 13 years) brother.  Though it may sound trivial, I had an appearance problem; my shirts constantly worked out of my waistband of my trousers, with one or both shirttails partially or fully hanging over my belt.  It made me look slovenly, and it bothered me immensely.  One day in my fifteenth year on the planet my brother Bob told me of a simple fix, he said to tuck my undershirt into my underwear.  Simple and sweet, exactly as life should be!  I heeded his advice have not had an issue with my shirts for 55 years.

Other advice, as I mentioned earlier, has gone ignored.  My mother advised me to be a preacher and I totally ignored that one.  She also told me not to marry and I ignored that bit twice.  Aunt Mary told me my education was extremely important to my future…ignored.  I continued to be a mediocre student until I graduated.  I once hired a guy who told me later at first glance he thought I was the biggest asshole he had ever met, and I was, but didn’t listen to that feedback.  And so on, and so on.

Not sure where the next good advice will come from, but recently a very smart lady told me not to invest in gold, and I accepted it, though only because I do not have the resources to invest in anything at this time.  I am now a senior citizen living on a fixed income and can barely afford a pot to pee in.  Thank God for toilets. 

And that is all I have to say about that…