As I’ve gotten older I’ve given a great deal of thought as to how my father was perceived as a “Man”, not as the “Father” as I saw him. Unquestionably, he was and remains the biggest influence on my life.
Sure, I’ve gained insight as to the kind of man he was by talking to older family members and some of his friends who survived him. I guess the things that stuck out the most to me was that he was described an engaging, fun loving man who never met a stranger. Oh, and one other thing, no one had ever met a man who had more “sayings” than Bill Harrison. One bubbles to the top of my brain even now, “Son, the last thing in the world you want is my undivided attention.” Never a more true statement than that! It seems as if the man had a saying for every occasion. Today I’d like to talk to you about one of my Dads “sayings” that I seem to be reminded of on a daily basis.
Oh, I guess I must have been twelve or thirteen when Dad came home from work one day and “wound tighter than an eight day clock”. He was pissed off about something, and if I didn’t want to hear about it I was in the wrong place!
Apparently this fella was on the job site(my Dad was a carpenter for 55 years), and started telling everyone there that he was now the one in charge and that things were to be done his way. According to my Dad, he didn’t have a problem with any of that, it was something else entirely he didn’t like. After telling everyone how “educated” he was, the man, according to my dad, proceeded to make mistake after mistake until finally the day ended. Describing the man in this usual colorful way, my Dad said, “The S.O.B didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground.” He went on, “Son, I’m telling you this guy is what I call an ‘Educated Idiot’! Sitting on the porch with him, I couldn’t help but smile. He of course saw the smile and laughed himself saying, “You liked that huh?” My smile now turning into a laugh I said, “Yea, ‘Educated Idiot’ just sounds funny to me Dad.” Smiling he said, “A college education doesn’t automatically make you a smart mas. It just makes you an educated man. Do you understand?” At the time I told him that I did, but in reality it was years later that I truly began to understand just exactly what my father was talking about.
Years ago at a side job I was doing, I got the pleasure of working with someone who was an incredibly well educated person that seemed to have an answer for any question thrown at them. As I was doing what I was paid to do, the man who hired me came to me and said, “Hey, I’m going to go get you some lunch. Do me a favor, will ya?” “Sure,” I said, “whatever you need.”He proceeds,”While I’m out getting your lunch, keep your eye on him and tell me what he does while I’m gone.” I looked at him and said, “OK man, whatever.” He said, “Serious man, watch him!”
After my “Boss” left, I started paying a little closer attention to our “friend” and, well this is what I found. After meticulously extracting everything from inside a van that he had driven there and putting all the items in a large pile 10 feet from the van. He began to circle the pile of tools and equipment while talking to himself. This went on for thirty to forty minutes until our “boss” returned with our lunches.
After lunch the “boss” took me aside and said, “So, what went on?” After explaining to him everything that had happened he said, ” I don’t get it! That person not only was highly intelligent, but was a teacher in a ‘Previous Life’!”
On my drive home I thought Dad and his “Educated Idiot” story.