'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
CHRONICALLY TARDY DAUGHTER RAISES BLOOD PRESSURE
When it comes to being on time, there are two types of people in the world. The first type, like me, hates to be late. Our motto is: “Better 20 minutes early than 2 minutes late.”
The second type, like my eldest daughter, have never been on time for anything in their lives. Their motto is: “What’s a clock?”
My daughter wasn’t even on time for her own birth. Over 20 years after the fact, my wife and I can still vividly recall each of those excruciating 10 days between my daughter’s due date and her actual birth date. (OK, it was a whole lot more excruciating for my wife than for me.)
Since we had never gone through the childbirth process before, my wife and I feared that ours would be the first baby in history who refused to be born, and we would be forced to raise her while still inside my wife’s belly. Which would have been rather awkward by the time she became a teenager and was taller than my wife—talk about stretch marks!—and each morning I’d have to wheel my wife into the high school on a hand truck, and my daughter would want to go over to her friend’s locker and talk about boys and giggle a lot, and my wife and I would try to look away and pretend that we couldn’t hear their conversation, but with that big pelican bill-like stomach wiggling around it would be somewhat difficult for us to act nonchalant.
Thankfully, our daughter finally decided to experience life on the outside—10 days late—and she has been late for everything ever since. She recently told me that I should consider her chronic tardiness as a “charming quirk.” I don’t think so. Charming quirks don’t raise other people’s blood pressure.
Back in the 1960s the Green Bay Packers football team was famous for being on “Lombardi Standard Time,” in honor of their legendary head coach, Vince Lombardi. If, for example, there was a meeting scheduled for 9:00 a.m., everyone had to be in his seat by 8:45 a.m. If someone came into the room at 8:50 a.m., he would be punished for his tardiness by running extra laps at practice. If someone came into the room at exactly 9:00 a.m., he was considered really late and fined $500. And if someone came into the room at 9:05 a.m., he was considered so grossly insubordinate that he already had been traded to Cleveland at 9:03 a.m.
Coach Lombardi was my kind of guy. I wonder what my daughter would think about her “charming quirk” if I fined her $500 or traded her to Cleveland?
A while back I heard one of those call-in talk shows on the radio with a psychologist who solves the problems of people she’s never met in 20 seconds with sarcastic comments and pithy one-liners. The topic that day was being on time versus being chronically tardy for everything. The radio psychologist summarized the issue by saying, “None of us would be late for a meeting with our boss, but all of us would be late for a meeting with our secretary. It’s all about respect.”
Ah ha! So it’s all about respect. When I explained this to my daughter, quoting the radio host, she shrugged and said, “That’s nice.” Then she looked at me and said, “Hey Dad, take a memo. But first, get me some coffee. I’ll meet you back here in exactly five minutes…or so.”
Yes, quite a charming quirk. So charming I need to take some high blood pressure pills.
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