Dads are good for a lot of things. They fix stuff, threaten
high-school boyfriends and move you in and out of apartments (sorry
about that fourth-floor walk-up, Dad).
They are also an endless supply of fodder for daughters who
I recently went to my father for tax advice (another thing
they're good for). I wanted to know the threshold reporting income
from odd/freelance jobs, assuming I had never received a 1099 and
wanted to avoid jail time. In the course of providing a pretty
unhelpful answer, he said the best advice his father ever gave him
was "Never steal anything worth less than a million dollars."
Granted, that was in 1965, so I should adjust for inflation.
Anyway, it got me thinking about the best advice my dad ever
gave me (that wasn't it). And I've landed on this: "Two hands!"
Usually, it's "Two hands, Elizabeth!" (my parents are the only two
people on the planet who call me Elizabeth), and usually I'm about
to break something of significant value, but you get the idea.
That advice was built to last. It's been shouted across a Little
League field as a fly ball headed my way, and across a college quad
on move-in day. I remember a very cold winter night spent chasing
soda cans down our driveway taking out the trash after I ignored
it. And though I can't remember, I assume it was said in the
hospital when, with some trepidation, my parents let me hold my
little sister for the first time.
It's mostly a warning about my tendency to do try to carry too
many things, or to do things without a whole lot of logistical
forethought. But really, I think it's an acknowledgement that
anything worth doing is worth doing well. And that's pretty good
And yes, Dad, I reported all my babysitting money to the
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