Don’t Ever Try To Ask My Father A Question


In the beginning, I thought I’d bring honor to my family name by becoming a writer. Instead of fading into obscurity, my work would live on and future generations would reflect on my words, nodding and saying, “She was so smart.” (That’s what kids do, right?)

But humor turned out to be my thing, so no one thinks I’m smart — a smart aleck, maybe, but not smart. Plus, anyone with a Facebook page can’t fade into obscurity anymore, no matter how hard they try.


So I’ve been uselessly writing about my family for 31 years (having started at age 5… haha), and I’ve accomplished nothing. Worse, no one tells me anything anymore. If some little tidbit leaks out, they immediately holler, “And don’t put that in the paper!”

Well, I wouldn’t put their antics in the paper if they weren’t always so column-worthy. An e-mail I got from my father last week is the perfect example. All I had done was tell him that I had received his letter, but it was blank on the back despite the front side saying, “Over.”

“Did I miss something?” I asked.

He immediately e-mailed me:

Dear Deb,

Follow me on this as it gets complicated: I started out with a discarded sheet of 8½” x 11” paper, which I had cut into quarters (with three remaining to be used later). This gave me a writable piece of 4¼” x 5 ½” and I wrote my message on one side but, to save paper, I wrote on the back side as well. I had to write “Over” on it so that I would realize that the message was continued on the back when I copied it.

Unfortunately, I tried fruitlessly to copy this document six or seven times on my computer printer and finally gave up and went to Office Max about two miles away (at 15 cents a mile, mind you). I decided that since they charge 9 cents per copy, I could offset some of the gasoline expense (and wasted computer printer paper) by copying the front of my message alongside the back since I was going to send your brother a copy as well.

Although I would have to make one extra copy to do this, I would ultimately only be charged for three copies instead of four for a grand total of 27 cents versus 36 cents! However, since I spent 60 cents for gasoline and probably 7 cents for the wasted computer printer paper at home, I was still out 58 cents.

This irked me because of the frugality I learned during the Great Depression of the 1930s. I was so frustrated about the entire episode that I immediately went home and had a beer to calm my nerves.

I love you.

Daddy XX

P.S.: Don’t use this in your column. It is not funny.

Oh, but it is. Especially since I immediately needed to e-mail him back with the question:

“So. Did I miss something?”