Figure It Out.

Whenever I used to ask my father a question, his response was “What do I look like? An information booth?” My follow up “But Daaad” was met with “I don’t care. Figure it out, Kid.”

This taught me to be annoyingly observant to the point of staring at strangers. I look them in the eye. I look them up and down. I squint. I tilt my head and gawk. This is fine, except when I’m at bars, and the frosty-haired blond guy is wearing a tie. “Why is he wearing a tie?” I squint at him. “Is it more of a grey? Is it slate? What color is ‘slate’ anyway?” I tilt my head. “Did he just get off work?” I look him up and down. “Where does he work? What job would require blond tips and a slate tie?” I look him in the eye. He is uncomfortable, suddenly finding something fascinating about the label on his Bud Light. I scowl at him for another fifteen seconds before I realize this. I freeze, thinking maybe he can’t see me if I don’t move. Hey, works for dinosaurs, right?

My father unwittingly instilled the same standoffish attitude in me. I think it’s the most annoying thing on the planet when some one asks me basic questions. “How do you change a fuse?” “Should I be using organic face lotion?” “What is the viscosity of bleach?” Shit, I don’t know. When did I become the authority on anything? I guess I don’t get annoyed with everyone. Just people I deem stupid. “Whatcha dooo-in?” someone stupid will ask. “What does it look like I’m doing?” I’ll question in return, then mutter, “You filthy idiot.” Why would that annoy me? Isn’t it normal to be curious? Maybe my dad’s words are ringing in my mind. “Figure it out, Kid.”

What did your parents instill in you that you wish they hadn’t?


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