The Surprising Thing I Inherited From My Dad
- •Not all genetic markers passed down from parent to child are obvious. In addition to anger, intelligence, and creativity, I’m convinced there are biological blueprints for bargain-hunting, waiting room patience, navigational literacy, basketball dribbling, monkey bar fearlessness, and backwards roller skating.
- •These traits and dysfunctions may lay dormant for decades, unnoticed, until an older relative observing you remarks: “Your father used to do that all the time,” sometimes followed by, “until I beat it out of him.”
- •I never gave much thought to the common denominators that connect me to my dad until he pulled out his wallet one night at a diner. And there it was – the damning evidence...
- •I had inherited my dad’s wallet.
- •Once upon a time, my wallet was thin and smooth. It contained little more than a driver’s license, a credit card, and a few dollars.
- •Now, my wallet is like his: the kind of wallet you might imagine owned by someone on "Hoarders".
- •It’s stuffed to the gills with expired newspaper coupons, restaurant receipts, gift cards, discount cards, credit cards, business cards, and scraps of paper with little-to-no value. Its girth creates an uncomfortable bulge in my front pocket.
- •(Note to my southern friends: When you commute via New York City subway, wallets don’t sit in the back seat – they always ride shotgun.)
- •When I was a kid, my dad’s wallet didn’t strike me as the portable flea market it truly is. Like a magician’s hat, that wallet held mystical power. Specifically, the ability to produce a tiny coupon for almost every air-conditioned adventure.
- •Questions like “Should we eat out?” and “Should we buy this?” were often answered with “I have a coupon!”
- •I like the idea of my own kids looking at my bulging billfold with such awe – and not just as a portable ATM.
- •Yes, it’s a sad thing when you have to hold your wallet like you would a cheeseburger, but whenever I want an excuse for eating out or indulging a consumer fantasy, chances are good something in there will show me the way – as if Dad was guiding me there himself.