Wednesday 3 February 2016

A Moron For a Son

It wasn’t too many generations ago, when the world was slower and smaller, you would grow up, live and die within ten miles of where you were born. Some were adventurous of course, but an adventurous life was a dangerous life back then. It was safer by far to stay home and follow in your fathers footsteps.

Most families would spend their days doing the same thing that great-granddad, granddad and dad had done. Millers would raise millers, smiths would raise smiths, farmers would raise farmers and lords would raise lords. Everyone knew their place more or less. Life was quiet, simple and by all accounts, quite hard.

Life has been getting easier for most of us for the past hundred years or so, partly because the world has become smaller and faster. I can get on a plane and in four hours I can step off the plane on the other side of the country. That same distance would have taken months or years before the industrial revolution. Now, we can work many miles away from where we live and the products that we create will be shipped all over the world.

I guess one of the downfalls as I see it is that we rarely follow in our father’s footsteps. It isn’t too often that you see a sign on a business that proudly says JONES & SON. We have no tradition of generational businesses in this country. Perhaps it is because our country is so young; perhaps it is because if a business is successful a franchise won’t be too far behind. Maybe the jobs we work at don’t challenge our children or capture their imaginations.

My dad was an investigator for the government and I think I might have had an aptitude for that as well. Whenever I start a search, I won’t give up no matter how long it takes and generally I will bring the search to a successful conclusion. For the past several months, I have been looking for five coat hooks that I had taken off of a board that is still in the basement workshop. I have looked in every box on every shelf and behind anything that isn’t nailed down. I have searched the garage workshop several times and was quite diligent in my search out there. Then I searched the basement again…unsuccessfully.

I spent some time today just sitting in the workshop asking myself “If I were Ken, where would I put those coat hooks so that I could find them when I wanted to?” I didn’t have a good answer for myself.

Tonight I was watching TV and it occurred to me that I knew where the hooks were. I put them on the coat rack that stands by the front door. You know the one that I walk by ten or twenty times a day, everyday, week after week, month after month. Well…good for me!

In one respect, I concluded a successful investigation and my father would have been proud of me. Well, once he got past the shame of having a moron for a son.

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