MHH Column January: The “stuff” doesn’t fall far from the tree

Me and dad    People say that I am a lot like my father, but I don’t see it. My father was what you would call a “creature of habit” who consumed exactly two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, one bowl of Cheerios and several cups of Folgers coffee each morning before rising from the table and filling his pockets with a mind-boggling array of paraphernalia that he kept on the kitchen counter.

Although he was never in the military, was not an Eagle Scout and never endured any kind of tragic event that caused him to be über paranoid, Dad believed in being prepared and he did not go anywhere without his entire life support system in tow.

There was his wallet, of course, which went into his right rear pocket only after he checked to ensure that his spare dollar bill was safely tucked inside. He didn’t carry it for emergency financial purposes- it was there as a quasi-measuring tape in the event that he needed to gauge the size of something he planed to build rather than buy. (Stores frown upon that sort of behavior, you know so he had the buck’s dimensions committed to memory.) He also carried a comb, handkerchief, and assortment of change, ChapStick, a small pocketknife, Kleenex, a half-eaten package of LifeSaver mints, and the odd arcade token. After all, you never know when the opportunity to play Defender or Galaga may arise.

As if that weren’t enough, beneath the seat of his vehicle, my father harbored a bright orange shop rag and spare staple gun in the event that he “just happened” to buy something longer than the bed of his pick up truck and needed to flag it for other cars on the road. I ask you, whose impulse purchases include an eight-foot long 2×4?

And don’t get me started on the man’s tennis kit. That thing could easily transition into a temporary “bug out bag” in the event that Doomsday got underway during his evening commute. It contained a change of clothes, two cans of tennis balls (which he saw MacGuyver wire into an explosive device once), assorted sweat bands and a Swiss made all-in-one-tool that could raise and lower a tennis net, trim your fingernails, open a bottle of wine and whittle a spear should he suddenly need to gather and hunt.

Thankfully, I never ended up with dad’s Howard Hughes level of OCD habits. Oh sure, I tend to have my favorite foods and I have been known to wear the same clothes all the time, but when I leave the house, I take with me only the stuff that I think I will actually need. The basic necessities such as: wallet, car keys, iPad, camera, spare memory card, pen, digital recorder, at least one book, sewing kit, first aid supplies, and a full set of Allen wrenches.

After all,  you never know what might come up!



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