Lying is no good. Honestly is the best policy. Just wanted to proclaim that good message before I tell you about what a dishonest liar I was.
I didn't take math my senior year of high school. Mostly because I hated math class and math homework. No wait, not mostly. Entirely because of what I just said. To make it worse, math was always early in the morning, my first or sometimes second class, and I'm not a morning person. If I had forgotten about a math test, or had not studied for some other reason, I simply wouldn't go. I didn't see the point in sitting through the test and failing it. What I would do instead is take a walk next door and grab a big ol' American griddle-prepped breakfast at Nation's. Nation's is set up like a classic little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop. Just enough room to sit at the counter, or grab a booth along the wall. There would be two guys chopping, flipping and generally artistically slaving away at the griddle, and a middle aged woman with a button-up dress who would take your order and pour your coffee. But I don't drink coffee. I was the kid who didn't need to shave yet, ordering O.J, or just water with his flapjacks. Sitting at that counter, I felt older, more mature, rebellious, but also paranoid that someone would ask me why I'm not in school at 9:15am on a Thursday. But that never happened. I could feel their glances though, and i knew I was surrounded by adults that were having a ball putting my story together in their heads. I wonder if they even came close. I bet they did. I didn't have a complicated back story. I was skipping school because I hated math. Simple enough.
George Washington cut down his father's cherry tree, but it's all good, because he told the truth. I never really got that story. I think it was poorly relayed to me as a kid. He still cut down the cherry tree and he probably shouldn't have, right? Did he have compulsion problems as a kid? Seems especially dangerous when the unbalanced child in question is wielding a hatchet. All's well that end's well. G.W. turned out to be a pretty swell guy, and did quite a bit of good in his life with the gifts that were given him. Maybe that's the lesson in the story after all. Not honesty, so much as that there's hope for all of us, even if we seem like retarded destroyers early on.
My dad was a bit of a hooligan as a kid too. He'd steal flowers from graves at the cemetery and give them to his female teachers to make up for a missed assignment. He'd skip school just to throw lit matches off the roof of Montomery Ward's and pretend that they were burning airplanes crashing to the ground. I don't know how much of it is true, but there is even a story of him busting open Washington D.C. fire hydrants to ward off police during confrontations with the Black Panthers. Who knows how big that fish was when the story first started. No idea. But my dad turned out to be a fantastic husband, father, professional, outdoors man, host and leader. He was one of those people that people can't help to look up to, even if he did stand only 5'9". His memorial service stood as a testament to the man, the myth, the legend, and left no doubt in anyone's mind that his good influences continues to work, even though he is gone to the other side.
So, I hope I'll be alright. I am my father's son, and I've come a long way since high school, thank goodness. This morning, I ate breakfast in Boulder at a place called "The Village Coffee Shop." Classic little coffee shop type of place with a griddle behind the counter and booths against the wall. The guys at the griddle reminded me of Nation's. Only tonight, I don't have to study for a math test and make up a fake doctor's note or something to weasel my way into explaining why I wasn't where I was supposed to be, and why I should be allowed to take a test for which I've had one extra day to prepare. Tonight, I think I'll play guitar and maybe write a song about American griddles and the nostalgic paranoia that a coffee shop breakfast still ignites in a 27 year old's heart.