My father taught me all he knows about manners, or tried to anyway. Why, because manners are the building blocks of a gentleman and the cornerstone of polite society.
So he taught me to open a door for a lady, even when she’s my sister. He taught me to serve a guest the best you have because you want to, not because you have to. He taught me a lot of different things, even how to eat, or tried to anyway.
My table manners leave a lot to be desired, to put it politely. If you ask my parents they’ll put it differently. What can I say…how ’bout, “It’s all your fault Dad!” How do you like that?! Yeah that might sound childish or like a cheap shot but keep reading anyway.
“Shall I get you a mirror?” Straightaway I should have known something was up. My father never did anything for me when I was little (except: feed me, clothe me, play with me, watch cartoons with me, teach me, etc).
If I asked him to help me find a schoolbook – he would look up from his paper, eye the room, and say, “I can see your book from here, go find it.” I couldn’t see it (or my book for that matter) but I’m sure he was teaching me, or trying to anyway.
“Huh,” was all I could inquisitively utter, sitting across the dinner table from him. Even my sisters were confused. I thought my mother looked befuddled too, but now I know, she was bemused. He asked again, “Do you want me to get you a mirror?”
I was lost. As an adult I’m quite comfortable with my body and I still don’t stop every time I pass a mirror. I can’t take a decent selfie, according to my Instagram comments. So as his question ran through my head again and again I asked the only question my preteen mind could think of, “Why?”
“So you can see what the rest of us have to look at.”
— FORK DROP —
If he had been holding a mic he would have dropped that too.
My dad’s words still ring in my ears today. That or it’s my mother’s laughter. But either way I learned a lesson I’ve never forgotten and it’s shaped my table manners to this very day. And it’s the reason I have never, ever, had to eat alone.
Three things for the record:
1. This story is true – really (well the bit about the fork drop is a little poetic license because of what we were having for dinner).
- We were eatin’ chili that night and let’s face it, chili ain’t pretty – ever. Albeit making a chili sandwich with two saltine crackers is particularly unappetizing to watch (but it’s tasty).
- While my father taught me a lot of things like how to drive (or at least tried to), I learned how to be polite on the streets.
Happy Father’s Day
I couldn’t have had a better teacher (mom did her best)!
Illustrations by B. Mac’
© Indian Macgyver 2016