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 something 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 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