Dad, you continue to influence me 24 years after your death. Happy Father's Day!
"Sicker Calves Than Us Have Lived"
Perhaps my favorite, "Sicker calves than us have lived." was generally used when he and I played cards together and were losing miserably. It never failed to make me laugh and try harder to win the game. Was this my first experience with persistence and grit? Maybe, but we would have never called it that. Stay in the game.
"You Are Just Starting Across Fool's Bridge."
As I grew into adolescence anytime I was sad or confused and asked dad for advice, he seemed to use this little gem. I think it frustrated me because I didn't totally understand it, and I thought he was downplaying my concern. The idea is that "Fool's Bridge" can be crossed, but it takes time and everybody has to do it on their own. Fool's Bridge is the struggle of growing up. Now that I work with middle school students, I smile to think how appropriate it seems. I don't use this with students, but it does cross my mind throughout my work day. Most people do make it across Fool's Bridge.
"He/she Wouldn't Know Enough to Pour Urine Out of a Boot With Directions on the Heel."
I guess this one was for those who didn't make it all the way across Fool's Bridge. This was how dad talked about someone who had no common sense. My dad had little patience for people like this. He did not suffer fools lightly. He was frustrated when simple solutions were ignored and when complex approaches were preferred. It may also be important to know that he would not have used the word "urine." I tried to clean this up and make it safe for public reading. He would have used the vernacular. Use the simplest solution.
"I was looking for a job when I got this one."
My dad always was his own boss as long as I can remember, but when he talked about the years before he started his own business, he used this phrase. He had some pretty menial jobs in the lean years, but he knew he couldn't be bossed by men who were not his equal. He walked off one job in the middle of a shift; he handed his supervisor the broom, and said, "I was looking for a job when I got this one." His message to me on careers was that jobs should not be demeaning and you will find your calling. Never sell yourself for a paycheck.