If nothing else I am a guy that can learn a lesson. I’m open to it and I recognize the value of applying what I’ve learned to do right by virtue of having done it wrong. I’m also burdened with a tremendous memory, in particular for the stupid things that I’ve said and done. I beat myself up mercilessly to this day for things that I did even in my teens. Mostly between the hours of 11 PM and 3 AM.
My mantra has typically been “I don’t think before I speak, I like to be as surprised as everyone else by what comes out.” I tend to be pleasantly sarcastic so I’m not very offputting. But Sunday I had the opportunity to see a friend do a replay of one of my most regrettable stupid comments. And it was an eye-opener.
A little back-story. When I was 20 my dad and I went to visit one of his co-workers. Another hard working truck driver who had just been diagnosed with Cancer. Dad and I drove 100 miles to see him at his vacation home because that was how Dad was. We arrived at Smitty’s house around noon and we got the tour of the house. Smitty led us to the kitchen and the big man opened the refrigerator and grabbed 3 beers in his enormous hand. As he handed one to me I stupidly said: “Ugh, Miller Lite.” Smitty looked at me and then at Dad. I looked at Dad as well and he was pissed, I just knew.
We eventually said our goodbyes and walked to the truck. His door was barely closed when he turned and looked me in the eyes, serious as a heart attack and said:” when someone offers you a beer I don’t care if it tastes like a warm glass of camel-piss you take it and you say thank you. Do you understand me?” I did, and I felt awful. But it stuck with me. From that day forward I always cheerfully accepted whatever anyone offered me.
Yesterday I was serving a charity breakfast. The Masons do a blood drive every year in our building and I make a full breakfast for all donors. I love to cook and I love to help. I look forward to it every year. In particular, I look forward to seeing my friend Paul. He seldom attends other functions but he always comes to this one to see me in the kitchen. On this day he stayed until the end to help me clean up.
We were joined in the kitchen by Dan, another friend. Paul and I were talking and Dan was scrubbing some pots. Paul asked me if I wanted to stick around and grab a beer with him after. I explained that I had to drive 2 hours home so probably no. It seemed I barely had time to turn around and there he was with three cans of beer, one for each of us. Miller Lite. I gladly accepted and all eyes were on Dan. Dan turns and says:”Miller Lite, that’s what I drink when I can’t drink my own piss!”
I looked at him and before I could stop myself I said: “Dan when someone offers you a beer just take it and say thank you. What’s wrong with you?”
Who said that?