Friday, January 10, 2014

Don't Ask

To my son Tommy,

A sure way to piss someone off is to ask them a question about something they are doing that they are either unsure of or anxious about especially if they are in the process of doing it and feeling their way through.  A five year old (still getting used to saying that) with little to no filter has the uncanny ability to do just that.  Unfortunately, even the best of us can snap back when that happens.

I picked you up from your grandparent's house today.  Normally I don't pull all the way up the steep drive.  Mainly it is because I don't do well backing down the drive and always worry about scraping up against the brick wall on the one side or going over the ledge on the other.  It is tough to admit when you can't do something well especially if it has to do with driving and you are a man.  For some odd reason today, I pulled all the way up the drive.

Perhaps it was my hope for staying dry in between the car and the house, or perhaps I just wasn't thinking after a 60 hour work week, but I pulled all the way up.  I didn't realize how much the rain and lack of visibility would add to my difficulty backing down.  As I inched down the drive backwards, somehow feeling as if I was going to hit the brick wall and go over the other side at the same time, you decided to chime in.  "Why are we going so slow daddy?"  "Why did you put down the window and pull in the side mirror?" "Why did you pull up the driveway again just to start back down?"  I had no desire to explain the ins and outs of my ineptitude, so I snapped back, "Tommy! Just let daddy drive!"  You looked at me with hurt feelings and a strange sense of superiority as if to say, "You call this driving? Whatever you say there chief."

This is yet another Downey trait that has passed on to you.  You have learned (or accidentally stumbled upon) the first steps in your judo of the mind training; Ask questions to expose those who know not what they do.  It is an almost too effective method and you know your winning when you illicit anger or shortness in their response without any substance in their answers.   Use this sparingly or you will piss off tons of people and end up looking like a know it all.  Trust me on that, I know from experience.  But hey, I am still learning too.  It was just odd to have the tables turned on me.  Good on you boy!

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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