The younger Mr. Wilner and I are living the bachelor life for an extended period of time. I stopped by his office to ask him if he had any requests for anything at the market and told him I’d grab some milk to go with the beer.
He shook his head no and asked if I had updated travel plans and I told him I’d be in Austin and Houston for certain and probably a few other places but was hoping to hold those off for a bit.
Several hours later he walked in and I listened to a couple of his tales and asked him if I ever told him the “read my stories I wrote for you” tale and he shook his head no.
“You know your father sometimes is a take no prisoners kind of guy. Many years ago someone asked me for some content and my response was ‘have you read the stories I wrote for you yet?’ It was said less diplomatically than you hear in my voice.
I was angry about how I was being treated and I was very blunt. Sometimes presentation can be more important than the words you use. Remember that and remember I am often very fast on my feet and have talked my way out of and back into trouble in under a minute. Be smarter than me. Learn from my mistakes.”
My Children Are Smarter Than I Am
The kids are smarter than I am. That is said with in a conversational tone with no snark or sarcasm, but a fair amount of pride.
I have them beat on life experience which is as it should be and a significant factor that I sometimes point out not for the purpose of trying to make me look better but for the teaching moment.
Life experience can provide you with some valuable tips and tricks for managing certain situations. Life isn’t always about intelligence, it is also about how well you can play chess.
How well can you forecast the next move you’ll make and the ones that will follow those. If you equate some experiences to game it is fair to say you may not know the rules and moves as well as someone else does.
Therefore being smarter may not yield immediate benefits because you don’t know how to apply what you know in the most effective manner.
It is why sometimes it is worth hiring people to help you with certain things. For example about seven years ago I got a speeding ticket in California that I didn’t believe was fair or appropriate.
I could have looked up the applicable laws and argued my own case before the judge but I chose to use an expert. That paid off as the attorney got the the ticket thrown out and his fee was less than the cost of the ticket.
Did I mention this attorney makes a significant chunk handling similar cases. Apparently I was one of many people who got pulled over there.
Part of why it sticks out in memory is the cop pulled his gun on me. That was all kinds of fun.
I had made a point to keep my hands on top of the steering wheel but the sun was setting and it was in his eyes as he approached the car so I guess he felt safer.
Can’t say I felt the same, but it all worked out and now it is just a story.
Anyhoo I came across an old post elsewhere that reminded me of the brief time I spent as Lyft driver here. I really didn’t enjoy it but I wanted to see if I could make as much spare jack as some others I knew did.
Many of my passengers were very nice but some were entitled and obnoxious.
Some told me that I ought to think about a college education and another told me he wouldn’t get out of my car because he was upset his girlfriend had broken up with him.
Drove a couple of pilots to Love Field and argued with one of them about whether my seat belts worked. He insisted it didn’t and I told him he was mixing up the seats.
“You’re using the center and the left, that is why it doesn’t work. You need two lefts.”
He told me to stop talking and to drive so that I could get him to the plane on time. I cannot confirm nor deny having hit a couple of bumps extra hard.
And the guy who told me he wasn’t going to get out of the car, well I told him he could have five minutes to tell me whatever he wanted and that after that I he could exit the car on his feet or head first.
He weighed about a buck ten and quickly recognized he didn’t want to find out how far the almost middle aged man could fling him.
Guess I should be grateful he didn’t empty all of the alcohol he had consumed in my back seat.
No one ever did but I heard too many stories from other drivers about that and other obnoxious passengers and decided driving wasn’t for me.
That Whitman quote can be used as a teaching moment for discussions about life and about writing among other things.
Sometimes I hear people say they can’t imagine telling people their story because they haven’t done anything interesting, because they are ‘ordinary.’
They forget that sometimes the most interesting stories come from ordinary people. Much easier for people to relate to than the man/woman who has lived an extraordinary life.
Don’t underestimate the value of what you have to share.