Friday, November 11, 2005

Hangin With Dad

You cannot understand until you get into my Dad's head. My Dad intends lack of criticism to be understood as praise, i.e. his silence means there is nothing to criticise - which is its own form of praise/approval - and he intends it to be understood as such. Here is a typical interaction between us:

Dad: Criticise. Criticise.


Dad: Harshly criticise. Harshly criticise.

Me: Sharp retort.

Dad: How dare you be disrespectful to your father!?



Me: (Isn't that nice! Dad is bestowing praise. His silence means he approves of my actions and/or my personal presentation!)

Here's a variation:

Dad: Criticise. Criticise.

Me: Sharp retort.

Dad: What? What'd I say? You're awfully sensitive today, aren't you?

Here's Dad and I having an extended conversation:

Dad: Who was that kid you used to have on your team?

(I coached 9 different teams and approx. 150 players)

Me: Which one?

Dad: You know, the one whose parents thought he was the greatest thing ever?

Me: Every kid's parents thought their kid was the greatest thing ever.

Dad: You know. Don't be like that.

Me: I really don't know.

Dad: Yes you do. His Mom was really overprotective.

Me: Every kid's Mom was really overprotective.



Dad: I just don't understand you sometimes.

Me(in a helpful tone): Baseball player? Was it A, or B, or C?

Dad: None of those. You know the kid! I can't believe you. He was a pretty good little infielder.

(This is a big break, as Dad only believed about 4 of the 150 kids were good players.)

Me(in a relieved tone): Was it D, or E, of F?

Dad: That's it! F! Well, his Dad used to always stand around and criticize your coaching, so one day I said to him "You know, there's one difference between Greg and us." And he said "What?" And I said "He's the coach, and he gets to make the decisions." So then he walked away, and he never came back down there and talked to us.

Me: Yeah, you've told me that before. You were smart to get rid of that guy. He didn't know what he was talking about.

Dad: Yep. He never came back down there, that's for sure.

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