Things I’ve Learned from My Dad
*And what he really meant
5. If someone gives you something, take it.
My first year at NYU, my parents came into the city for a Saturday afternoon of sightseeing (and also to make sure I wasn’t piercing my face or taking drugs). Even though we lived just an hour outside of New York City, it was still foreign territory for them; we only visited once a year in October, when a chartered bus shuttled our church group in and quickly out for the annual Pulaski Day Parade.
We were strolling along the crooked streets of the West Village when a guy standing in front of a tattoo parlor thrust a piece of paper in my dad’s direction. Having lived in the city for a few months already, I had the shake-your-head-and-don’t-make-eye-contact routine down when approaching people handing out flyers on the street. I hustled past, but my dad stopped and accepted the piece of paper with a “thank you.” As if it were a generous gift this man had offered him.
“Dad, why are you taking that?” I said. “Do you even know what that is?”
He looked down at the scrap of paper. “Prince Albert,” he read the word bolded at the top. When I explained that this was a particular genre of piercing on a man’s nether regions, he winced, laughed, then folded the paper and put it in his pocket. We continued down the street. Along our walk, we were accosted by at least a half dozen other pamphleteers. Each time, my dad stopped and accepted their flyers — bits of paper advertising cell phone deals, spa pedicures, party listings for dance clubs. He took them all, walking down that street grabbing flyers like it was his job; like they were clues to a scavenger hunt he needed to collect if we were to make it to our destination.
“Dad!” I could hold it in no longer. ” It’s junk! Why do you keep taking these?” Continue reading