Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Life Lesson #62

When calling a friend, make sure it’s him that answers before responding, “Hey numb-nuts!” just in case he decided to go on vacation and leave his cell phone with his mother.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Failed marketing slogans for the “Segway”

And you thought you were fat before.

Paving the way to a more obese future.

Just (Let Someone Else) Do It!

Remember when people walked for leisure? Ha ha ha.

The Atrophiezer

When you fall over it’s not as hard to pick up as one of those motorcycle things.

The Vertical Geriatric

Best Chick Repellent Since B.O.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007


In Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by his old business partner Jacob Marley who warns Ebenezer that his life of selfishness will lead to sad ends. “…no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunities misused! Yet such was I! Oh! Such was I!” Scrooge attempts to defend Jacob’s life. “But you were always a good man of business, Jacob” to which Marley replies, “Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

Over the years I have often been surprised at how liberally my dad gave others of his personal time, money, and love. When he died on August 10, 2007 at the young age of 56, I began to think on how he spent his time and have come to realize that he lived like a man who knew his days were numbered. One of the few comforts I have had since his passing was the knowledge that my dad knew what his business was, and was expert in his field. Sometimes when I’m missing him to the point where my chest tightens and my eyes begin to brim with tears, I wonder how different our lives, our relationships, and the world might be if we all lived in such a way. Before I go on, please know that what I say about my father is said without hyperbole, undue bias, or the typical heroification that usually accompanies the post-partum memoirs written on behalf of deceased parental figures. Since his death I have developed the theory that there are many ways to be a good father, but significantly fewer ways to be a great one. I want to write about some of those ways.

Through personal observation and speaking with friends I learned early on that my dad was different. If at the home of a friend, I knew I could usually come and go without having a single run in, let alone an actual dialogue with that friend’s father. And to be honest, that was fine with me since other dad’s usually seemed gruff, authoritative, and pretty much unapproachable. If I were to have a friend, male or female, over to my house I knew there was little chance of me getting that friend out the door without first being accosted by my father. He wanted to know everything. How’s the family, school, dating, (then to both of us) what are you doing, where are you going, with who, what else, when will you be back, remember who you are and what you stand for, (then to me) I love you. Honestly, his seemingly unnatural level of attention/interrogation sometimes embarrassed me; but my friends never seemed to mind. Now I like to think that they might have been a little envious of the zealous style with which he approached fatherhood. I’m going to miss his zealousness.

I am amazed at how often he found or created opportunities to teach us, his sons, something he felt was important. Sometimes the lessons seemed untimely but he was of the opinion that if children learn important lessons early, and establish a strong foundation, major issues never become major issues.
“There was a story on the news I wanted to talk to you guys about.” He said to me and my brothers one night.
“A young teenage girl got high on crack and dove headfirst into an empty pool and died. Do you guys know how scary drugs are? How much they hurt not just the people who abuse them but also their loved ones? You four boys mean everything to mom and me. Do you know that?”
“I hope you have the courage to stand up for what’s right when it comes time to decide.”
(Pause for effect)
“Dad, I’m only six years old. I don’t even know where to get cigarettes let alone crack cocaine.”
(I didn’t say that last part. But if I could go back in time and enter my six-year-old head, I would have.)

I loved the way he valued our sense of adventure and need to do things that weren’t always part of the mainstream. His willingness to risk financial security to do something unusual with the family had become a source of criticism from friends more than once. But whether we wanted to sell it all and move to Nauvoo, or Jackson Hole, or anywhere else, he was in, as long as the family was doing it together. Even after suffering major financial loss at the hands of dishonest partners, or due to poor personal business execution, my dad maintained a surprisingly positive outlook, regrouped, and was willing to try something else. When most fathers would try to sober their sons with dream defeating reality my dad praised our ideas and hoped they included the group being together. He knew where his priorities lie. Daily he worked to lay up treasures in heaven and hoped the earthly treasures lasted long enough to do so comfortably.

Though he spent much of his life on the road he somehow always managed to be there when it was important. If someone was moving, had car trouble, was performing on stage, had a game, needed advice, wanted someone to play golf with, dad was there. “Just don’t tell mom. She’s at work while I’m out here with you.”

Speaking of mom, I learned how to treat women from the example he set with my mother. I’m going to miss the way he talked about my mom. In front of her and in private he loved to tell us how lucky he was, and how lucky we were for having her as our mother. He was the first to admit that he married above himself. He would hug her tight, kiss her, and say, “Your mom is one in a million.”

I will sorely miss his liberal showing of affection; the random calls where he would just call to say hi, what’s up, I love you. I talked to my dad on the phone two days before he passed; a long stretch by our standards. The conversation was insignificant. We talked about my family getting back to Utah, and getting moved into our new place. I hadn’t seen him for about two months due to a summer job I had taken and he expressed how much he missed us and how excited he was to see my wife Kathryn and my kids Maggie, and Cash (who he called Jack). He had to get back to work but he wanted me to know he loved me and was thinking of me. The last words that passed between us were “I love you.” If I’d known it was going to be the last time we spoke I would have slowed down, told him I still needed him, that I would miss our private conversations, that it breaks my heart to think of my young mother going to bed at night and seeing only space where her dearest confidant used to lie, that the real tragedy is that my children and many of my brother’s children will have no memory of him, that I wished I were there so I could hug him and kiss his cheek, that I wished I could have looked into his eyes when I said my last “I love you, dad.”

There may be some, surface associates, that thought that Martin Quinn’s business was picture framing. But sales and frames “were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of [his] business;” a necessary evil to create free time for his real job. His business was family and man, and he was expert at it. Now that he’s gone it is my intention to take up the family business. I hope I can make him proud.