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My dad was also a legend at calling people by the wrong name, and using the exact opposite words he meant to use, both traits that I’ve most definitely picked up. One of my dad’s favourite quips was “I’ll never forget old what-his-name”, but never understood until recently why he found it so funny.
There are some traits that I’m not sorry I picked up. My father might have been quick to get angry, but didn’t hold grudges. He was generous, hard working, loyal to friends and family, and knew when to be quiet (which is something I need to practice). He told pretty good stories around the campfire, and always drove in the slow lane.
My mother’s influences are less physically painful but more subtle. Like my mom, I’m a world-class procrastinator, always finding something to do other than the thing I’m supposed to be doing. And, like my mom, I tend to start a lot of projects that don’t tend to get finished.
I’ve also picked up my mom’s habit of tangents, which can make for some interesting arguments. We’ll start off talking about the weather in Toronto, and wind up arguing about the origins of Middle East terrorism. We’re also both addicted to conspiracy theories and skeptical of mainstream accounts.
Another way I’m like my mother is that I don’t accept compliments very well. Tell my mom that her dinner was good, and she’ll tell you five ways it could have been better.
She’s also a very good artist, but she’d never admit it and is far too self critical of herself to acknowledge the fact. She has a gift that maybe one out of every 1,000 people can claim, but still insists on comparing herself to the one artist in a million who is truly great. I’m the same way with guitar, with art, with writing, with my home improvement projects, and everything I do that is even slightly creative.
My mom is also hopelessly frugal most of the time, but will go out and buy something unbelievably expensive and impractical. She has a coat for every occasion, but nothing that would keep out the rain.
I’ve brown-bagged my lunches for the past five years, worn T-shirts until they unraveled on my body, ridden my mountain bike until the aluminum showed through the paint, but even now I’m still eyeing wood flooring for our the house and an Xbox 360.