I heard there’s a show or a book out there called “$*#% my Dad says.” This phrase has never resonated with me. My father nor my family were ever the type to say “shit”. We never bought our dad ties for Father’s Day. We bought him iguanas instead. You never had to pull dad away from the television but from his guitar yes. He wasn’t into drinking beer and watching football but played soccer until his shin was kicked in and he broke his leg. My mother was never a member of the Lions Club. She cooked cows tongue in pressure cookers instead. She schooled my friends in phone etiquette every time they called so everyone knew to say, “Hello May I please speak to Patricia” instead of “Is Patricia there?” She did everything for us and I mean EVERYTHING. Until the day she rebelled and my laundry piled up for weeks. My friend Jamie had to teach me how to do it myself. Best lesson ever, by the way. My sister was the perfect one who always did what she was told (except when it came to the dishes) and never snuck out of the house (except that one time she did but was never caught). My brother was more rebellious and somehow always managed to get caught. You think he would’ve learned how to throw a secret, giant party while our parents were out of town. I was good until I wasn’t but never got caught, except for that one time I “fell asleep” at a party. It was summer and I was about to be a high school senior anyway. Sheesh.
I watched my brother and sister go through high school and saw my parents finish up their divorce. Suddenly I became the only child in a house where there was once three and that happened precisely at the time I just wanted to blend anonymously into the background and continue to observe. Because what I had observed to that point and still later on was advice and information that I continue to remember to this day. Some of it garnered from roaming the halls of the local high school, other bits of it handed down from my mother and father, both of them bottomless wells of South American insight that I still pass on, if anyone will listen. Some of the advice admittedly hidden under a few layers of other emotions but if you look a little harder, the wisdom is there for sure.
“Zapatos en la mesa, cien a~nos de pobresa.”
-Loosely translated, if you leave your shoes on a table, you will be poor the rest of your life.
“Tell her it’s because you take a shower and put on lotion every single day.”
-Upon my telling her a classmate told me I smell like roses.
“I am NOT buying you those shoes.”
-Spoken anytime she felt she needed to save me from myself.
“Use lemons for deodorant if you ever run out.”
-Just plain old-fashioned good advice.
“It’s always better to be honest.”
-True except when you want to talk on the phone past 9:15 at night, then you hide a phone under your bed.
“Good! You don’t have to do ANYTHING you don’t want to do.”
-Upon telling her of big, life-changing action that I didn’t want to take.
“See this word? THIS is the word you need to be when it comes to liking a boy.”
-Pointing to the word “subtle” in the dictionary
“You should darken that when you go out.”
-Referring to the tiny mole that rests on my left clavicle.
“If you don’t feel confident, just pretend you do. All of those people who act like they are confident, they’re just pretending too.”
“You can choose to be happy!”
-The first person who ever said this to me, thank GOD!
“Nice zit Pat.”
-Anytime he saw a monster growing on my face.
“I’m not touching you, I’m not touching you.”
-Moving both of his hands two inches in front of my face.
“This one is from Satan. Oh, I mean Santa.”
-Handing me a Christmas present.
“Oh THIS guy sounds like a reeeal winner.”
-Hearing a date I had pull up into the driveway with his stereo blaring.
“You’re my favorite.”
-Said to me, my sister and my brother at different times.
“I’m going to have your uncle make a sculpture of each of you. When I’m happy with you, I’ll pet it and when I’m mad at you, I’ll throw darts at it.”
-Randomly spoken, never forgotten.
“Don’t you go getting pregnant.”
-My sex talk right before I left for college.
“I don’t care what you want to be when you grow up. I just want you to be happy.”
-Not telling me what to do.
“In order to become an expert at something you have to do it every day for ten years.”
-Still letting this one sink in daily.
And there you have it. And since Tia Anita is in the picture above, here is her own personal gem of wisdom that needs to be known:
“Tia Alicia told us that when we laugh we should say ‘hoo, hoo, hoo’ instead of ‘ha, ha,ha’ so we don’t get any wrinkles.”
-Passed down from Tia Alicia who was once briefly married to Nicolai Hilton. Girlfriend knew her stuff, obviously.