thinking of Dad

My Dad would totally tweet. And he would have been a terrific blogger. He was a child psychologist most of his life, and told hilarious stories about unconventional treatments. He loved words and he loved to write. He could never pass up a good pun (or a bad one). He would have loved the challenge of of 148 characters. But sadly, he just missed the onset of the social media revolution. He died a little more than 10 years ago at the age of 71.

I think of him often when I’m writing, and wish you could have known him. He was never frightened by technology, but was fascinated by each new development, always eager to learn. He bought a computer and a printer and figured out how to get internet access so he could email us. Then he bought a scanner and figured out how to scan and send us pics. Then he discovered digital cameras, and figured out how to download his pictures, email and print them. He definitely would have had a blog. And I know he would have loved interacting with his grandkids on Facebook.

In his later years he worked for the Department of Social Security, reviewing applications for mental disability. (Now there were some good stories.) He began to collect “bloopers” from these reports: use of a wrong word, incorrect grammatical order, or simple typo – so that the intended meaning was changed – often with hilarious results. He collected hundreds of these, and called them “Curious Comments.” Here are some examples.

PATIENT: “I go to church when I feel up to it and have gas.”

PATIENT: “A chandelier fell on me. I’ve felt light-headed ever since.”

DR. REPORT: “This gentleman has been under my car since an auto/pedestrian injury on 22 February, 1987.”

ADL (Activities of Daily Living) QUESTION: Who furnished your meals, why, and how often?
A: “My wife because she loves me 90% of the time.”

DR. REPORT: “[Patient] found to have no neurologic deficits as a cause of her chronic left buttock discomfort, which she ascribes to appearing after a rear-end accident in 1983.”

CLAIMANT’S REPORT: “[The Doctor] asked me to stand on one foot and jump up and down. This has been going on for three years and I still have constant pain.”

3RD PARTY ADL: “He hasn’t been able to walk well last month, but I have seen him go down hill, and he seems to be gaining speed.”

CLAIMANT’S ALLEGATION: “Hard to concentra”

My dad was a great example of lifelong learning, and fascination with – not fear of – changing technology. Whatever ability I may have for writing or venturing new things, I suspect I got from my Dad. I can’t tell you how many times as I’m writing I wonder what he would have commented about a particular topic or link. He was a good father, a self-described sinner saved by grace, and an ever-amused student of human behavior. And I miss hearing him say, “Ya done good, kid.”

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