I'm a twelve-year-old with a flat tire, and my dad is coming any minute to pick me up for the weekend.

His car pulls into the driveway just as my friend Brad and I are pushing the bike into the garage. I drag out the pump as Dad comes over to supervise. For whatever reason - probably because he's watching me - I can't seem to get the hose connected to the tire right. The lever isn't in the right position, or the innertube caves into the rim... my little fingers keep slipping off the nozzle as Brad kneels on the concrete and holds the wheel steady for me. Dad towers over my shoulder, watching, and sighing loudly with disgust.

Eventually, he blurts out, "Colin, I hate to say this, but you're really kind of a jackass."

I am embarrassed in front of my friend.

Brad takes the pump, connects it to the tire, and begins airing it up. My dad sees this, and points it out to me: "Look at that, Colin. Brad can do it just fine. He's the same age as you and *he* knows how to put air in a bike tire."

I'm staring down at the garage floor, not saying anything. Dad starts in again: "Brad, where did you learn how to do that?"

Brad looks up at him and says, "My dad taught me."


Fourteen years later, on my wedding day, Brad stands beside me as my best man. My dad, off in Europe somewhere, is not invited.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

Even if you have a good Dad, embarrassment is going to happen. It's character-building at that age I think. Like the time the teacher wouldn't grant me a bathroom pass and I pissed all over myself. Had to wear red sweat pants for the rest of the day. Never wore red sweatpants again.