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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
                 Wednesday, July 16 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmasterShowing them!

An acquaintance at the athletic club I frequent reminds me a lot of my late father. He doesn't look like Dad, nor does he seem to be as hostile as Dad generally came off to my perception, but one characteristic that they share is enough. Like my dad, he's a master of what Mom always called the "backhanded compliment." The most recent one was, "your car looks good since you had it washed." And also like Dad, he's not even so subtle as that lots of times. For example: "Is your daughter coming to visit this weekend? Because you could use a haircut." (I've told him I haven't darkened the door of a barbershop since my mid-twenties.)

This definitely illustrates the point I'm trying to make about "showing" the people who "pick on" you, or, more to the point, pick on me. I've been "showing" my Dad for 40 years now that I don't need to go to a barber to feel good about myself. The Depression has been over long enough that no one who matters to me thinks the reason my hair hasn't been cut recently is because I can't afford a barber (I've concluded that the reason uncut hair was such a scandal to their generation must stem from this). It hasn't made a bit of difference that for most of those 40 years Dad lived in Pennsylvania and I in California, nor does it that he doesn't live anywhere these days...I'm still "showing" him,

But this is not about hair or long hair, or even the many imprints that can be made on a psyche by meddlesome parents (or even those who fail to meddle often enough for their children's best interests). This is about some of the positive outcomes that can result from negative input. Many parents berate their children (Dad did some of that, too), possibly, as we suggested in our series, "Should children be happy?" because they hope that will motivate the children to get their act together and make something of themselves. Though I've assiduously avoided berating my children and encourage all parents to make the same resolution, I do think I benefited from some of the "picking on" that Dad did.

I don't remember exactly the incident, but I know that one evening, after I had already been writing for the Ebensburg Mountaineer Herald for a couple of years (when I was 14 or 15), Dad got on my case and as a result I stomped up the stairs to my room, plotting to "show him," which meant to me I'd show him how wrong he was about me as indicated by whatever criticism he'd been levelling. It might have been that I was lazy, and in terms of what was important to him, I was lacking motivation to produce. It might have been the frequent epithet, "You'll never amount to anything," to which I was under my breath replying my usual retort, "And how much do you amount to—?" There aren't many ways a child with a moral compass can get even or "show" a hard driving parent.

In my room I didn't have a record player or even a radio that I could play so loud it would cause another battle of wills. All I had was my typewriter.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

A hundred years ago in the USA

YEAR 1903 in the United States of America...what a difference a century makes. More US statistics for 1903.

Most women washed their hair only once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.
The five leading causes of death in the United States were 1. pneumonia and influenza, 2. tuberculosis, 3. diarrhea, 4. heart disease, 5. stroke
The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.

— Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz

Thought for today

I like life. It's something to do.

— Ronnie Shakes

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