Intro: This is a bit I used to talk about in my stand-up routine. It’s a real story and I always enjoy reminiscing about the absurd lessons my parents taught me (or tried to teach me).
Both of my parents were elementary school teachers, a very noble profession that I have the utmost respect for, but the only problem with this, my parents never stopped teaching once they left the classroom. They liked to treat every moment as a “teachable moment” and much like a 90’s sitcom every action had to have a lesson associated with it, and these lessons didn’t always stick, or you could tell they were poorly thought out and my parents just said “fuck it” and went with it in the vague hopes my siblings and I would learn something. This is one of those moments.
I got my first real job when I was sixteen, measuring men for suits and tuxedos. This job was absolutely ridiculous for someone that just learned how to drive three months ago, and to this day I have no idea how I got the job, or why they even gave it to me. I assume the store owner didn’t know either because I was fired two months later for “not being professional enough,” a reason that made complete sense to me at the time because apparently “Hey bro,” was not the way they wanted their customers greeted.
Anyway, when my father heard about the job he sat me down and gave me, what I thought, was going to be a piece of life changing advice, and I guess it sort of was. I wandered into the kitchen to find my dad sitting at the table drinking coffee and pretending to read the paper like he was auditioning to be an extra in a diner scene for an independent film.
“Isaac, take a seat,” my dad said gesturing to the seat across the table.
“Yeah dad?” I sit down and fold my hands and try to look as serious as possible. My father hated when he thought we weren’t listening.
“I heard you got this job, and that’s great, but I wanted to give you some advice in order to succeed.”
“Yeah of course,” I’m actually quite intrigued at this point.
“If you want to get ahead in business you have to do one thing…”
“You have to carry a clipboard.”
I’m silent for a very long time because I can’t tell if he’s serious.
“A clipboard?” I finally ask.
“Yeah, a clipboard, always carry a clipboard. Do you have a clipboard?”
“No I don’t have a clipboard. Do you have a clipboard?”
“Fuck no I don’t have a clipboard, I’m an elementary teacher what would I need a clipboard for?” My father says not seeing the flaw in his logic.
“Listen,” my father continues, “think about this, if you’re in a store and you need help, and there’s two people in front of you and one of them has a clipboard, who are you going to ask?”
“The guy with the clipboard…”
“The guy with the clipboard! Exactly! Now go buy a clipboard!”
And that’s exactly what i did, I bought a clipboard, it was completely useless and I got fired, but I give my dad credit for trying, thanks dad.