As I sat in my back yard last week waiting to flip some burgers on the grill, it hit me.

Well, I’ve been feeling it for some time now, but a look at my bare feet gave my rational brain the empirical evidence it needed to reach a conclusion.

I have become my father, and it’s disconcerting and comforting at the same time.

My “a-ha” moment? The glimpse of my feet revealed some toes that have spent too much time in shoes and some other issues I’d rather not discuss.

The wave of déjà vu washed over me as I recalled over 20 years ago commenting on the sorry condition of my late father Arved’s feet. “Boy,” I thought to myself, “those toes are really nasty.”

The toes are on the other foot now – namely mine — and it really isn’t funny.

Well, it is a little funny.

I believe in many ways we are hard wired at birth for later in life. Our genetic blueprints are executed as we age, and your parents are a good template to look at for a sneak preview of what will soon be looking back at you in the mirror.

I inherited my mother’s coloring and my father’s flat feet, bad teeth and male pattern baldness.

For decades I have been watching my hairline recede and tried insoles and shoes of all sorts to make the best of the flattest feet in the free world. I have also become good friends with dentists over the years as I fund their retirement plans.

At some point, you need to play the cards you have been dealt. It’s a process.

I find that keeping your hair cut short helps. It’s also a good idea to invest in a trimmer for other hair growing on your head in places where it shouldn’t be growing.

The physical traits are hard to avoid. Personality traits are trickier to navigate.

My father did not suffer fools. He would simmer like a pressure cooker before eventually losing his temper, something that he quickly regretted after it happened.

For years, I have noticed thoughts coming into my head unbidden as I react to events or people. With practice, I have developed a way to keep them from coming out of my mouth. When this occurs, I imagine having a struggle inside my mind to keep the thoughts from my mouth. Kind of like what that nice Dr. Jekyll went through with that Hyde miscreant.

As I age, keeping my “inner Arved” at bay can prove to be a larger challenge. Sometimes in my mind my logical brain has an argument with my “Arved” brain, assuring the less logical side that there truly is nothing to be gained by causing a scene. The damage to relationships is not worth the fleeting instant of “triumph” from “prevailing” with some comment that no one but me will truly appreciate. Nearly all of the time, logic prevails.

Nearly.

Suffice it to say, I have a better and deeper understanding and appreciation for my father.

After my foot epiphany, I vowed to simply go with the flow, because there was literally nothing else to be done. Besides, it was a pleasant evening – one of those early summer evenings with low humidity and no insects – perfect for sitting in your metal lawn chair.

Just like Arved used to do.

I let the “Arved” brain win this one.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading; I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.

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