Blog No. 37 Sayings from my Father

MIDDLEBURG, VA --- As some of you may know, my father, Sandy Coppersmith, passed away in March. It’s been about six months since he’s gone, and I miss him terribly.

He’s been on my mind a lot lately.

My dad was not only my best friend, but he was also my mentor, coach and consigliore. Whenever I had to make a hard decision to make, in business or in life, I’d check in with him first, just to get his take on the situation.

Now that he’s gone, it’s left a void that’s been hard to fill. I have some wonderful friends who have stepped up, and offered bits of advice in Dad’s stead. But, to be honest, nobody could give pithy advice like him.

He’s a tough act to follow, as he would say.

Puns may be the cheapest form of humor. And, clichés -- my old friend Warren Mayes once said -- are useful. Dad had a thousand of them, and he’d pull them out of thin air at the drop of a hat. He had an uncanny memory for numbers and funny sayings. So I’ve put together a list of some of Dad’s gems. They’re his sayings that I seem to be repeating at various times to my children and golf buddies. I hope you enjoy them:

Don’t do as I say, do as I do.

Aim carefully; the next guy may have holes in his shoes.

I don’t care if you get crap on your shoes, just don’t get it on mine.

Get a professional shoeshine. It’ll instantly make you feel better.

You should always get your hair cut on the company’s time.

And by the way, you need a haircut.

Whenever possible, use the company’s toilets. They usually have better plumbing.

If you’re going to smoke the Double Corona No. 58 cigar from Garcia Vega with the Claro (green) wrapper, make sure you buy two rubber bands with it. Then put one rubber band on each cuff before you smoke it. That way, the rubber bands will make sure you won’t get diarrhea on your shoes.

It’s my last name too; treat it right.

In the end, all you’ve got is your reputation. If that’s shot, you’ve got nothing.

Respect your elders; someday you’ll be one, too.

If I get much older and wiser, I’ll be an owl.

I never liked Nixon. I always thought he was a crook, even when he said he wasn’t. I voted against him three times. I was one-for-three.

I liked Jack Kennedy. I thought he did great during the Cuban Missile Crises. When they shot him, I cried.

I thought Johnson was a dud.

When they shot Martin Luther King, I thought there’d be riots for a long time. I was scared. He was a wonderful orator. Nobody could replace Dr. King --- I was surprised by that; not even Jesse Jackson. I guess Dr. King really was that great.

When they shot Bobby Kennedy, I knew the bad guys had won. First Jack, then Martin, then Bobby. America couldn’t recover from that. It was too much. Too much.

The damned hippies -- the crazy music, the pot smoking. What a disgrace. By the way, when are you getting a haircut?

I want you to promise me you’ll never smoke pot.

And don’t’ gamble. There’s nothing to it. Forget it. Making money is hard. Pissing it away on the gambling is stupid.

I like Jai-alai, but I always lose. Forget it, too.

I’ve watched you play poker. You’re not good at it. Drop it.

I’m not very good at shooting pool. What’s that? You want to play? OK, I’ll take your money (and he always won. He was the best pool player I ever saw.)

Vegas? Nah, never liked it.

Do you hear that? That’s the sound of my 1966 Lincoln Continental firing up its engine. The car is jet black, with red interior. It rides like a living room on wheels. Get in, sit down, feel the leather. Turn the air conditioning up high. The suicide doors? Cool, huh? Man, I love this car. It drives like a dream.

When you fish, you should always use live bait. Worms, shrimp, flies, I don’t care, just so long as it’s moving. The plastic lures never work.

Fly-fishing is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

Keep casting. You’ll catch a fish. I promise.

When the pitcher throws a curve ball, use an inside-out swing toward right field. It’ll give you a better chance of catching the pitch.

When you’re up at the plate, if you can’t seem to make contact, bunt. There’s nothing wrong with a good bunt, and then run like hell. But, since you’re not as fast a runner as I was, try and swing through each pitch.

When you throw, zip the ball past your ear. Almost touch your ear as your arm passes through the motion. Don’t throw sidearm. Throw, and snap your wrist when you release the ball. Zip it in there.

Use your legs when you throw. There’s a lot of power in those legs, if you leverage them right.

As a catcher, at least once a game, make a snap throw down to first when the runner’s taking a lead. You’ll only have to do it once a game, but they’ll remember it. And they’ll think twice about stealing after that.

I can’t see which way the seams of the baseball are rotating, either. Just swing level; you’ll hit it enough.

When you’re breaking in a new baseball glove, use neat’s foot oil, and put the baseball into the glove, wrap lots of string around it, and leave it for a week. By then, it’ll be broken in just fine.

The New York (baseball) Giants broke my heart twice. First, they left the Polo Grounds for San Francisco. Then, they said they’re going to relocate to Tampa, which was great (Dad lived in Tampa). But then, they changed their minds and decided they’ll stay in San Francisco. Now, San Francisco is a beautiful city, but really, couldn’t they just let me have the Giants back? It’s enough already.

Do you remember the time I came home from work, and you challenged me to a foot race down the middle of the street and I won? Boy, that was pretty good, huh?

In football, keep your head down, and always protect the family jewels.

I like camping. I just prefer air conditioning.

Yes, you can use my car. But, don’t leave any stains on the back seat.

By the way, you should wash your car once a week. Take good care of it, and it will take good care of you. And while you’re at it, you can wash my car, too.

Always carry a $20 bill in your wallet. Just in case.

I’m not very big on drinking. I just never really liked the taste. Once in awhile, I’ll try a small glass of Macallan Scotch, neat. Only the 18-year-old stuff, though. It tastes like mother’s milk.

There’s nothing wrong with being poor. But there’s no excuse for being dirty. Take a shower every day.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Always make sure you’re clean.

Clean and trim your nails. Nothing leaves a bad impression like dirty finger nails.

Dress British; think Yiddish.

A gentleman always owes a debt of gratitude to his father, and owes money to his tailor.

A good tailor is a key to success. If you find one, don’t lose him.

A good man is hard to find. A good partner is even harder to find.

There is nothing better than the love of a good woman. Not even a great cigar.

Looks fade, brains don’t. Marry a smart one.

The best place to girl-watch is Miami airport. It’s amazing.

Making money is good. Keep doing it.

Bad salesmen have skinny children.

Henny Youngman, eat your heart out.

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