I would love to pretend taking a long walk on a short dock meant soaking in that last ounce of summer; making one last brave leap. Or maybe something more peaceful like strolling through God’s creation and suddenly finding a splash of unintended adventure. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean those things. It means

You are annoying and I wish you would fall into the lake

I miss my dad. The tone of his voice when he quietly uttered those words, (usually beginning with an “Oh go”) aimed at someone entirely annoying, was absolute perfection. He was hilarious, and everybody who knew him understood his subtle sense of humor. Every time someone or something annoys me, or I’m anxious beyond what would be appropriate for the situation, it’s a reminder that a piece of him lives on. He passed that torch down to me, and I think I’m doing him proud. 

It’s easy to understand how a parent can pass down anxiety to a child, but In case you are wondering how to pass the torch of annoyance down to a child, let me explain. It’s not so much that I am annoyed at everything, it’s that annoying things happen to me. All. The. Time.


          I drive up to the bank teller, and there are two lanes open. There is a vehicle in each lane. Which one do I pick? There is no point wasting time on this, I always pick the wrong one. Always. Let’s say I decide to get in the left lane behind the guy in the pick-up truck. He’s got places to go, right? As soon as I am trapped by my choice, the mini-van on the right cruises out. I peek out my window and look into the truck’s rearview mirror to discover I have stereotyped. Peeking over the steering wheel is a woman at least 92. I will call her Eloise. As I watch her try to reach the tray, a car pulls into the right lane. Eloise is removing her seatbelt now. The car in the right heads out. I check my Instagram while another car pulls into the right lane. Eloise is now placing her papers in the tray. She forgets to push send. The car in the right lane heads out. I can hear the teller speaking to Eloise as another vehicle pulls into the right lane. I watch Eloise push send as the car in the right lane heads out. Another car pulls into the right lane. There is now another conversation between Eloise and the teller, and I move on to Facebook. The tray comes out again. The car in the right lane heads out. Eloise places something in the tray. Eloise forgets to push send. Another vehicle arrives in the right lane. The teller says something to Eloise and she pushes send. The car in the right lane heads out. The tray opens, and PTL, I hear the teller say, “Have a great day.” A pick-up pulls in the right lane. Eloise isn’t moving. I’m quite certain she is balancing her checkbook.

I don’t say this to make fun of Eloise, and I would never tell her to take a long walk on a short dock. (That would be one long walk). I’m just pointing out that if something annoying is going to happen, it’s going to happen to me. It’s my lot in life, and it was my dad’s. He used to say,

“If I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any at all.”

He had a way of making every situation funny, which is something I am trying to do. I think he learned his lessons quicker than I, too.  When he passed away, my mom said, “God had nothing left to teach him.” Well, if that is true, I will never die. The physical consequences of anxiety in my life have been bitter medicine, and when I hear my granddaughter grunt, “ugh!” after spending some time with me, I really know I’ve got a lot left to learn.

Sometimes I wish I could find a short dock. A plunge in the water might do me some good.