The important stuff I didn’t know

Lisa Kogan doesn’t know how to do algebra and neither do I. As soon as it was acceptable to drop math class in high school, I ran screaming with joy down the hallway to English class.
Math remains one of my weakest skills—unless, of course, I’m figuring out how many days are left before payday or calculating how long it will be before the bag of chips I just ate migrates to my hips.
Kogan, who is the writer-at-large for “O,” The Oprah Magazine, also penned that she doesn’t know how to iron pleats. That I do know how to do and I learned it eons ago as a kid when ironing was one of my weekend chores.
I loathed ironing but I did it anyway because I was told to—and because it was one of the ways to earn my allowance. But I cannot remember the last time I ironed anything in the last four decades.
In fact, I would rather find a wolf spider in my washing machine than have to iron (well, maybe not).
I know how to make fabulous homemade pizza, beef stew, and chicken soup medicinal enough in vegetables to kill any virus within 100 miles.
I know how to whistle pretty well, accept a compliment with “thank you” even if I don’t believe it, and interact at a party consisting of more than eight people.
I do not know how to kill a lobster, but I can make short order of a troublesome skunk or a gopher—and I’m a sure shot for the bull’s eye on a target (and yes, I legally hold the licences required for the varmint and target practice).
I know how to use a level and how to check the oil in my car engine. I know how to build rock gardens and pathways, teach computer lessons, write well, and paint. And I have a very good eye for interior decorating.
I know a thing or two about sailing and how to build an outhouse. I can spell just about anything correctly the first time, and I know that good sleep is the most important factor in determining health.
This I know for sure.
Kogan said she knows this one little thing about men with crystal clarity; she knows what she likes. Me, too.
I can sew and hem, and I know how to cross-stitch. And I memorize licence plates of people I know. That’s how I roll.
I know Greek mythology and I know how to restore old photographs. I know how to canoe and I could survive by myself in the bush without amenities.
I know how to snowshoe and skate, and drive a lawn tractor and a standard vehicle. I can lay carpeting, use a “Sawzall,” and I know how to build a great bonfire.
Yet, despite all that I know how to do, I didn’t know until a week ago just how fantastic and fearless my father’s attitude is. He showed me what it means to have zest for life.
And little did I know he even has a bucket list for when, in 11 years, he turns 99.
Here’s to you, Dad. The best is yet to come.

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