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I keep a plush creature on the dash of my car as a tribute to my father for two reasons. If there is any such thing as a spirit animal, my dad’s “spirit animal” was the turtle. He loved turtles. If people gave him his choice of a gift, they would give him a turtle, perhaps of carved, wood, ceramic, ivory, stone, you name it.
After his body surrendered to congestive heart failure, I inherited a good number of his turtles, not to mention his denim jacket, which had brass turtle pins attached to it.
I am slow. Just ask The Joy of my Life. I inherited the slow gene from my dad, as well as diabetes.
He once explained to me his philosophy of “slow.” If you are slow, you are actually the one in control because everybody else has to wait for you and otherwise accommodate you. That may have been true back in his day, but not necessarily in mine, and definitely not since I found the Joy of my Life.
Another thing I inherited from Dad is my sense of humor. They say, “The pun is the lowest form of humor,” and I am unashamedly a hopeless punster. It’s both a blessing (among other punsters) and a curse (among everybody else). When we were together in his later years, Dad and I would play off of each other for minutes at a time, much to the non-enjoyment of anyone else within earshot. I have a friend in St. Augustine who is of the same breed. We talked years ago about getting together over a meal or an adult beverage and engage in a pun-off.
My dad’s penchant (punchant?) for puns is another reason for my dashboard tribute.
For years, the dashboard of Dad’s car was decorated with a single stuffed animal of some sort, similar to a large, fluffy Beanie Baby. This one had a hypodermic needle sticking out of its body since Dad took insulin.
One day while visiting him, I asked, “Dad! What is that thing you have sitting on the dashboard of your car?
“Oh that?!” he responded in his best I-thought-you would-never-ask voice. “Why that’s just a Furry with the Syringe on Top.”
If this makes sense to you, you’ve just dated yourself.
Mike can often be found in front of the TV most evenings, searching for old Rogers and Hammerstein musicals to gather pun material. If you have any clean ones you’d like to share, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.