Monday, September 29, 2014

Don't Sneak

I consider myself a man's man, willing and able to do what needs to be done. But there are some stories that are guaranteed to render me helpless--and make me cry like a 5-year old boy whose puppy just disappeared.

I suppose there is some deep-seated explanation for "the trigger" and its inevitable, emotional  response. In 50-odd years of walking this earth, I have yet to discover the reasons for this drama, and move them into my conscience for closer examination.

All I know is that I have watched "Remember the Titans" three times, and three times I have been reduced to a blubbering idiot.

And now, this story told on NPR's StoryCorps in which a man tells his adult daughter the touching story about a surprising bit of advice his father had given him years ago, when he was a teenager.

On the surface, the two stories--Remember the Titans and Don't Sneak--may seem to be completely unrelated. But I invite you to follow the link, check out the story with an open mind, listen to the recording if you have the time, and see for yourself what you think.

Patrick Haggerty dresses in drag in 1959. As a teen,
Haggerty learned from his father never to "sneak" around his identity.

Here is the quote that really stuck me to the wall. The father realizes that his son Patrick is, as might have been said back in the late '50's, a little light in the loafers. And this is how this father deals with the issue:

"Now, I'm gonna tell you something today, and you might not know what to think of it now, but you're gonna remember when you're a full-grown man: Don't sneak. Because if you sneak, like you did today, it means you think you're doing the wrong thing. And if you run around spending your whole life thinking that you're doing the wrong thing, then you'll ruin your immortal soul."

Here is an amateur attempt at self-diagnosis. I seem to have a soft spot for stories about the strong father-figure (dad, coach, teacher) who accepts and encourages an insecure young man who desperately wants to do achieve something authentic, bold, and great.



To thine own self be true.

Know yourself and seek self-improvement.

Don't sneak.