Friday, I was in a card store buying Father’s Day cards along with a special card for my kid for her upcoming graduation, and a “just because card” because I’m so proud of her.
As my items were being totaled, the young guy behind the counter noticed my Father’s Day cards and used that as a conversation starter. He began talking about how fathers were unappreciated and how they sold “way more cards on Mother’s Day.” I engaged him in conversation thinking it would be a short one while making eye contact with the lady behind me. I chuckled and said, “Yeah, you guys are cheated on Father’s Day.” Apparently, he wanted – no, let me change that – NEEDED to vent. He started talking about how he does what he needs to do as a father for all his kids (can’t recall how many, but more than 2) and how he’s tired of the corny gifts that doesn’t take much thought, and how (he got hyped here) he would like a phone call every now and then instead of when something is needed (he blamed the mother(s) for that). I nodded in agreement saying, “I understand, that’s fair enough.” I looked to the lady behind me for a little support and she was like, “Don’t look at me, I ain’t saying nothing!” And she didn’t; just stared at the ornaments on the counter, leaving me to make the young fella feel better.
At that point, I’m thinking to myself that I should have gone elsewhere because he had gotten a little too talkative, but then I was like, “No, maybe God wanted to place me where I needed to be placed.” As I’m thinking that thought, he was still going on, like something you see on television where someone’s mind is wandering but the other person is still rapidly talking…yeah, it was like that.
He told me he was an artist. I said, “Oh, there are a lot of things you can get as an artist.” I named a few things, which excited him even more. He was like, “Yeah, see even you get it!” He continued and at that point, the conversation went on longer than it should have. I picked up a last minute item (you know how they strategically place things near the register to get your last pennies), an ink pen and added it to my order – little did I know the pen’s caption read, “#1 Grand Pop” when I just knew it read “#1 Father.” See what distractions will do to you?
I told the young man that perhaps things would get better, “And if no one else tells you, you have a Happy Father’s Day!” By then items were in my bag, my time was up, and he had a smile on his face! “My work is done,” I said under my breath while rushing out of the store and looking back to the lady who was next in line. “Your turn now,” I thought to myself.
So, I said all of that to say, Happy Father’s Day to all the men (uncles, stepdads, surrogates, & whoever) who are being real fathers! And a special Father’s Day shout out to all the men who feel underappreciated – just like the clerk in the card store.