They both happened within the past fifteen years, when I was old enough to appreciate a deftly exhibited lack of fuck-giving.
1. The Capetown Car Rental: In 2005, my mom was working in South Africa, and my dad, Geoff, and I all traveled over there to visit her. After 24 hours of flying, we landed in Capetown at midnight, where we were renting an apartment. "How are we getting to the place we're staying?," I asked. My dad responded that he'd rented a car. This was pre-GPS; he had a paper map in his hand. "Wait . . . you're going to rent a car after literally an entire day of flying? In South Africa? Where you've never been before and where they drive on the other side of the road? And where all the cars are stick shift, and the gear shift is on the other side of the car? At midnight?" "Sure, why not?" he asked. Balls! Okay.
We got in the car and started driving. My dad was looking back and forth at the map and the road trying to figure out where we were. "You have no idea where we're going, do you?" I asked. "No," he replied nonchalantly. "But maybe this guy does." He pulled over next to another car and flagged the driver down, a young guy in his 20s. Wait. WHAT?! Now this was some next-level shit. We were randomly approaching young men on the side of the road in Capetown, South Africa at midnight. We were definitely going to die now. The guy said it was too complicated to explain, so he would just lead us to our apartment. OMG. This was so shady. But lead us he did, straight to the front door. Faith in humanity (and in my dad) restored!
2. The Co-Op President Teachable Moment: For many years, my dad had the ignoble distinction of being "president" of the Bronx co-op where I grew up and where my parents still live. He has since been dethroned by a young guerrilla upstart in a residential coup d'etat, which is a good thing, because that job sucked donkey nuts. Being president of an outer-borough NYC co-op basically means that old, cranky Jewish and Irish senior citizens constantly approach you in the lobby and start complaints like this: "Nick, you know me. I NEVER complain, but . . . ." And then would come a slew of complaints. Things like "My TV is speaking Spanish," and other things my dad couldn't do fuckall about, and wouldn't want to even if he could. This particular complaint happened near the mailboxes, in my presence during a recent visit from Alaska. One of the aforementioned cranky old men rolled up to my dad and started complaining about construction in the parking lot. He wasn't able to park in his space, he said, and it was unfair because he paid $150 a month for that spot and it was an outrage. "Oh ok!" my dad responded cheerfully. Then he started to do some math out loud. He opened his wallet. "By my count you're owed $5. So here's $5." The guy looked stunned. "Oh I don't want your money, Nick," he protested. "But you just said you were getting ripped off, and you just heard me figure out that the co-op owes you five bucks, so here's your money. Problem solved." Crickets. And BALLS!!
Nick, with his baller 'stache and John Lennon glasses circa 1975