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Milt Bedingfield Headshot

Will My Daughter Ever Speak to Me Again?

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I did something recently that I never, ever, in a million years would have thought I'd do. It makes me wonder: am I slipping, starting to act goofy, because I am getting older, desperate? Or perhaps it has nothing to do with getting old or desperate. Maybe the more I live and experience things, the better handle I get on what truly matters, and the less I care about things I used to care so much or worry about, or obsess over.

Aside from that, I am sure what I did would miserably fail the daughter-in-the-corner test. In case you have never heard of this test, let me explain. All that you need for this test is a daughter between the ages of 12 and 16 that you know pretty well. This is how the test works. Whenever you do the questionable behavior, imagine that your teenage daughter is watching your every move from over in the corner. While engaged in the behavior, sneak a peak over at her and see if she is giving you a thumbs up or a thumbs down. A thumbs up is rare, but good. Relish in the moment. A thumbs down means stop immediately; the behavior is embarrassing her and is, in her eyes, inappropriate.

If you look over and she has turned her back to you, she is disgraced. You have gone way too far. You didn't turn to get her signs soon enough, you have embarrassed her, and she may act as though she does not know you, at least until she needs something. If she is relatively independent, this could be for upwards of a day.

So what did I do that was so terrible?

I had a very short amount of time, about 25 minutes, to get some exercise. I had been trying to figure out a way to squeeze it in all day, to get to the YMCA. As you know, 25 minutes is not great, but it's a whole lot better than not getting any exercise at all. I finally figured out a time when I could drive to the Y (about eight minutes), get my exercise (25 minutes), clean up (eight minutes) and drive back (eight minutes). The total time involved is less than 50 minutes, by one minute. THat sounded good, so I headed to the Y, got there, hustled into the locker room and noticed a sign that read, "NO RUNNING SHOES." I let out a sigh that I'm sure was heard outside the building, down the street and into the next neighborhood. All my planning, wasted. Not so fast; I wasn't going to let my efforts be in vain. What could I do? I knew there was only one choice if I was going to exercise. The little voice was whispering louder and louder in my head: "Just wear your work shoes to exercise. Take off your long black socks and it won't look as bad. Go on. You're wasting exercise time. What's more important, getting your exercise in or what people may think about you?" I knew what I had to do. It was obvious. It was painful, but it was the right thing to do. "What have I become?" I thought as I retied my dress shoes. The contrast against my wintery, pale legs was not adding to my handsomeness. To answer my question, what had I become? Someone that cared more about getting the exercise I needed and taking care of myself than what I looked like to other people, none of which I knew anyway, not that it mattered. Out on the floor, no one even cared. They may have thought I looked like a dork, didn't know better, or that getting exercise was new to me, but who cares? They didn't even look at me funny. They were much more concerned about what they were doing, not me. When my remaining 20 minutes were up, I returned to the locker room, cleaned up and headed out. I was actually proud of myself for what I had done. I wonder what my daughter in the corner would have thought, though. Will she ever speak to me again?

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