This week on US Farm Report my commentary was about a part of my past with my father. This was the script I wrote:
As a boy, my late father had the irritating habit of being able to make me laugh just when I was busy sulking or worrying. On one occasion after a particularly poor grade school basketball game, he threw his arm around me and solemnly recited:
The limerick was not original, but a lively discussion broke out with my colleagues at USFR about where it came from. While it was quoted used in a similar form in Caddyshack, the doggerel originated with Morey Amsterdam on a 78 rpm. record circa 1950. I learned this from my original search, but I'm danged if I can find it now.Johnny -Unfortunately, he repeated this ditty so many times that it remains one of my most powerful memories. So much so that this week, as I felt the panic around and within me, the words sprang unbidden to my lips - and I laughed again.
Any man can grin when his ship has come in,
And it's all tied up at the dock.
But the man who's worthwhile
Is the man who can smile
When his underwear's tied in a knot.
So now, in times of stress, I channel my father. Thanks a lot, Dad.
My father could be quite silly, but maybe he was on to something. Psychologists tell us laughter is a potent tool to interrupt fear feedback loops - or panic.
So even if he was just cheering up a small boy with small problems, he was actually preparing a bigger boy for bigger problems. And maybe make me a little more worthwhile to those around me as well.
Let me rephrase my previous words:
Dad - thanks a lot!
Plus we've been cutting beans all day, and I'm whacked.
Anyhoo, thank for watching, and I hope this reminds you of your father.