You Did A Shit Job.

A life lesson.

“Good try. I know it’s really hard to do.”
“That looks pretty good. Is it okay if I show you how to make it a little better?”
“Hmm. If you don’t mind, can you try it one more time? It’s pretty close.”

My Dad could have said any of those. He didn’t.

I was 22 and living in an apartment with some friends in San Francisco. As you’d expect, our place was filled with furniture from Ikea. My roommate Garett and I had been in charge of putting together the bar stools.

Spoiler alert: we’re not handymen.

[6 months later: My parents make their first visit to the apartment.]

The apartment is less filthy than they probably imagined. And, since there’s a light saber hanging on the wall, they’re not too worried about the creation of unexpected grandchildren.

Dad walks to one of the bar stools and sits down.

It creaks.

Two of the screws are only half way tightened. Garett and I know about it, but it doesn’t bother us. Those things are hard to screw in.

“Who put this bar stool together?”

Garett and I sheepishly raise our hands.

I say something clever like,

“Yeah, those screws are really hard to tighten. You know…Ikea furniture.”

Dad looks at me, then looks at Garett, then looks back at me.

“You did a shit job. Put your heads down.”

He takes a screwdriver off of the counter, tightens the screws, and looks back at us. We look at him.

“Keep your heads down.”

My Dad’s a nice man (freakishly nice, actually), but he tells it like it is. I want more of that. Pleasantries are nice, and we should always be polite, but we have to call a spade a spade.

Be tough. Be fair. Be nice.

If I do a shit job, then tell me. I’ll do the same.