The Worst Advice My Father Gave Me

Dave Gutteridge
From the Gutt
Published in
6 min readOct 4, 2021

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Various figures drawn in pencil, scanned from a sketchbook.
Random sketches from my sketchbook that are about as unfinished as everything I’ve ever done.

“Make sure you have a backup plan.”

In some contexts, that’s reasonable advice. But it’s taken me about three decades to understand that it’s a concept that took my life in all sorts of wrong directions.

It was something my father said, but not like in a movie scene where he sat me down and said it to me like it was sage wisdom being passed down from on high. It was more of a disposition that would come up now and again. Conversations about what kind of education I should get after high school. What my dreams were, what I wanted to accomplish.

If you had asked me when I was sixteen what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would have said, and did say, that I wanted to be an artist working for Marvel comics. Keep in mind that this is long, long before Marvel was even remotely like the multi billion dollar corporate enterprise it is today. When I said it, Marvel had not put out a single movie, Sony had not bought the rights to Spider-man, Marvel was still all about comic books.

I was saying this even before the comic collection boom and bust of the nineties. Wanting to draw comics at that time wasn’t about trying to eventually get optioned for a movie deal, or a television series on Netflix, or any kind of step up to more popular media formats. My ambitions were just about drawing comics. I used to love to draw…

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Dave Gutteridge
From the Gutt

I don't post often because I think about what I write. Topics include ethics, relationships, and philosophy.