Oh, Annie Lane. We’re all in pain.

The Best Father in the World

In our family we had plenty of boys and girls

But we also had the best father in the world.

Our father taught us to study and work for our goals

And he was the best example and mentor for that role.

We were never allowed to be ugly, nasty or rude

And we were always taught love, discipline and a positive attitude.

If we tried to be unruly, crazy and other dumb stuff

Our father would always talk with us and say, “That’s enough!”

Our father taught and preached that education was the way

That’s why we had to read and study almost every day.

We were always encouraged to do our very best in school

Never were we allowed to act dumb or be like fools.

When life sometimes got uneven, difficult and a little rough

Our father always reminded us that we had the “right stuff.”

Our father taught us to always respect ourselves and others

He insisted we treat them as if our sisters and brothers.

Our father allowed us to grow and become decent adults

Today we are living proof of his diligence and loving results.

So imagine how proud we are when our boys and girls

Tell everyone that they have the best father in the world.

(c) Annie Lane (and, interestingly, she forgot to credit the author. Trust me–the would-be poet is better off)

This is the worst poem I’ve ever read.

It has no meter. Meter is the use of a regularly emphasized syllable:

I’d LIKE to EAT some CAKE and DRINK some MILK,

But SINCE I CAN’T have LACtose, MAKE it SILK.

You can also do it with groups of three syllables:

EV’ryone THINKS I’m a REAlly fun GIRL when I TRY.

NO one has EVer been Able to GET me to CRY.

But this poem in Annie Lane’s column is slop. The meter (or lack thereof) was butchered into a mockery of good poetry. And half the rhymes don’t rhyme. Also, going hand in hand with the meter issue, there’s not a consistent number of syllables per line.

This is the second day in a row Annie Lane has published lame Father’s Day poetry instead of an actual column with advice given. It was bad enough when she did it yesterday. Mark my words: Annie Lane’s days of giving advice are numbered.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I meet people I do not know, they ask me what I do for a living. Most often, when I reply what subject I teach, they say, “Oh, I always hated that in college.”

To which I want to reply, “And I am sure that I would hate what your life’s passion is, too. Please tell me what it is.” But I know that would just make matters even worse, as it would put them on the spot and make them apologize. Maybe that is what they should do, but not how it should come about.

Could you please give me a reply that tells them what they said was not very nice, but at the same time not make me an enemy for life?

GENTLE READER: ”I often hear that from people who are bad at …” whatever it is that you teach.

If you had told Miss Manners your field, she could have helped you make it more specific. For example, “I often hear this from people who have trouble figuring out a 15 percent tip.” She asks only that you deliver it with a smile and a sympathetic tone. (c) MISS MANNERS

Okay, but it’s not an insult. Whenever I say it: “You’re a scientist? Oh, I always hated that in college,” my meaning is, “Wow, you must be really smart in a way that my mind certainly isn’t. Good for you!” It’s never meant as an insult to the person’s profession. Quite the opposite. Like, “Wow, calculus is hard. Good for you!” Or whatever.

8 thoughts on “Oh, Annie Lane. We’re all in pain.”

  1. Running bad father’s day poetry seems like the mark of someone one their way out.
    I’m assuming the Miss Manners letter was about math, because most people hate math unless they’re good at it. I’m with you, she should take it as a compliment and feel superior about being smarter/better/etc the people who hate math because they suck at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Darn straight! I always feel that way about you and nursing. I’m dreadful at science, but you’ve got a brilliant scientific brain! Most definitely a compliment. Yeah, I guess math is one of those things you get or you don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I meet people and they ask me what I do for a living I tell them (with some accuracy) that I am a bum. This tends to end the conversation.

    And as for bad poetry …. well …. it is a crime of which I am regularly guilty. But this ‘Ode to Dad’ is, I agree, spectacularly dreadful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also like your “bum” response. I have a former classmate who graduated high school with me, who I run into every few years. She brags about how she’s got a PsyD. in Psychology and works as a counselor. Then she brags about how she’s happily married and has two sons. I don’t mind the bragging, but she can’t return the favor with me. She’ll say, rather snarkily, “So, Meghan, do you still live with your dad?”

      “It’s Meg. Yeah, he and I are very companionable.”

      “So, you… don’t want to get married and have a normal life? It’s just you and your dad?”

      “Pretty much.”

      “Did you hear that our class valedictorian got a YA book published?”

      “Yes, I saw her book in the bookstore,” I said. “It’s very impressive, and I’m happy for her.”

      “So, um, Meghan, what have you been up to?”

      “I got my name legally changed to Meg, and I also write YA books. They’re self-published.”

      She sniffed. “I see. Sara Van’s book was officially published.”

      “That’s great.”

      So… there you have it!!


      1. Oh, yes. I know the feeling. People often say to me, “Gee, you were such an amusing guy at school!” which I take to imply that I am intolerably boring now. It’s probably true, of course. My classmates are doctors and lawyers and all sorts of fancy things. But I’m fairly sure that I’m not the only bum – just the only one to boast about it.

        Liked by 1 person

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