Dad was roasted today, his last official day at Rainey Kizer, by the firm and partnership he has been a part of since I was born. He is beginning (continuing) a career as a professor, and today he was roasted by the firm, and his two boys, in celebration of his leaving Rainey Kizer and moving forward as professor. Here are my brother’s words, which I read since he couldn’t be there, as well as my own.
- He somehow managed to sit behind a computer for the last 35 years and never learned how to type.
- 8-year-olds can type.
- He taught himself Greek.
- He put himself through law school.
- He taught himself guitar and bass in a very small and impressive amount of time.
- Can’t type.
- And refuses to learn now, for some reason.
- He’s like a duck: capable of graceful, migratory flight, but holds up traffic to walk across the road.
- For a man with such an organized mind, able to hold fast an organic thread of truth and draw it out of anyone in a legal setting, he’s almost completely devoid of social discretion.
- He spaces out during conversations, then chimes in with something you just said like he thought of it himself.
- He stares at cute babies until everyone’s uncomfortable.
- At a restaurant, try to discreetly point out someone behind him: “Okay, Greg. Don’t look yet, but—“ “WHERE!”
- And my personal favorite: when he unwittingly says something impolite and then goes, “OW! Someone kicked me under the table!”
- He once challenged me to a foot race when I was 15. He claims to have won in a “photo finish” (of which there are none). Whoever won, at least my back wasn’t messed up for three days.
- He used to ask Donald and I for fashion advice. We always agreed his pants should ride a little lower. And he would always say, “This. Is where. I wear. My pants.” Whether he thought he looked good and just wanted someone to agree with him, or he was teaching us a lesson about what it’s like dealing with teenagers who don’t take your advice, his pants were always too high.
- For further evidence of untaken fashion advice, wander casually around our home and you’ll find beach photos of shorts too short riding too high, compensated by gym socks pulled to their utmost length.
- You’ll also find an almost infinite number of outdoor photos where he’s wearing sandals and socks.
- He used to say, “Be careful,” every time I left the house, as if I might not think to do that otherwise.
- I looked out the back window once while he was working in the yard. He was silhouetted against the setting sun holding the weed-eater above his head with both arms. Then he smashed it on the ground.
- But he’s a great guy, and we all love him. Here’s to Dad. Cheers.
We’ve never wanted to dress like him, but we’ve always wanted to resemble him.
We’ve never wanted to tell jokes like him, but we’ve always wanted to laugh often like him.
We’ve never wanted to drive off-route on the way to the beach to find some arm from the civil war buried somewhere in the woods, but we’ve always wanted to learn and keep learning like him.
We’ve never wanted to become lawyers––no offense to everyone in the room––but
we’ve always wanted to grow up to be like him.
He’s one of the only two people I know who––as he gets older––keeps getting younger and younger, and cooler and cooler.
We love you Dad. Congratulations.
While it’s always a gift to have a father whose reputation of integrity, gentleness and generosity precedes him, I will never forget what it means to turn 60 and decide you have something new to do and a new way to play to enjoy meaningful work. Thanks, Dad. From both of your boys.