Wednesday, May 31, 2006

 

Three Ways the Annual Fund is Like My Step Dad

I went to my parents' house over the weekend to see my family (as I didn't go home for Mother's Day). After eight hours swimming with my younger brother and sisters, dinner, and a political argument with my step dad, I had to depart for Columbus.

It's a long drive and my mind wanders to everything except driving. (Sidenote: have you noticed how straight I-71 is? You can just put your car in cruise and it basically drives itself, assuming your car is properly aligned.) On this particular drive, I came to the realization that the Annual Fund and my step dad are a lot a like.

This seems like a stretch- as are most of my blogs- but bear with me on this...

1. They Are Providers
My step father is an independent salesman for a couple of agricultural machinery companies. He believes in the value of hard work to provide for his family. In fact, he believes in it so much that when I was younger, if I said that I was bored, he would tell me to go pick up rocks or sticks in our one-acre yard. He said that it would teach me hard work and character. Then, when I didn't go out and do it, he would make me go out and do it. Eventually, I quit complaining about being bored.

The Annual Fund provides for the OWU's operating budget. Often times, these are things that are not as attractive as a building or a mission trip, but vitally important to Ohio Wesleyan in every day operations that help the University continue its mission to educate future leaders.

2. They Are Steady
My step-father is a very steady individual- it seems that nothing sways him. A couple of years ago, I stopped by my parents' house unannounced. When I walked in, nobody was there. I walked into the back yard, where I found my step dad digging a gigantic hole in the back yard for seemingly no reason. He looked up at me and said hi to me and then continued to dig.

I waited for an explanation of this action for a couple of minutes, assuming that he would tell me what he was doing. He didn't. He just kept digging. Finally, I asked him what he was doing.

He looked up at me, said "Digging a hole," and went back to digging.

We sat there in silence again for a few moments with me waiting for more detail. None were coming. I asked why he was digging a hole. When he went to answer me, he took his attention off of the digging. He then jammed the shovel down on his ankle.

Hard.

There was another couple moments of silence. Blood started to ooze from the wound created by the shovel. I stood there, mouth agape, wondering when he was going to lose his cool. Understand that if that had happened to me, I would have started cursing, crying, and rolling around on the ground, screaming in a high-pitched, 12-year-old-girl voice.

After a minute, the only word he said was "Ouch" in a regular voice and started digging again. He didn't even stop. It didn't phase him. I don't know if it really didn't hurt him, if he wasn't showing it, or he didn't care, but I am still amazed.

The Annual Fund has been a steady source of income for the University since 1926- nothing stops it. The need is great, and the Annual Fund has been OWU's only consistent form of funding for over 80 years. Just like my step dad, it never stops for anything.

3. They Both Use Acronyms and Examples That Only Make Sense to Them
My step dad uses weird examples to get his point across. Examples that are impossible to understand, but he will defend them to the end. When I was in high school, we got in fight (I don't remember the topic) and I was disagreeing with him about everything he said, even though he was probably correct (he usually is- which is really annoying at times).

The conversation was getting heated when all of sudden he declared "Jason, it's like 70 pounds of lumpy mashed potatoes!"

That effectively ended the argument. I was dumbfounded. I didn't even know how to reply. What do you say to that? To this day, whenever the mashed potato reference comes up in conversation, he still defends it, saying it was a good point. No one can remember what it was about or what it meant, so there isn't any way to convince him otherwise.

The Annual Fund also uses weird acronyms and examples, like SYBUNT, GOLD, DIMSUM Reports, etc. It took me about six full months to understand what "LYBUNT" meant. People get confused about what the Annual Fund is or isn't. The only way to get people to understand is to explain it clearly, unlike the mashed potato thing, which made no sense whatsoever.

I have other stories about my step dad, like the time he said he sanded a car with a shark to get it ready to paint (I know, I don't understand either), or the time he was transporting air from downstairs to upstairs to cool the house (to this day, I still don't know if he was serious about that) but I won't get into those.

I love my step dad- he is one of the major influences in my life. Comparing him to the Annual Fund may seem odd, but both are steady, reliable, and sometimes confusing. He is a great man and the Annual Fund is a great cause, so I see this as a positive comparison. They both have also been around forever.

Also, he is much, much stronger and bigger than me, so I have to say nice things about him.


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