In the Midst of the Squished Crisis

Time-honored advice espoused by our daughters is hereby heartily endorsed. My bias runs in total agreement.

It is dispensed to our grandchildren daily – if not hourly – because their moms believe such observations will help their offspring stay afloat in choppy waters that lie ahead. And perhaps be helpful in identifying their drummers in the rhythm of life.

Squished on a Downtown Street

“Sometimes you’re the windshield – sometimes you’re the bug,” the youngsters are told. And all six of ‘em are sick and tired of hearing it.

The children respond in gory detail about degrees of “squishiness” that need not be recounted here. It should be noted, though, that except for their usual juvenile responses, other “squishy” references are rare, drawing ever closer to “squished out” status. Really, this runs counter to probability. Our culture is awash in ever-growing “squishy” situations – or at least many on the verge of “squishiness.”

I dunno. Maybe the term blossomed when back seats of automobiles were shared by multiple children.

Back in the day, when they were tossed in and stacked rather than “begged in” and buckled, kids established imaginary territorial backseat boundaries. When issues arose—and they always did—“squishiness” usually resulted. Parents heard “I’m being squished” wails more often than kids hear the bug-and-windshield illustration.

In our current world wobbling with over-population, we are “squished” to the point that we’ve mostly given up complaining about it. Some of it is subtle, but thanks to my friend Vaughn, whose eyes remain ever sharp for changes, there’s a new example of “squishiness.” It should be noted that at greeting card shops, Father’s Day cards are being “squished!”

Well, this is true for at least one store. In its vast sea of greeting cards for many dozens of specific recipients, Father’s Day cards were “squished” with those for graduates. The sign read: “For Dads and Grads.” At least they listed fathers first, maybe because their dropout rate is better, at least slightly so.

Next year, my friend expects to see more “card compression.” Vaughn predicts “Mothers and Others.” Moms’ll let ‘em know when this happens, and there’ll be a halt to such “squishiness.”

This might be an opportune time to purchase Father’s Day gifts for next year. Why not consider wooden ties? They were novelties this year, but who knows if they’ll catch on?

In fact, there may be a run on these post-holiday ties, if not in haberdasheries, perhaps at lumber yards, thrift shops, salvage yards and garage sales.

Over the centuries, we’ve had ‘em short, long, narrow, wide, colorful/bland, swirly/solid, with and without messages, and the list goes on. Alas, mustard and assorted other condiments “do in” fabric cravats. With some ties going at $75 or $100 a pop, weeping is warranted. And our spirits flop to half-mast.

Ah, but wooden ties offer alternatives when fouled by food. Catsup stained? No bother – just sand the offending stain away.

When fashion dictates narrow neckwear, saw it down to size. Same deal if a shorter cravat is desired.

If a different color, design or message seems in order, apply a new base coat and start over. Change the texture if you’d like; some may choose antiquing.

Don’t worry if fashion dictates wider or longer ties. Go with the flow. Simply glue on panels, maybe adding some clever phrase, like “Under Construction” or “Men Working,” unlikely as the latter may be.

“Do It Yourself Dads” may chomp at the bit to create fashion originals in their workshops. Perhaps I should say “determined dads,” because few have the coordination, creativity and gumption necessary. Most will fail, their ambition joining their spirits at half-mast.

Some will be skittish about such an unlikely pursuit. What about knots, for example? Knots can add character, and if they fall out, there’s yet another conversation starter.

The list of possibilities runs long for these ties. Maybe wooden hats could also be fashioned, and we’ve already got wooden shoes.

Unless excessive attention is desired, fathers likely shouldn’t wear all three at once.

Adorned by all three, we’d be given wide berth, maybe both lanes. Or, we might be “squished” by bigger, tougher guys who think of themselves as windshields.

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Email: Phone: 817-447-3872. Twitter: @donnewbury. Web site:


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