The one time.
For as long as I’ve been married, my wife and later our 20-year-old daughter, Emma, have never hesitated to tell me that I look like a dork. They’ve never hesitated to tell me when I’m wearing something awful. And they’ve never, ever hesitated to tell me to comb my hair.
Emma: Dad, you can’t wear that striped shirt with those striped shorts.
Wife: And comb your hair; you look like a dork.
Emma: Yeah. Your hair is awful.
Me: Sniff. Sniff.
But the thing is, most of the time when my wife and Emma tell me that I need to comb my hair because I look like a dork, they’re right.
So you would think that when posing for what I considered a fairly important, most likely once-in-a-lifetime photograph, the sort of photograph that will take a very prominent place in our family history, that my wife and Emma would find it in their hearts to tell me to comb my hair so I didn’t look like a dork.
You would think.
Thursday night, the three of us drove to St. Louis to hear former Vice President Joe Biden speak. Our tickets to the event included a chance to meet and have our picture taken with Mr. Biden.
By the way, I called the vice president “Mr. Biden” out of respect, but after only speaking with him for a short time, I’m pretty sure he would prefer that I call him “Joe,” so I will.
Joe’s real is what he is.
I need to stress here that I don’t mean this to be a political column. I realize that many of you may not agree politically with Joe, and I respect that. I would also hope that you would respect the fact that my wife, Emma and I do agree politically with Joe.
But politics aside, it is, in my mind at least, impossible not to agree with Joe the person.
I dare someone to spend five minutes chatting with Joe and wind up not liking him.
My wife had been planning our picture with Joe for several weeks. Most of that planning revolved around what she and Emma were going to wear and what I was not going to wear.
Me: I’m thinking about a Haw —
Emma: Literally. No.
After my wife and Emma finally came to agreement on what they were going to wear, they turned their attention to me.
“You need to buy a new suit,” they said.
“But I don’t need a new suit,” I said.
“Yes,” they said. “Yes, you do.”
So I bought a new suit, and when I showed it to my wife and Emma, they were very pleased.
“I liked that you picked out a purple shirt to go with the suit,” my wife said.
“I thought it was blue,” I said.
“What a dork,” Emma said.
Thursday night, when we arrived at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis, even I was feeling confident. My wife and Emma looked great in their classy black dresses and I — well, I was wearing a new suit and a purple shirt.
When it was our turn to meet Joe, we shook hands with him and then chatted for a few minutes.
That’s right. We chatted for a few minutes with former Vice President Joe Biden.
When I was a kid living in Junction City, Kansas, I had a paper route. When I was delivering papers in Junction City, I don’t remember ever thinking that someday I would meet a vice president of the United States.
But I did, and I have the picture to prove it. In the picture, my wife looks great. Emma looks great. Joe looks great.
I look like a dork with messy hair.
In a purple shirt.