Cage Match: Your Dad vs That Famous Person

In a battle of wits and brawn between Lombardi, Edison, Twain, and your old man, who will come out the victor?

I was reading an essay online yesterday and within the story was a quote from Thomas Edison. Maybe you’ve heard of the guy. I don’t recall what the exact quote was and it’s of no consequence.

What struck me is how we turn to a celebrity of sorts — be it a scientist, scholar, author, artist, athlete, war hero, etc. — for motivation, inspiration, or to reinforce our beliefs when most everything in life we’ve learned that’s worth remembering comes from under our roof.

I’d be hypocritical to say I’ve never done this. I have — I do it all the time — and I will again. Ralph Waldo Emerson gets his fair share of stage time on this blog. RIP Ralph.

But what if you put your dad in a cage match with some of the legends in the quote game. Who would come out the victor in a battle of wits and brawn? For the purposes of this essay, I’m using my dad. Substitute your own and see how it goes.

Personally, my dad would have waxed the floor with all of these guys — only Edison reaches the 5’10” mark and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. He would have put in for exemption even if he hadn’t been born in 1847.

Vince Lombardi vs My Dad

Vince Lombardi is considered to be one of the, if not the, greatest coach(es) in the history of football. American football for all you Europeans out there reading — I see you in my Traffic stats. Shout out Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Germany. France: have you seen my ancestors? Belgium, love the chocolate.

Lombardi was the head coach for the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s winning five NFL championships. He wore an awesome hat, too, and sort of looked like the dad from Wonder Years.

How does my dad, who never won an NFL championship, stack up against the legendary Lombardi in the quote database?

Vince Lombardi said,

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

My dad said,

“There’s no such thing as perfect. But there’s a such thing as trying hard and giving a damn.”

Vince Lombardi said,

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.”

My dad said,

“No, you’re not quitting. Get your ass back out there. I paid $150 for this.”

Pretty close, but I think we know who the winner is. What about:

Thomas Edison vs My Dad

Thomas Edison invented a bunch of things — like that whole lightbulb racket. Edison apparently stole the ideas for a lot of his inventions, too. My dad never stole anyone’s ideas for an invention. When we needed more airflow in an upstairs bedroom, my dad didn’t call HVAC or invent some fancy piece of hardware or ventilation system to help out. He took a chainsaw (I’m not kidding) to one of the ducts. BOOM! Airflow! Then he shoved a shoebox back in the hole when it was winter because it’d get too damn hot.

Thomas Edison said,

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

My dad said,

“They don’t care about your GPA when you get a job. Just get your diploma and put down you graduated from UVA and they’ll think you’re smart. My co-workers think my son’s a genius because you’re going here. Are you smart? Doesn’t matter. By the way, I need your help loading some firewood when you come home to visit.”

Looks like Reginald Wayne Pillow = 2, Fancy Pants Smart Guys = zippo.

Mark Twain vs My Dad

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, best known by his pen name Mark Twain (less for his other pen name Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass), has been hailed the father of American literature. The humorist penned the classics The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (not the Rush song) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn et al. Only the Buddha rivals Twain in quotes attributed to him in InternetLand.

My dad has no quotes attributed to him — that is, until this essay goes live on the Internet.

Mark Twain said,

“Clothes do not merely make the man, the clothes are the man.”

My dad said,

“I should probably get new underwear. There’s a hole in these. You can see my ass. Ah, nevermind. They’re still good.”

Mark Twain said,

“The lack of money is the root of all evil.”

My dad said,

“Can you believe drinks aren’t included with the all you can eat buffet? That’s where they get you. One Coke, then you and your sister are drinking water. The water is free, right?”

Wow. I thought this was going to be close when I first started writing. But can we get a paramedic? I’ve got three old white guys down.

My challenge to you

The next time you see a quote from a famous person on social media, a coffee mug, bumper sticker, meme, what the hell ever, ask yourself, “What would my dad say?”

There’s probably more wisdom you can work with in that, if we’re being honest.

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