Like father, like son

Uncle Harold and me (Honolulu, 1949)

From his father, Uncle Harold learned how to be clever in dealing with unpleasant situations and achieving a positive outcome.

For example, when he failed a midterm exam in a calculus class at the University of Oregon, he decided to withdraw from the class.  Since the time for withdrawal had expired, he told his classmate he was going to the dean’s office to plead his case. 

“You can’t drop the class,” said his classmate.  “The dean won’t let you.”

“You watch, I can do it!” answered Harold.

When he finally saw the dean, Harold pretended to have a language problem.  “I no can understand teacher.  I like withdraw.”

He went on to say how poorly he was doing and how much he would appreciate being allowed to withdraw so the “F” wouldn’t lower his grade point average.  The dean took pity on Harold and gave his permission.

“Ah,” said the dean.  “I see you are from Hawaii and don’t speak English well.  All right, you may withdraw from the class.”

Without any trouble, Harold went on to graduate from the University of Oregon. 

Then, while enrolled in graduate classes in secondary education at the University of Hawaii, he would sometimes park in a stall reserved for a professor.  He received four tickets.  The last ticket summoned him to the traffic office on campus and indicated that his grades would not be forwarded to the Department of Education upon graduation unless he paid the fine.

Harold didn’t want to part with his money.  When his friend doubted he would be able to have the tickets nullified, Harold again said, “You watch, I can do it!”

He decided to elicit sympathy for his situation by buying some Ace bandages with which to bind his foot.  He also borrowed a pair of crutches.  Hobbling into the traffic office, he showed the administrator his bound foot. 

“I’m very sorry I parked in that stall,” Harold said.  “But, I broke my foot and have a hard time walking long distances.”

Incredibly, the administrator fell for it. 

“All right,” he said.  “I’ll let you go this time, but hereafter, don’t park there.”

Harold thanked him and hobbled out of the office.

Years later, as a seventy-year-old, he was again up to his old tricks. 

When the management at Aloha Stadium prohibited food, beverages, bags, and coolers from being brought into the stadium by footfall fans, Harold found a way out of this dilemma.  “You watch, I can do it!” he told his wife. 

Using his ingenuity, he stuffed a can of Coke into one of the sleeves of his jacket and a roll of sushi into the other, tied the end of each sleeve, and carried the jacket on his arm.  For a while, he got away with it – until the day he inadvertently banged the sleeve holding the Coke against a metal pole.  The attendant immediately confiscated the Coke.  That was the bad news.  The good news was the attendant neglected to check the other sleeve, which contained the sushi.

I have absolutely no doubt that Harold will always find a way out of a jam.  After all, he is Grandpa’s son!

(Excerpt from my second memoir, “Love, Life, and Publishing.”)

6 Responses to “Like father, like son”

  1. quilly Says:

    Maybe it is something to do with the name? My brother Harold has the same amazing abilities.

  2. Linda Hillin Says:

    Somebody watch that guy, he’s up to something! I met a few of his kind when I worked at a university.

    Another one that works is to call in that you’ve severely sprained your arm and shoulder and can’t take the exam on Friday. Beg for mercy to take the exam on Monday when you’ll surely be better. Show up in a sling on Monday, take the exam, and bingo you had two more days to study than the rest of the class, and week-end days at that.

  3. musings Says:

    What a character!!!

  4. cloudia Says:

    You haven’t changed a BIT!!!

    Aloha, Friend!

    Comfort Spiral

  5. Hawaiianbod Says:

    Aunty Gigi – your Uncle Harold sounds like my kind of guy, such a character!

    thanks for sharing.

  6. Susan at Stony River Says:

    I love Harold! LOL

    As for the professor who said “I see you’re from Hawaii and don’t speak English well” — OMG.

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