I’ve spent more time with my 92-year-old dad (Dr. DeVerne Vig) in the past 8 months than I had in the past 8 years. It’s been a blast.
Now, with Father’s day here, I would like to share a few things he taught me along the way.
He taught us how to love. How to compete. How to give back. He can’t understand the income inequality and Wall street bankers that make so much money. He cannot understand the wealth disparity. He thinks there’s a God. But he doesn’t like religion. He doesn’t like big ego jocks. Like Tiger and LeBron. And he watches Fox News, for “the wrong opinion” and because he thinks the women are hot.
Here are 3 special things I learned from my Dad.
1. Slogans work.
In the mid-50’s Doc had been asked to fill in as the Vernon County Coroner when the previous one went in the service. He would get called out at night, to ride with the Sheriff “Ham” Ammerman (a pink-faced round fella) and his deputy “Mush” Marshall (a huge guy), to check on, and pronounce people dead, if necessary. Soon, Morris Moon became the Sheriff (he was a good Sheriff according to Doc).
When the next election came about, Ole Jackson ran a campaign to be the new Coroner. Ole used the phrase, “Dead Men Don’t Need No Doctors!”. He put it on cardboard signs around town. The populist phrase in a super poor county was able to spark interest with those who didn’t like the “elitist” doctors. Ole won in a landslide.
Actually, Doc was pretty happy the slogan worked. While the grammar was "horrible", he got a little more sleep as neither Ham nor Mush had to call him in the middle of the night.
2. Never under value your work.
Doc tells the story from his teens, of shoveling Dr. “Pink Whiskers” Trowbridge's sidewalk. It was a corner home with long sidewalks. It took him and his twin brother a long time to shovel. Pink gave them each 5 cents. They took the money. They never did it again.
3. There is too much killing.
The most important lesson I learned from Doc is that there is too much senseless violence, too much war. He simply cannot understand. Doc asks, “Why the hell do common citizens need to own a god damn machine gun. It doesn't make any sense.”
So thank you Doc, for being my father.
I have a slogan: The more gunpowder I use, the less there is for killing people. Not as catchy as “Dead Men Don’t Need No Doctors!” But it’s my mission. And it works.
I will never undervalue my art.
I will do what I can to stop the killing.
But sorry, I won’t watch Fox News.
Happy Father’s Day!
Stick Vega is the American Gunpowder Artist and author of LESS KILLING. He creates explosive pop art and blogs from The Blast Factory in Madison, WI and Bucktown, Chicago, IL. Follow Stick on Facebook and/or Twitter.