In my last post, "Airstream Funding: Creative Idea #1", I appropriately gave credit to one Abraham Simpson for the tontine idea. Well it turns out that Abe Simpson is a "Pops" himself--to grandkids: Bart, Lisa, and Maggie.
Abe participated in a tontine with Homer's boss, Mr. Burns. You can check it out: The Simpsons, Season 7, Episode 22. "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in 'The Curse of the Flying Hellfish'"
I came across the Abe/tontine story while doing some research on famous (or maybe infamous) grandfathers. Let's hope this is not an example of art imitating life, or worse yet: life imitating TV, but Abe does offer some fascinating insights into the world of grandfatherhood.
Here are a few lessons I've learned about being Pops. I've used some of Abe Simpsons lines from the show to help make my points:
Lesson #1: Grandfathers get to add colorful details to make themselves seem more heroic, prolific and vital.
"Dang right. Fact is, I invented kissing. It was during World War I and they were looking for a new way to spread germs..." --Abe Simpson.
Lesson #2: Grandfathers get to be an expert on stuff like healthcare because they lived back when we knew how to do our own healthcare.
Grampa (to Bart): "Good news boy, I found a pharmacy that carries leeches. Well, it wasn't exactly a pharmacy, more of a bait shop."
Bart: "Look Grampa, I'm fine. I really don't need anymore home remedies."
Grampa: "Oral thermometer my eye! Think warm thoughts boy cause this is mighty cold."
Lesson #3: Grandfathers get to tell fascinating, imaginative "stories". By the way, my grand girls love to hear me tell wonderfully creative stories.
"We can't bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell them stories that don't go anywhere. Like the time I took the fairy to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe so I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them. Give me five bees for a quarter you'd say. Now where were we, oh yeah. The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn't have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones..." --Abe Simpson
Lesson #4: Grandfathers get to embellish for effect.
Grampa: "I got separated from my platoon after we parachuted into Duseldorf so I rode out the rest of the war posing as a German cabaret singer.[singing] Won't you come home Frantbrelda, won't you come home."
Bart: "Is that story true Grampa?"
Grampa: "Most of it. I did wear a dress for a period in the 40s. Oh, they had designers then."
Lesson #5: Grandfathers get to trust their heroes whether they are heroic or not; real or not.
Grampa: "I say we call Matlock. He'll find the culprit. It's probably that evil Gavin MacLeod or George 'Goober' Lindsay."
Bart: "Grampa, Matlock's not real."
Grampa: "Neither are my teeth, but I can still eat corn on the cob if someone cuts it off and mushes it into a fine paste. Now that's good eatin!"