Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

I entered my teenage son’s room last night to a disturbing sight. I suppose I knew it would happen sooner or later, but it startled me nonetheless. It’s just not the type of thing a parent wants to catch their precious child doing, no matter how normal we know it is. He didn’t hear me open the door because he was busy chucking darts at a custom made dartboard featuring an 8X10 of yours truly. My nose was right where the bull’s eye should be and he had just landed a dart square in the middle of my honker. It seems he was taking out his frustration at his recent grounding on my promotional photo.

I couldn’t blame him really—I’m sure my own father didn’t appreciate the punching bag I made using his old book jacket photo when I was angry about losing my driving privileges over an unfortunate run in I had with our garage door when I was sixteen. It’s a right of passage I suppose and I, like my father before me, chose to focus on the positive. My dad wasn’t thrilled about being part of a punching bag but he did appreciate my attention to detail and was happy that I had at least branded the bag. In much the same way, I decided to look the other way when I discovered an image of myself being used for target practice. Hey, at least he used a flattering picture and took the time to make it personal.

When his grounding was over, I gave my boy a new Magnetic Dart Board Game imprinted with a photo of us on a recent fishing trip and the words, “Chip Off the Old Block.” He sheepishly thanked me and we patched up our differences over a nice safe round of darts. He beat me five games out of ten. Yep, he’s a real chip off the old block.

It reminds me of what Mark Twain said in Old Times on the Mississippi, “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”