On Writing, Tongue Sandwiches: What I Learned From My Dad

<b class="credit">Charlie Gelber</b>My dad had impressive sideburns for a 15-year-old.
Charlie GelberMy dad had impressive sideburns for a 15-year-old.

Father's Day is right around the corner, and we're celebrating with the occasional post on the career and life lessons we've learned from the dads in our lives. Today, AOL Jobs staffer Mack Gelber contributes a story about a story (as told by his dad), which turned out to be an early career inspiration.

My dad, Charles Gelber, has a story--which has nothing to do with jobs, networking, or employment in any capacity--but it's a funny story and I thought I'd share it here.

When my dad was a kid, he was sent to school one morning with a note asking the teacher to excuse him for Rosh Hashanah, which was a few days away. This was in Scotia, New York, a village ("small town" would be stretching it) near Schenectady where the closest thing to a local landmark was the General Electric factory, which employed so much of the area it was inevitably referred to as "The GE." Suffice to say, there were not a lot of Jewish families in Scotia, New York in the late 1950s (although due to the high volume of redheaded Gelber kids, most people probably thought we were Irish Catholic).

Anyway, later that day the teacher called my grandmother, asking about the note Charlie had just handed her. A worried note crept into her voice: "What is this 'rash hashanah,'" she asked, perhaps holding a Kleenex to her mouth. "Is it contagious?"