Happy Birthday to my dad who passed away over a year ago. My mom passed away last October. One memory that really sums up my dad: we were about to get off a ferry somewhere in Norway (I was a kid) and everyone was pressing towards an exit that wasn’t open but with the zombie crowd thinking, they had all decided to blindly follow those in front of them. Just like sheep to the slaughter. My dad wasn’t having any of that. He turned around and started to move against the tide, in the “wrong” direction. As usual, I was embarrassed that my dad was causing a scene, triggering dirty looks and comments (unintelligible) from those around us. Why couldn’t he just blend in and be patient for once? But no, he forged onward advising in a loud voice that everyone should follow him, and sure enough, we made it out of that hot press of bodies to fresh air, space and an open exit, which we walked through to freedom. The entire mass of people had shifted direction to follow us, and in keeping with the fickle nature of the crowd, they were now smiling instead of sneering. It seems like a small thing, easily forgotten but such experiences had a profound influence in my life. I learned in this manner to think for myself and not be intimidated by groups of people putting pressure on me. The crowds wouldn’t always necessarily end of smiling and sometimes I might make mistakes about the best path, but it was important to make my own choices, learn from them and use my own brain to reach conclusions. That trait in my dad probably caused within me the most irritation and embarrassment, as well as the most pride and budding courage. I loved him for setting an example that I could hold onto later in life when times were tough and I wanted to give up on my beliefs or the difficult paths I had chosen. That childhood training saw me through.  

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