I think it would be accurate for me to say that 73 percent of everything I know I learned from the movie Karate Kid. Not that new, fake Karate. But from the REAL thing, from the down-and-dirty Karate Kid movie of the 80s.
The rest of what I know I’ve learned through commercials (“Don’t squeeze the Charmin,” “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!! and if I drink Bud Light, I’ll soon have a covey of beautiful, scantily-clad women buzzing around me. Well, if I drink the beer, at least they’ll look beautiful.” I also learned plenty from reading the back of cereal packages, watching Breaking Bad and Brady Bunch, and, of course, from adult websites. (But I thought I was supposed to act that way on the first date.)
But most of my working knowledge comes from Karate Kid. Wax on; wax off! Sand the floor! Paint the fence! (I’ll never forget the first time I saw that movie in high school. On the way out of the theater, the friend I was with said he planned to start working on his house the next day . . . ) I found the handy man tips much more useful from a theoretical sense than any practical sense.
You see, I’m mechanically declined. I took a shop class in high school, and spent what seemed like most of my high school years (along with college, AND two years of post-graduate work) trying to saw a piece of wood at a 45 degree angle. Finally, the shop teacher came up to me and said (in his slow, southern drawl), “Maaaaaark. Ah think it’s time for us to mooove on to the next project.” (I have no recollection of what the next project was. We had any number of projects to complete that semester. I think I finished maybe like four and one-fourth of mine. Out of the goodness of his heart, and in hopes of never having me in class again, he gave me a B for the semester.)
But the biggest lesson I learned from the Karate Kid was balance. As Mr. Miyagi would say, “All life, must have balance.”
So that’s what I try to do – have balance in my life. And I try to apply it in all areas of my life. For instance, after teaching for an hour at work, it’s only right that I should sleep for an hour, right?
But more than anything, I try to have balance in my home life. For example, I try to balance exercise with a busy work and family life. I try to start each day with a run.
My ideal Saturday would be waking up early, and enjoying the sunrise while I’m on the road running. Or going to a race, and trying not to finish last. (I actually won a race recently. I won the Overall Male division. Of course, what it doesn’t say on the trophy was that I was one of only three guys in the race. Or that I was beaten by a woman. Or two . . . But hey, I WON THE RACE! I’ll probably never have the opportunity to say that again.)
However, my ideal Saturday morning is in complete contrast with my son’s. His perfect weekend would be to wake up and have a doughnut. A scrumptious, warm, fluffy, chocolate-filled concoction. Not that I would want one, of course.
Now, if I was a parent with no skillz, I might flub this all up. But as usual, when I’m not sure what to do (and I can’t think of a tv ad that will offer a solution) I go to my fall back. What would Mr. Miyagi do? (I need a wrist band – WWMMD?)
So that’s what I’ve fallen into embracing: balance. I still go for my Saturday morning run, but then I stop by the doughnut shop.
It’s not that I like doughnuts or anything. I especially don’t like the jelly-filled ones with all that tasty raspberry or strawberry or blueberry or apple filling in them. But my son loves our Doughnut Days together. And I wouldn’t want to disappoint him.
Or Mr, Miyagi.
Besides, who knows when one of the thugs from the Cobra Kai dogo might be lurking around, making any potential meal I have my last. And if it’s going to be my last meal, I wouldn’t mind it being with my son.
Even if it means I have to make a personal sacrifice and eat a doughnut. Or two.