Wednesday 18 October 2017

Irish dad writes hilarious letter to his precious daughter on her sixteenth birthday

David Diebold's daughter Jessica turns 16 today
David Diebold's daughter Jessica turns 16 today
David pictured with his daughter Jessica in 2015

David Diebold

Dad David Diebold offers his daughter Jessica a life lesson on her sweet sixteenth.

It's my little girl’s birthday today. Well, she’s not as little as this day 16 years ago, when she was handed to me at the Rotunda and her tiny legs folded up like a tiny fat frog’s when I held her.

I can’t hold her any more. That’s one of the terrible things about little girls growing up. She’s getting as tall as I am and, unfortunately, teenage daughters don’t fold up as easily as they used to.

What I can do, is offer a little life advice that might be useful in the coming years — years that will probably seem difficult, will definitely be formative, and should certainly be fun.

David pictured with his daughter Jessica in 2015
David pictured with his daughter Jessica in 2015

So, while you might not read this right now, my darlin’, maybe you’ll stumble across this yellow, dog-eared clipping tucked away with your birthday cards on the shelf near the windowsill one day soon.

There’s a scene in that horror movie we both like, Room 1408 with John Cusack, where he sees the ghost of his father rasping: “As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so shall you be.”

I’m afraid it’s true. While I don’t expect you to find yourself some day wandering around in boxer shorts and a frayed Wilco T-shirt, with two-day stubble, you will, I’m afraid, grow older. Don’t wish away the years, they’ll disappear all by themselves. In the meantime, here is my list of top life tips for you.

• Don’t do drugs. I’m not telling anyone else in the world not to do them, they can knock themselves out. I’m just telling you. Instead, eat spicy food, hot as you can take it, roll around the floor with the dogs until you’re completely coated with hair and slobber, and listen to good music, very loud. These things trigger chemical avalanches in the brain that make you feel way better than drugs will, but won’t land you in jail, or in debt to a moron, or clutching your face for four days because you feel so bloody awful. Guaranteed.

• Never hate yourself. Ever. Don’t even pretend to. Too many people look in the mirror every day and sigh, and not in a good way. Believe me, there are people out there who’ll decide not to like you for no good reason, no matter what you do. Why agree with them? They’re idiots. To hell with them.

• When you look in the mirror, try winking instead. I do it all the time, and yes, I get some strange looks in public restrooms, and your mum thinks I’m a little crazy, but we can all live with that, right?

David's daughter Jessica is 16 today
David's daughter Jessica is 16 today

• A job is a job. You’ll hear that. It’s garbage. Do something you like, and if you can’t land something you like, at least not right away, do something you know you can do better than anyone else and nail it. When you do something well, you feel good, whether mopping a floor or perfecting the patent on a prototype hovering beer holder that plays The Stones (hint). See, when you feel good, everything’s just a little bit better — and remember that beautiful girl you winked at in the mirror back there? She’ll always deserve a little bit of ‘better’.

• Never do something you’re better at than anyone else for free. A favour’s a favour, but do a favour twice, it’s expected, and the first time you say no, you’re ‘a jerk’. Don’t be a jerk. Save the favours for picking up a coffee for someone (once), not for illustrating their damn children’s novel.

• It’s a lifestyle, not a location — point being, if you’re not happy, it usually has little to do with your GPS coordinates. Sure, it’s harder to be miserable on a beach in Lahaina, but if you’re broke, you’re broke. If you’re lonely, you’re lonely. Packing a bag won’t change that, only you will. Foster the lifestyle you aspire to, wherever you find yourself. And yes, that’s why I wear Hawaiian shirts. All the time. In Ireland. It’s always Maui in my head, baby.

• Talk to strangers. But be picky. Never trust anyone who orders an egg-white omelette. Same goes for a decaf, soy-milk, caramel lattes, or whose opening gambit is ‘What’s your star sign?’ You deserve nothing less than steak-eating, fully-caffeinated lunatics wearing really good earphones. Believe me.

David pictured with his young family in 2000
David pictured with his young family in 2000

• If you’re ever at a party and someone stands up and announces ‘Whisht! One voice’, before closing their eyes and putting a finger to one ear, I hope you’ll already have backed right up to the front door. Remember what I said about life being short? Yeah, well, take it from someone who’s heard all 22 verses.

• Finally, you don’t need to jump out of an aeroplane to feel alive, sweetheart. Just dump Snapchat, grab the dogs, get outside and squint at the sun. When you laugh, do it so hard that it makes you fart — and when you cry, make the world want to cry with you, even if it’s just at a sad movie.

Oh, and pick up the laundry and sweet wrappers off the floor of your room. That’s not an analogy for anything in life, it just needs doing. Today please. Hey, you’re good at it. Wink.

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