Davenport, IA – Dallas Northcutt and his son, Lucas, decided that an uncharacteristically cold and snowy December day provided a perfect opportunity to get out onto the local hills and go sledding after a great Christmas holiday. Lucas got his snow pants on, grabbed his sled, and bundled up to get ready for an amazing afternoon. Dad didn’t grab his sled this time like he normally does. He held a small cardboard box under his right arm. But that was it. Lucas gave his dad a curious look as they headed out the front door. “Don’t worry about it, son. Just don’t worry about it,” said Dallas with a sly grin on his face.
The pair reached the top of their favorite hill and Dallas calmly pulled out his trusty box cutter, opened the cardboard box, and pulled out a fancy round brimmed hat. “Watch this son,” he said. Dallas turned over his new hat and began to sit on it like he was going to ride it down the hill. “Wait!” yelled Lucas. “I don’t think that is a sledding hat. Are there instructions in the box?”
A frustrated Dallas thought it was only right to amuse his son and look for the instructions. They fished out a piece of paper that clearly displayed that the hat should be worn on the head and not on the feet or the buttocks. In an attempt to save some dignity, Dallas shouted angrily at the hat and shook it in the air as if he were cursing the gods. “This isn’t the kind of hat I ordered! Everyone knows you cannot go sledding on a normal hat. These bastards sent me a normal hat and not the special hat that I wanted. Oh, someone’s going to pay for this. Someone has got to pay.”
After Dallas was done with his shouting match into the air, father and son shared a look of understanding with one another. They both knew what had happened here and silently agreed that it would never be spoken about again. Lucas looked down the hill and pointed to the treacherous icy patches. “You could have really been hurt if you would have tried to sled down the hill on that hat, Dad. I love you and don’t want to see you get hurt. Maybe we should just go home.”
The two walked several blocks back to the house, which gave Dallas the opportunity to teach young Lucas a life lesson. “Lucas, there are a few lessons I want you to take away from this. First, you were right to look for the instructions. They were in the box and quite possibly saved my life. However, if there were not instructions or warning labels in that box then you should always go ahead and carry out your senseless and dangerous activity. I could have sustained injuries that would make for a nice lawsuit and payout. Significant physical pain that results in free money is always worth the risk. Secondly, people are assholes and generally incompetent. More times than not they will not give you what you ask for. Don’t trust anyone. Ever.”
Father and son clasped their hands together as they walked, knowing they were both much better men after this latest adventure together.