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Op-ed: Father’s Day and parent-a-morphosis: Are we really clones of our parents?

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The Progressive Insurance commercials are hilarious but also profound. You know, the ones with group therapist Dr. Rick as he tries to help homeowners from turning into their parents.

“Guess what,” he informs them, “the waiter doesn’t need to know your name.”

The commercial’s talented actors and familiar message got me wondering about Father’s Day: Are we really just clones of our parents?

Charlie McGrath had a yeoman’s task as my father. He employed a system of mild discipline and Christian principles to usher six boys and two girls through childhood, higher education, and out the door to our separate lives without any detours to juvie or rehab. While I hope I inherited his good qualities, I swore I’d avoid what I considered his mistakes. So as funny as those characters are, I, of course, have never needed Dr. Rick’s help — unlike the homeowner in one commercial who is practically underneath the sink with the plumber when Dr. Rick admonishes him: “OK, Tom, we talked about this. You hired him. You’re not his assistant.”

Yes, my father used to do that too if he hired a painter. Or when he summoned me as his handyman to fix something........

© Chicago Tribune

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