How I made it back on the awesome list

Last week, Forbes Magazine showed us what wealth looks like. It put on its cover a picture of a dozen of the world’s greatest philanthropists whose combined wealth totals $126 billion. It was part of the magazine’s annual Forbes 400 issue in which it lists the country’s wealthiest people.

Some familiar names top the list – Microsoft founder Bill Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffet chief among them. As usual, they came in first and second respectively. For his part, Gates remains the wealthiest American for the 19th year in a row.

And taken as a whole, Forbes says those on the list boosted their wealth this year. The magazine says their average net worth increased to a record $4.2 billion.

The Forbes list comes out at a time when wealth is a key issue and a distinguishing feature of this year’s race for the White House.

I wouldn’t mind being on that list and the object of so much back and forth between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. And, I don’t even have to threaten Gates’ position at the top. The middle of the pack would be okay with me. I wouldn’t be ashamed to be at the bottom, either.

But that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, so I guess I’ll have to settle for a different sort of list – my son’s “awesome” list.

It may not be as awe-inspiring as the Forbes rich list, but for my money, it counts at least as much.

There was a time when there was no question that I was on his awesome list. When our son was a toddler, I apparently impressed him so much with my handyman skills that he told his mother with wonder in his eyes that “Dad can fix anything.” He was in his “Bob the Builder” phase then.

He knows better now.

He’s 14-years-old and has seen me fumble around with a hammer and drill too many times for his bubble not to have burst a long time ago.

Apparently though, I’ve regained my status, at least temporarily.

My son turned to me the other day and said, “Dad, I don’t tell you this very often, but you’re pretty awesome.”

His compliment took me by surprise. Usually, I’m about as far away from awesome as I am from having a financial portfolio the size of Bill Gates’.

But I earned his goodwill by doing something I generally don’t do. I actually thought ahead for once and stopped by a convenience store before picking him up from marching band rehearsal.

It was a hot, humid day and he was parched. He and his fellow band students had just spent a couple of hours practicing the routine they perform during halftime shows and at band competitions.

He was noticeably hoarse from playing his trumpet in the heat when he folded himself in the car. But not so hoarse that he couldn’t voice some appreciation.

Turns out all I have to do to make it on my son’s “awesome” list is to make sure I can scrap together enough of my meager fortune to buy him cold drink on a hot day.

If it were that easy all the time, I’d be a billionaire by now.

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