Earlier this summer, when Anthony Weiner's, tragically-, hilariously- and eponymously-named member was waving around in the media, I was watching a news show featuring his rise and fall, so to speak, with my son.
As we considered a section that discussed the horrifying fallout on Weiner's unsuspecting wife, I found myself muttering to my teenager, "You know, if everyone would just keep their pants on, we wouldn't have half the problems we do these days."
And then I froze, because it was at that moment I realized: That's what my father always says. Which means I'm just a 70-year smoking habit and a hip replacement away from turning into my father.
Bad enough that I have his feet; it hardly helps my newly-found and much-discussed trepidation about aging to know that I may look 50 but now I sound like an octogenarian moralist in need of some raisin bran.
Dad's Li'l Gems o' Wisdom, courtesy of raising five kids of his own, have obviously managed to work their way into the cornerstones of my own parenting style.
And why not? When four little faces are creating and acting on their own agendas, it helps to have some ready-made positions to fall back on.
And fall back I certainly have.
Take the challenge! Start these phrases with any one of my kids and they'll be able to complete the words of wisdom:
"If you need an answer right now ... (the answer is no.)" This one's awesome when a 12-year-old is beseeching you to let her host a spa slumber party for 32 of her closest Best Friends Forever and you don't want to make a decision when you're full of caffeine and everything looks possible, and you're pretty sure you'll be regretting over-coffeed enthusiasm when you're giving your fifth pedicure at 12:30 in the morning in a bathroom packed with Backstreet Boys enthusiasts.
"You don't have to like it ... (you just have to eat it.)" Handy when multiple, conflicting demands for menu selections threaten to turn you into a short-order cook.
Also handy to remember when you're sitting at your desk and have bitten off more than you can chew, work-wise.
"Obey your teacher! If she says ‘Jump!' ... (you ask ‘How high?')" OK, this one sort of backfired when I realized that a 5-year-old interpreted that to mean she might have to jump out of a plane.
"What do I look like? (The CEO of the electric company?)" Pretty much required reading when you wake up at 2 a.m. and discover your house has so many lights on (including, of course, the refrigerator light because the door was left open) it is now the only man-made structure that can be seen from space.
There are worse people to turn into, of course. Dad just turned 84, 70 years of smoking be hanged, and despite losing most of his eyesight he is writing his memoirs and cooks most of the meals for himself and Mom.
He concluded an illustrious career in aerospace engineering with kudos from the Pentagon and the CIA (if I told you why I'd have to kill you) and to this day serves as my role model for moral rectitude, self-discipline, and making sure all the lights get turned off.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.