I still vividly remember the arcane plastic box sitting in a corner of the study, back when the grind of the floppy disk (when it was still actually floppy!) in its drive reminded me of my mother's electric can opener. There had been one particular week in which my dad remained sitting in front of it all night after coming home (and to think, that was an unusual event back then!) and Mom told me not to bother him because he was 'adding work'. (I was too young to understand at that time that the Chinese (加班) - to work overtime - was not the same as the seeming backwards-homonym (搬家), 'moving house'. I had thought it odd that his business kept moving their office all the time.)
To show my support, one night I ran into the study to give him my biggest hug and a smooch on the cheek. As I left, I reflexively hit the wall switch because my parents told me to always turn off the lights when I leave a room. The space behind me was plunged into darkness for just a split second as I flipped the switch again with a "whoops" and turned around for my father's reaction.
He sat frozen, staring at the blank screen, hands still poised over the keyboard for a very long moment before he stated a mild-sounding, "Oh $#it," and then leaned over to turn the machine back on. As I crept out of the room, a mad flurry of typing started up behind me.
I learned later that the computer had been plugged into the same circuit as that wall switch. He had lost a good hour's worth of work when the power had been cut.
My only punishment from the incident had come from my own guilt.
In all my life, I can remember my dad raising his voice in true anger fewer times than I have fingers on one hand, and not a one of those times had it ever been directed at me. He has never raised his own hand in either anger or violence. He has always emphasized logic and reason over emotion, and while this had been excruciatingly frustrating at times as I was growing up, in hindsight I could only appreciate that I could always count on a level-headed discussion or debate with him no matter how difficult the topic was.
Thank you, Dad, for setting a lifelong example in this chaotic world, that there is never a situation that HAS to include anger or violence, and that I always have a choice of controlling my reactions or letting them control me.
Happy Father's Day! ❤️