I am not like most fathers.
See, most kids grow up watching their dad get into his work clobber and head off to work each day.
I, on the other hand, spend months at a time in my tracky dacks, heading upstairs now and then to tap away at a computer.
The very same computer my kids watch The Wiggles on. For all they know, I could be spending my day with Dorothy the Dinosaur.
Yet every father longs to be a hero to their kids.
So last year I decided to take my four-year-old son to a bookstore to show him my bestselling book.
The only problem?
I couldn’t find a single copy. It wasn’t on the shelves. I looked everywhere. Desperately. Not even one.
“Your book. It isn’t here, is it Daddy?” he said, squeezing my hand.
As luck would have it, a shop assistant walked past, recognised me and said “follow me”.
She took us out to the storeroom and showed us a sign pinned to the staff noticeboard that read: “Barefoot Investor … Because of theft, NO copies will be kept on the floor.”
Daddy’s book was popular … with thieves.
Recently, for the launch of my new book, my publisher asked if I could go to the printers’ and sign some copies.
I didn’t have to be asked twice. See, my son (now five) is obsessed with machinery. This was my chance to show him plenty of big machines … and plenty of copies of my new book.
The day turned out to be one of the highlights of my career:
Not just because of the sight of a hundred thousand copies of my book rolling off the presses.
But because I’m incredibly proud my book was printed in Australia — and, as luck would have it, only an hour from our family farm, at McPherson’s Printing in Maryborough, country Victoria.
The workers really turned it on for my son and me (and my dad, who tagged along too — they got three generations of Papes who are fond of a good conveyer belt!).
When we returned home from our adventure, I seriously felt like Gary Ablett (Junior or Senior, take your pick).
“It was the best day of my life, better than Christmas!”, my son announced to his mother.
“So, I guess you want to be an author like your dad when you grow up, hey?”
“No, I want to be a printer!”
Tread Your Own Path!