I have a vintage poster of "The Fonz" hanging in my garage (read about). It's pretty sweet. And one of the biggest compliments of my life came when Girl #1's friend walked by it and said, "That's a cool poster of your dad." How awesome is that? Being mistaken for the coolest guy in pop culture history, [1. With the possible exception of Sean Connery as James Bond, James Dean and Daniel Craig -- oh, and Tim Riggins] I'll take it. Never mind that she had absolutely no concept of "The Fonz," but maybe that's the problem.
It got me thinking; they don't make sitcom characters like that anymore. The Fonz stood for things. He had life rules. He had a code. He had integrity. As much as I loved Doug Heffernan, he only stood for pork rinds, spicy wings and foosball.
The Fonz taught us life lessons. He also taught us more about being a man than he's given credit for. And before you roll your eyes, take a look at the lessons he passed on as you watched Happy Days with your thumb up your nose in 1981.
1. Never rat on your friends. If he were in the mafia, Arthur would have done ten years in the state pen before ratting on Potsie for running numbers.
2. Forgive your friends. Remember when Ralph Malph ran over Fonzie's bike? That was a big deal, and he finally forgave him. Stuff is easy to replace,aren't (read about when I interviewed Ralph Malph here).
3. Don't mess with another guys girl. Facebook has beaten this to hell and the Fonz would be pissed. There are scumbags who constantly trolling and checking out your wife/girlfriend on Facebook. It's an issue that few talk about. The Fonz could have any girl, but he knew where to draw the line. Sure, Laurie-Beth would have been there at the snap of his finger, but she was Richie's girl so he looked at her like a sister. He had a code. We used to have a code. We need to find it again.
4. Always look your best. Just because The Fonz never actually used his comb, doesn't mean you shouldn't. It was there. Ready for duty. You need one. He didn't.
5. Education is important. Even after dropping out of Jefferson High School, The Fonz went back to night school to get his GED. From there he went on to be the most bitchin' auto mechanic teacher in Milwaukee. With an ill-advised beard and a questionable sport coat. You don't need to get a graduate degree, but you should never stop learning. Ever.
6. Have confidence. Did you ever see The Fonz fight? Me neither [2. And the Tom Hanks episode didn't really count]. He acted confident in any situation he was in. He was a born leader. Confidence is one of the keys to life and it's tough to master. Sometimes we have it, sometimes we don't. When we don't, we need to fake it [3. Learn this].
7. Do what makes you happy. The guys didn't think it was cool when Fonzie entered a dance competition with Mrs. C. He didn't care. He thought it was cool and didn't care what anyone else thought. Don't worry about haters.
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