Father Meets Son

In the 1930s, humorist J.P. McEvoy wrote the Post column “Father Meets Son” presented to readers in the form of letters filled with advice for navigating life’s rocky road. Employing a mix of wry humor and tough love, Dad doled out life lessons on everything from work to women. Readers loved it.

On Commencement

Originally published on June 27, 1936
McEvoy starts his series at the beginning of his son’s adult life: college graduation. As his son enters the real world, Dad doesn’t so much let him fly free as kick him out of the nest.

A Disappointing Job

Originally published on September 5, 1936
Dad hopes to inspire his son to view his lowly new job as a life lesson in human nature that will teach him the most effective ways to undermine his superiors.

A Disappointing Job, Part Two

Originally published on October 3, 1936
Dad continues to encourage his son to find the best in his humble job by expounding on the wisdom of Grover Cleveland, how to weed out good advice from malarkey, and why boring people are more interesting than his so-called friends.

Meeting Betty

Originally published on October 31, 1936
When his son raves about a girl, Dad attempts to explain true love to him, saying it’s like seeing 10-foot-tall daisies, or, even better, like stepping in front of a truck.

Times Changing

Originally published on November 14, 1936
Dad actually agrees with his son for once: Society has changed. However, some things never vary, like how Dad is powerless against his wife and daughter.

Being Fired

Originally published on December 26, 1936
Dad remains unmoved by his son’s firing. It’s the war not the battle that counts most, he says, especially if you make a habit of shooting yourself in the foot.

Second Job

Originally published on January 30, 1937
Watching his son grow in his new job as a chauffeur, Dad gives his sage advice on how to study and deal with man’s most important problem: woman.

Invest in Yourself

Originally published on February 13, 1937
Now that his son has some money coming in, Dad offers his financial advice: Ignore the recommendations of bankers, the government, and businessmen to save your money. Spend it instead. Spending wisely is more difficult than saving wisely, but its rewards are much greater.

The Other Fellow

Originally published on March 20, 1937
The Other Fellow is terrible and crazy, Dad writes after his son is in a car accident. But so are you.

The Boss’s Daughter

Originally published on May 1, 1937
When his son is in the romantic deep end after becoming the focus of the boss’s daughter, Dad offers little help on how to hold off the girl and hold on to the job.

Being in Love

Originally published on June 5, 1937
The son’s relationship with the boss’s daughter is getting serious! Dad encourages his son to talk to the boss about turning him into a father-in-law, but to find the emergency exit first.

Separated from Love

Originally published on June 26, 1937
While his son suffers under the terrible taskmaster that is his new supervisor, Dad reveals the two words that can win almost any argument with one’s boss.

Professionalism and Appearances

Originally published on July 17, 1937
Dad’s “far-flung network of inscrutable spies” has reported that his son is, in short, a lazy slob, so Dad feels obligated to explain how to be a civilized adult.

The Difficulty of Marriage

Originally published on August 21, 1937
Dad wonders if his son will fall on his face when he is married, but decides that marriage is really just another kind of job — the skills he has gained from one can transfer to the other.


Originally published on October 30, 1937
Popularity is poisonous, Dad says, encouraging his son not to place too much worth in the admiration of people his own age. Instead, focus on earning the attention and approval of older men and women — especially older women.