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Barry Courter

I consider myself a doting, loving parent, but not a helicopter father who hovers over my children looking to cushion every fall or to fight every battle for them. Which is why what happened a couple of months ago still makes me cringe, but it is kind of funny.

The setup: My daughter shredded her knee playing soccer about three weeks before graduating from college back in May. About six months before that, her projected career path took a major turn, which is to say it crashed and she was back to zero thinking that she would move home, save some money and make a new plan.

She had the knee surgery the week of graduation and was in Knoxville recovering when my buddy, the guy who was best man at my wedding and is my daughter's godfather, mentioned to me that the guy who was best man at his sister's wedding and the godfather to her daughter had a job opening at his company in Atlanta. Did you get all that?

My buddy said this to me on a Saturday night. The next day, my daughter emailed her resume to them, and fortunately they were interested. A phone interview was set up for the following Thursday. She never mentioned the surgery or the fact that she was in a brace and on crutches to them.

Apparently the interview went well because she called right after to say they wanted her in the office in Atlanta the following day. The idea of her negotiating Atlanta traffic for the first time, even in the best of circumstances, put this father into panic mode. With her knee in a brace, it was out of the question, so I volunteered to drive her.

She drove here from Knoxville, and I drove us down to Atlanta early in the morning. I found a coffee shop to hang out in before going back to get her. Then my phone rang. She said they were taking her to lunch and wanted to know if I would join them.

"I'm in a Bonnaroo T-shirt and shorts, and that would not be proper, in any case. No, but thank you very much," I said.

She called right back and said they insisted that I go. Oh my. We went to Joey D's, which is a place for power lunches and job interviews. People in slacks and ties. So on top of being the ultimate helicopter dad by crashing the interview, I was in a T-shirt and shorts.

In the end, everyone was very nice. It went well, and she got the job. Later that night, I managed to convince myself that everyone in the restaurant probably thought I was the richest guy in the room. Or in the music business. Who else shows up like that, right? Right?

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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