Family — August 24, 2018
Every Friday, Tuffy fields a question that benefits from his worldly wisdom as #TheMostInterestingRhinoInTheWorld.
This week’s question is: “Hey Tuffy, what is the most important thing I can do for my friends?”
Tuffy’s answer: “My man, you’re in luck. I contemplated this just a few days ago as I was looking back on photos from my college era. As I looked at the smiling young faces of my friends and I, it occurred to me that my best friends all shared one thing in common. No, it wasn’t a mullet with frosted tips, although that *was* pretty common, nor was it the tie-dyed jumpsuits that were in vogue for about 3 weeks during our youth. The thing that every single one of my closest friends shared in common is that they showed up for me when it mattered the most. Whether that’s traveling across 4 states to celebrate a friend’s 40th birthday party, spending 6 hours bent over in a crawl space during the most brutal part of winter to help install a furnace to save your friend some money or busting your knuckles while trying to remove the brake caliper of your “I don’t know anything about cars” friend’s old Buick Roadmaster wagon, the mark of a great friend is that she just shows up whenever you need her. “Showing up” doesn’t always have to be dramatic. Sometimes, it’s a simple gesture, like a nod, or a smile of acknowldgement that says “Hey dude, I don’t know how to help, but I’m here for you”.
I was 13 years old when my grandfather died, and my dad came to school to pick me up. I still remember looking out the window of the classroom, watching my dad drop in unannounced. There were really only two reasons I could think of for why he’d come. One, that we’d won the lottery and we were going to move to a tropical paradise, or two, that my grandfather, who had been ill for a while, had moved onto a different existence. As good as I was with statistics and math and odds, I still hoped that we’d won the lottery. When my dad and I locked gazes, though, I instantly knew, and I turned to pack my backpack. My friends knew that my grandfather had been ailing, and one of them came up to me and grabbed my backpack from me, said hi to my dad, and just walked ahead of us out of the classroom. That guy became my best friend for many years, though we barely knew each other then. When he ran away from home because of issues with his folks, I did the only thing I could do – I hid him in my tiny bedroom for 4 days. Showing up can be challenging sometimes, because the situation might be inconvenient at best and downright dangerous at other times, but there’s nothing that seals and stamps a friendship more decisively than the knowledge that whenever you need someone, your buddy is going to be there. I hope this helps you be a better friend, my friend.”
TUFFY the Rhino is more than just the Armstrong Tire mascot. On the surface, TUFFY appears to be a tough, hardened character, and arguably there is “none tougher.” In fact, he’s really a softie at heart, charming folks wherever he goes – a gentleman, for sure, but one who would equally be at home blazing frontiers as he would be dancing the waltz at a grand soirée. Often referred to as “The most interesting rhino in the world,” TUFFY has traveled the world and made many appearances representing Armstrong Tire, from advertisements co-starring stars like Lucille Ball to being featured on many eBay listings. However, he remains a simple, Midwestern rhino at heart, one that’s rooted in empathy, humility, and family values.