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Story Archives

Growing Up

Maz Jobrani

By Maz Jobrani

Growing up, my family didn’t have any coming of age traditions. No bar mitzvahs, no crownings, nothing. There was, however, one incident in college when I became a man.

My dad was very generous to us. A self-made millionaire back in Iran, he was able to bring a lot of money with him to the U.S. and spoil us. Like Vito Corleone from The Godfather, he was a larger than life character, always helping people out.

I became used to this until I went to college and felt it was time to stop accepting money and become a man – except for one last time. In my first week, my father gave me a couple hundred dollars. A few weeks later, I paid him back with a check. He was shocked and asked in a thick Persian accent, “Vhat iz dis?”

“I’m paying you back.”

“Ha! You pay me back? I keep in my vallet, but I no cash it. I keep as souvenir!”

Fast forward a few weeks, I went to the ATM and was told that I had “insufficient funds.”

“How is that possible?” I asked myself. And then it hit me. My dad had cashed the check! He lied to me! How dare he! I was broke.

From that day forward I took responsibility for myself and my finances. I also learned that the next time I borrowed money from my dad, I would pay him back in cash.


How can you thank those who’ve helped you? How can you pay it forward?


Maz Jobrani is an Iranian-American comedian and actor.