ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ

Friday, June 17, 2011

Father's Day: Learning from bad examples

Father’s Day has always meant next to nothing for me.

Well, except for when my kids were small and all excited over the trinkets they had gotten me for the big day. I miss seeing them filled with that much anticipatory excitement.

The reasons for my lethargy: Oh, I dunno, having never known my own father. Having a substitute father who wrote the book on inflicting physical punishment and mental anguish. And for the third piss-poor act, we had the mentally-incontinent step-dad who mistakenly thought I would sit idly by while he physically abused my twelve-years-my-junior step-brother.

Gee, I hope the statute of limitations has run out on all of that pent-up blowback that was years in the making.

Anyway, when my then-girlfriend told me she was pregnant a long, long time ago, and even though I didn’t realize it at that time, I had already been well-schooled in what not to do in the event of accidentally becoming a father.

And, as fate would have it, I’m not alone in these unfortunate respects…


What I've tried to accomplish as a father
Before anything else, when the thought of being a father entered into my head a long, long time ago, I really just wanted one central thing...a kind of vow to myself: I wanted to be there for my children, to be a part of their lives, because I never had a father that was a part of my life in any meaningful kind of way. I had, growing up, the perfect example of what NOT to be as a dad. In a strange kind of way I guess I have my own father to thank for setting this (anti) example for me.

If I wasn’t as educationally-challenged as I obviously am, I could have and would have written that same paragraph, and word for frickin’ word.

Now, since damn near everybody who was ever incarcerated either blamed their predicaments on their dysfunctional upbringing, or on growing up in a one-parent, government subsidized household, how come Steve and I never marked out our territories in the same cellblock? Why aren’t we studiously working on appealing our life sentences?

In my case, I’ll heap all of the credit for keeping me a step short of the hoosegow on my god-fearing, clean-living, hard-nosed, play-by-the-rules mother and grandmother.

Ironically, while growing up, I was always called the “smart one,” a clear reference to how heredity may have infused me with some of my father’s documented brilliance.

Thing is, if I accused Steve of plagiarizing my thoughts on this matter, the few people who know me through-and-through would believe it to be true. I really hate to cause him undo unrest or any nagging distress, but we think exactly alike on this one.

Was that a primordial scream I just heard?

Whatever it may or not mean to you, happy Father’s Day.


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