Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy father's day, douchenoodle

I really loathe this holiday. It's like Valentine's Day, it's only good for the people who can use it.

My dad is a waste of existence and the world will not notice his passing. My stepdad's okay now, but only after decades of self-destruction that he didn't pull through in time to smooth out my tumultuous childhood. All my father memories are bad ones.

So when I see those Hallmark commercials where the kid loves his daddy as they play catch and eat ice cream together and learn how to shave, all those jokes about how dad protects his daughter from any potential dirty-minded boyfriends, I really hate them. They remind me of what I never had growing up. I don't know what it's like to have a normal dad who loves you.

I know some of y'all are feelin' me right now.

The first time anyone recognized I could write was when I won this state writing contest in the seventh grade. The topic was "If I Had a Wish" and I wrote a simple story about a weekend I spent with my real dad where we didn't really talk and I watched TV while he ran around town doing whatever it is he did.

This is the last paragraph:

If I had a wish, I'd wish he could be a "real" father. I'd wish he would stop smoking and drinking, get a job, and pay off his debts. I feel so envious of my friends that merely complain about their fathers not buying them something or punishing them. My father once said, "I just don't want any responsibilities right now." I wonder what my sister and I are.

So if you have or had a dad who loved you and did all those dad-like things he was supposed to, please thank him today. There are a lot of us out there who weren't so lucky.

And if you see my dad around anywhere, please punch him in the throat for me.


  1. Weird.

    I came to this just moments after posting my own FD blog.

    I s'pose I could say something like 'I could give you a run for your money when it comes to hellish memories of fathers" 'cept that's one of those competitions where there are no winners—just a bunch of folks all tied for last.

    I used to walk around with a great deal of bitterness for all the things I was denied thanks to a pair of psycho parents locked in a decades long battle of an ugly marriage and ugly divorce. Finally I sorta snapped to the fact that being bitter doesn;t **do** anything.

    I'm not saying forgive and forget. Far from it, as I think the only positive to come from an ugly experience like a childhood wherein a parent fucks up and misses their chance to honor their duties as a parent would be for that surviving child to emerge with a burning desire to live the rest of their saying "never again—not on my watch." I sure as hell refuse to totally purge the hundreds or thousands of ugly memories I carry around. Instead, I try to use them as a sort of negative compass to help steer me the other way as I try to figure out how to be the kind of father I want to be.

    And there is a bright side, after all: I don't think it's any coincidence that so many creative types come from formative experiences wherein they are forced to imagine the kind of existence they want instead of just experiencing it for real. In other words, your (our) fascination and facitlity with creating new worlds and people from nothing more than our own fanciful wishes and dreams surely springs in part to a self-defensive ability learned at a young wage when Reality just wasn't living up to expectations and demands.

    I''m not talking to my dad today, as what I owe him is not anything he ever intended to give me, nor is it anything he'd understand if I described it to him. But I do know this: a huge part of who I am as a person and father is the direct result of what lessons—negative more than positive—I learned from him.

    The child is not responsible for where he comes from—only where he goes.

  2. A lot of us are feelin' you on the dickhead-dads front.

    The day will be over soon.

  3. Heh. I just survived a four day visit from my parents. That they were here was my own doing since I paid to fly them out for my kids' graduation ceremonies. I figured (hope) that my parents won't be around for the real graduations in the future and b/c as grandparents, they aren't that bad. Of course, I limit and monitor all contact. :-)

    So, anyway, I bought a card for my kids to give their grandfather. I handed it to him and he asked why I always have my kids give him cards but I don't.

    My answer, "It's a choice."

    No further questions.

  4. Wow, sad story. I feel for all with that issue, mine was that I was the kid whose parents would move if he didn't watch out.

    I'm probably a case study of "alone in a crowd" family wise (Kevin had it good). I don't think I'll ever resolve my issues, but I try to internalize and it helps my ability to come up with stories.

  5. I will punch him in the throat and break each of his toes.

  6. I had a tragic dad. Drunk himself to death when i was 16.

    My mom is only slightly less tragic.

    I like what Brett said: "The child is not responsible for where he comes from—only where he goes."

    You never forget. Just make sure you don't become that person that hurt you.


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