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Entries in Dad (12)

Thursday
Dec152016

#HBD2016, the it's all about me edition

Today was a fun day. I was fully prepared to write about my father and how this would be his 79th birthday and I was born in 1979, blah blah blah, but then I had a really bad day: I did not get a job I had interviewed for, it took nearly three hours to drive home from the job I'm stuck in and I now have to go back out in said storm to mail a package, leaving me with less time to pack for my "weekend" trip than I hoped.

At least I'll get to see my wife tomorrow.

So, happy birthday dad! I"m kind of glad you aren't here to see me at my self loathing; self deprecating worst.

Friday
Dec092016

The little Barber Shop of memories

About a week ago I went to a Barber Shop for the first time in what must be close to twenty years. It wasn't even a conscious choice, more one of convenience. It turns out, a bigger city means longer waits for appointments and salons don't take walk-ins as happily.

For all of the new updates and changes that have occurred since the last time I visited the most "manly" of grooming establishments--online booking and Square payment through a phone being at the forefront--there was a palpable sense of coming home again. The smell of whatever Barber Shop specific cleaning products for example apparently cannot be improved on as that particular smell was the first thing to hit me as I walked in the door. Other than the too obvious attempt to make this a place for "men," I felt at home there. I had forgotten how much I missed the sounds--and sights--of scissors cutting at a rapid and seemingly random pace. As with most things nostalgia related, I was reminded of my dad and how we would go to the barber as a father/son bonding activity when I was younger. In fact, part of the reason I stopped going to this type of shop is that my--and my father's--longtime barber retired and the experience was such a positive one, I didn't want it soured with the uncertainty of a new person. That should give you a little insight into how my brain works.

Beyond the memories, the really interesting part about my visit was how it brought up all of these confusing gender identity questions in my head. I had forgotten just how distinct the gender lines can be, even in 2016. A Barber Shop is a place that men went to do "manly" things while the Hair Salon is where women went to do "ladylike" things. In my attempt to be more of a modern human being, I sort of stepped out of that bubble for a while and it's weird coming back to it after all of these years. The really confusing thing is just how welcoming it felt, and I can't quite figure out if it was the nostalgia factor, or if the experience triggered something else inside me, down in that place where rye and Frank Sinatra live.

Unfortunately, I got the one barber who didn't speak English, so I didn't get the full chat while they cut experience. This might warrant another visit to figure out the mystery. Only 4 more weeks until it's justified!

Thursday
Jul212016

Decade: It's not just a defunct wrestling faction

Ten years ago I was single, new to the city I currently live in and living with roommates in a rental house. Oh, and I had a father who was alive.

Today I'm married, getting ready to leave this city for a better one and living with my wife (and cat) in a condo that we own. Oh, and it's been ten years since I've had a father who was alive.

A decade of a life lived, more than a quarter of the time I've been on this planet, some of the happiest moments; some of the most sad. None of which I was able to share with my--forgive the hyperbole--hero. He was the one who got me to a place where I could live the life I would end up living, the one who helped me out the--quite literal--door, and one of the two who welcomed me back when I needed to come home.

Ten years ago I had a family of three.

Today I have almost tripled that number with ties that only get stronger every day. I'm so lucky with the life and extended family I've married into and I'm so incredibly unlucky that I can't share this with him. He's a part of me (the best part of me), but not beside me anymore.

And because half of our relationship was based on the most inside of jokes, I'll end with one that he would no doubt approve of, will always make me giggle, and is subversive in a way you'll probably never understand:

Miss you dad; miss you every day.

Monday
Nov162015

Nature vs. Nurture vs. Emulation vs. Self Fulfilling Prophecy: Work or Shoot?

Yesterday I spent a good chunk of the day doing something I had been putting off for no clear reason. I digitally archived a bunch of my father's things: old family photos, postcards, curling patches, his obituaries.

Other than the actual work of the archiving itself, the only thing I could think of is that I didn't want to immerse myself in memories of my father, including memories that aren't even mine. I've seen all of these things before, but I don't know if I've actually SEEN them.

The main takeaway from yesterday is just how many weird and random ways I am like my dad, or at the very least how many weird tangents there are. I've already written about the whole wardrobe thing, and looking at old pictures just really brings to light how similar our fashion sense is--if not in actual looks, at least the "level" of casual to formal--but there are even little things here and there that would only catch my eye. The most surprising of which is one of the last real hidden "guilty pleasures" I have: Professional Wrestling.

To this day I still have this fascination with professional wrestling. See, even here I try to carefully word it. I'm a fan. There, I said it. Not of everything, mind you. Just as with any entertainment medium, I like what's good; and cringe at what's bad. The only difference is that this particular form of entertainment comes pre loaded with a ton of judgement and ridicule before you finish the word "wrestling". Think of explaining South Park to people who have only seen the first two episodes--or have only heard the horrible people who quote it ad nauseum--but ten times worse. 

But this is not the place for my defence of Pro Wrestling. That comes in another post, and only when I'm mentally prepared for taunts not heard since high school. What exactly does this have to do with my continuing struggle to understand if I'm emulating my father as some sort of tribute; if these personality traits are genetically passed down; if I have some forgotten memory of spending time bonding over these things; or if I'm just grasping at straws that aren't even there to try to force a connection with a man I can't create new connections with anymore?

(It's not the last one, but I needed to put it there to cover the entire spectrum of possibility; also sorry for the run on sentence to end all run on sentences)

I can't really be sure, and at the end of the day it's probably not even important why or even if these connections exist; just that I know that they do.

Oh, and here's the photo that caused this much longer than anticipated ramble:

For anyone who shares my secret fandom, that kind of says it all, and for those who don't, just trust me on this one (shout out to the top button being buttoned this side of the Pond... that's definitely the insidiest of references).

 

Thursday
Jul232015

Nine years and a couple days later

So when I realized that I wasn't going to be able to write about my father a few days ago, the reason was disappointing, but not altogether unexpected. The world tends to creep in and smash the proverbial "best laid plans." What surprised me more was that I hadn't written about him since the year I got married.

After getting over that pang of guilt, I realized that I had spend the last year and a half telling stories about him. Coming up on a decade now, it's easier to talk about him--hell, to steal a bit from a recent podcast, it's amazing to make dead dad jokes to people to see their reactions. That said, he's still a major part of my life and if I pause a bit walking down memory lane, it becomes a bit more real than I'm used to. Even now, a few days removed from "D-Day," my time machine back to that day is still working flawlessly.

But getting back to the world; the one thing that I'm realizing is that throughout all the stress of the recent past, I've been able to stay as steady as I am--with inevitably a few cracks in the armor here and there--for two reasons: the image of my father, and the presence of my wife. I may have written about this before but the biggest regret in my life that I had absolutely no control over is the passing of those two ships in the night. As sure as I can be about anything, I'm sure that they would have been as close as I am with my in laws. He's a huge chunk of who I am and his spirit is a calming presence in my life.

I miss him every day and if I could muster the eloquence to opine about him every day, this section of the blog would break the Internet.

Well that's something to aspire to, I guess.