Monday, October 30, 2006

Father/Son, Tree/Fruit, Dog/Turd

I am back from my semi-vacation and ready to pound the keys.

While most folks say they are well-rested and ready for work when they come back from vacation, such is not the case for moi.

There was a lot of drinking involved as well as nearly twenty hours of driving. Of course the two did not meet - the driving happened then the drinking.

Truthfully it wasn't that excessive; the driving is what really took it out of me.

But I'm not posting to talk about alcohol or driving. The topic du jour is fathers and sons.

We spent the weekend, in part, hanging with my father and his wife, Pin.[ed. note: I like her very much and I think calling anyone 'step mother' is an insult, so I won't do it.]

Today, my father and I have a great relationship; we like to do many of the same things and have a lot of shared history to rehash and share with others (namely, our wives).

But, it was not always this way.

From 1981 – 1988 (12-19 years old) ours was what I assume is a typical father/son relationship; in a word, adversarial.

Now, staring down the barrel of 40 and on the precipice of fatherdom, I'm big enough to admit it was mostly my fault.

My experience with the teen years can be summed up like this –

12-16 years old: your lack of mouth control gets you in trouble and you don't understand why.

17-19 years old: you understand that lack of mouth control gets you in trouble, but you are powerless to stop it.

Something to do with raging hormones, I suspect.

Of course, the whole time you're a teenager, you swear that you'll never be like your father. Especially when you're spending Friday night in the solitary cell they call your room.

As the years pass, you come to realize that, yes, there are some similarities. But the annoy habits your father has? You'll never get those.

I know my father believes that was the case for him and his father. But it's not true. He does the exact things his father did that drove him nuts. For example:

My grandfather was a pack rat. He had two storage barns that he kept shit in that he just wouldn't throw away (Dad and I rented a dumpster to get rid of it all after he passed).

My dad? He has three.

My grandfather had subscriptions to dozens and dozens of magazines and newspapers. He would cut out articles and save them for my dad and me to read so we could keep abreast of all the 'right' thinking columnists and toe the party line.

My dad? He has newsfeed emails set up from hundreds of newspapers and magazines, which he forwards to me so I can keep abreast of all the 'right' thinking columnists and toe the party line.

My grandfather would drive to 15 different grocery stores and spend all day to make sure he was getting the best price on a gallon of milk (the price differences never varied more than a quarter from one store to another).

My dad? He spends all day surfing the net to save $1 on a case of his favorite cigars.

Of course, that is just the tip of the iceberg. But me? I'm not going to do those things.

And I honestly and truly believed this was the case. That is, until I saw him argue with Pin about an item they left at home.

They forgot something at the house and my father just wouldn't let it go. Every conversation came back around to that. ('So, how's Denver?' 'Really good, you know we just…' 'Just what? Leave something sitting on the counter after you specifically asked if someone picked it up?')

And not just for few minutes, or even a few hours. He harped about it




I am ashamed to admit it, but I have done exactly the same thing.

So just as the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree, nor the turd far from the dog, I, too, will be storing shit for the twins to throw away when I die and I'll send them articles so they can keep abreast of all the 'right' thinking columnists and toe the party line.

I can't help it. It's in my genes.

Sorry guys, but you'll do it too.

It's in your genes as well.