I’ve wanted to express this for years, but I never had a blog before. So, now is my chance! Fathers Day, like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are inane, commercially trumped-up non-holidays for the “haves” to enjoy if they remember it, and the have-nots to be guilted into what they cannot afford to buy. These are occasions that should be celebrated daily, not on some contrived “day” once a year.
My father died in the year 2000, days shy of his 82nd birthday and I can say that basically I do not miss him because he never was one to call me up and shoot the breeze with me or travel to whatever of the several states that my career took me to and visit me to just “kick it”. He never had the “bird and the bees” talk with me (brought home books for me to read about sex), but he was there. He was known to my friends as the father who “lifted weights in his basement” all the time or chased the neighborhood kids off “the grass” (his other hobby I guess, was mowing the lawn, lol). Nothing much for me to miss; fatherhood is nice, but in my case overrated.
Mine was around, and married to my Mum for over fifty years (!) until he passed away. He was never my friend; he was there, but never my partner. More the disciplinarian, which kept me out of criminal trouble because as a weight-lifter/parole officer, he had an iron hand upon my shoulder or whatever body part he would grab of mine, that I remember to this day. He only seemed truly happy to see me during his final years when I appeared from out of town, awakening him from his slumber in the backyard chair outside our house (his house really). I thought, “Ain’t this a bitch? Homie NOW is happy to see me?”
He did instill in me to workout with weights and exercise, and… did I mention that he was around? But if I asked him for a “a couple of bucks” to go to the movies with my friends…he would give me only two dollars. What a bastard and cheapskate! Meanwhile he is playing the horses at the track, winning and not sharing with the family. Oh did I mention he was always “there“? He never drank liquor or even a beer ( I wish he had at least once in front of me) nor smoked. He never threw the baseball or any other ball for that matter with me like the other “dads’ on the block, and never encouraged me to participate in Little League baseball even though I was a very good pitcher and outfielder. I still resent him for that. Yeah, he emphasized education, but that was going to happen anyway growing-up with two teachers in da house! He never wanted to barbque on the holidays like the fourth of July even though we had an ample yard. He’d say some bullshit like, “Cooking outside reminds me too much of the war…” WTF??? “Well stay inside and let the rest of us have fun!” I would think.
As an adult, whenever I came to him to impress him with something I learned from him, but with a modern or easier perspective on it, he would cackle laughter and walk away, making me feel stupid.
My Dad did take me to a few Yankee games back in the ‘60s at the old Yankee Stadium. I always got the seat behind the pole. I still have a bat from one of the “bat Days” he took me to, and my friend Spencer and I did get on-camera during one of the Banner Days over WPIX channel eleven in NYC one time. Yeah he was around and never beat up on Mum, although I saw one time when he almost did pop her – that was when my Mum wanted to abort my sister because she felt she was too old to be pregnant. I tried to intercede between their argument and they both turned on me. “Oops!” Back up to my room I went.
He was a stick-in-the-mud, self-righteous, inflexible and pompous preachy party pooper who, when relatives from my Mum’s side of the family visited, went up the stairs early while they all were having fun playing cards.
Did I mention that he was around? Never a “Way to go, Son!” or similar encouragement. He was always more apt to raise his ample voice that I inherited, but know how to moderate, and pop me in my scull as he preached.” Pappa Don’t Preach”, Madonna said.
That was tolerable – he taught me respect for elders that way, and a kind of fear which is necessary but sorely lacking in too many young boys of today who are raised by single parents who are all too often females.
Did I mention hat he was around and “ok”? Yet embarrassed me by yelling at my friends if they even happened to accidentally step across his precious lawn’s corner? Yes he did – yelling from his inside widow perch upstairs. After he passed, we found a drawer where he had most of all the Father’s Day gifts we’d given him through the years – most unopened. I must have been some kind of accident because I cannot imagine him as a kind of “lover” that would seduce my Mum; it must have been his WWII uniform swooning her. My “dad” couldn’t see that it was words and not math or science that were my talents to be, yet insisted that I be the way he thought of me, and would have been overjoyed if I had enlisted into the Army during Vietnam, which was totally not for me.
All of which is to say that some of us aren’t so cushy about these types of contrived holidaze in the U.S. As an added insult, my father’s daughter – fourteen years younger than I – is now acting like the man she wishes she was and because he didn’t discipline her nor allow her to play with neighborhood kids like I did, in the name of her turning out “better” than I, is trying to hurt me financially. Dallas the soap opera-style, “she” is trying drive a wedge between my Mum and me in order to get the “will” money.
So I will continue to ignore this commercial and fake remembrance while I realize, as Mum says, that “there was no instruction booklet on being a father” [and I say to myself, “then why did you guys have kids?”] Oh, did I mention that he was around, and I loved him for that anyway – even without a father’s “day”? My lady tells me that he “wanted the best for me, but didn’t know how to show it”… Then maybe HE should have gotten a “book” and read-up about it.