Do You Want Mommy to Find You a New Daddy?

Rad note » this entry consists of a section lifted from another entry where I got off on a tangent (.. as I have been known to do). It deserves its own entry because the subject matter here is so different.

By transferring this text here and creating a separate entry, I also help to maintain focus better on the original entry, titled » Exploring the Limits of Poetic License. Here we go...

Demonstrating » Hoverboard Skillz

Just above where Pooh & Christopher Robin hold hands, I mentioned ".. but that's another story." Let me take a moment here to draw for you a few broad strokes. One dark, one light, and maybe even throw in a splash of color.

Blue hoverboard, clearly operationalBecause this looks like an opportune place .. to demonstrate hoverboard skillz.

Like a teen might do at any skate park.

My dad .. when he was dying, I went to see him.

Bro called and said, "He's got a few weeks, maybe. No more than a few months. If you want to see him, you should go soon."

Dad's new wife picked me up at Dulles. (Dad was the type of man who found life uncomfortable without a woman. He remarried in record time after mom died. He never told me that he was getting re-married. I found out thru a neighbor who was wondering what all the cars were doing there at the house.)

I was there most of a week. Notice how he was living on the East coast and I was on the West coast.

In other words, I was as far away as I could get .. without leaving the country, or the mainland. I didnt plan it like that, of course. It just seemed to have worked out that way.

» When You Were Young

He slept most of the time (fetal position). But we talked. "When you were young," he said, "I was under a lot of pressure."

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••• today's entry continues here below •••

My brother wasnt born until I was 5. They waited until I was about to start school until bringing bro into the world. So they could devote their full attention to me .. or so the story goes.

And yes, I will admit that much attention I did get when young. Too much, if you ask me. But that's another topic, entirely.

"It's okay, dad." I said. "I understand."

I meant something along the lines of » "This is not the time, Pops, to have that conversation." [ » A literary technique that I learned from the ever-mysterious Lemony Snicket. ]

Rainy Day on a Red BenchBut, that is when I "was young." So that is the time to which he was referring.

He was late twenties, then .. 28-ish maybe. So HE remembers, no doubt. But he is not sure whether *I* remember.

(But I do. Tho he does not know this for sure. He is probably hoping that I was too young to remember. Tho he was obviously wrong.)

And the image that came to mind when he said that [ about being under a lot of pressure when I was young ] ..

.. was that of the time when he snatched and lifted me by the scruff-of-my-shirt at my chest .. with one hand (his right hand) ..

.. and slammed me against the outside of the garage .. in the back yard where I was playing.

He seemed to have come out of nowhere. Caught me completely off-guard.

I'm guessing that I was 3-ish. Who knows? But small enough to lift (rather quickly) .. and slam with one hand. Yeah, I have a good memory, sure ..

.. but some shit is just not that easy to forget. There is a passage in the fourth chapter of The Brothers Karamazov (Dostoevsky 1879-1880) which seems to support this, where he talks about the younger brother, Alexei. See here:

Incidentally, I have already mentioned that although he lost his mother in his fourth year, he remembered her afterwards all his life, her face, her caresses, "as if she were standing alive before me." Such memories can be remembered (everyone knows this) even from an earlier age, even from the age of two, but they only emerge throughout one's life as specks of light, as it were, against the darkness, as a corner torn from a huge picture, which has all faded and disappeared except for that little corner.

To be honest, I really dont know what, if anything, I had done. I mean, I never heard him say something like » "Dont do that."

Which naturally lends itself nicely to the confusion factor .. for such a little guy. Who was feeling so happy just a few seconds ago. "What the fuck just happened? I must have missed somebody very obvious."

Perhaps I should note here that nobody else was there in the backyard when I was snatched and slammed. So nobody (else) witnessed it.

Smart in a » Fyodor Karamazov Sort of Way

In retrospect, perhaps this is why he said nothing. Why he uttered nothing audible. Because, if he did, someone might have looked out a window .. to see what all the yelling was about. (Dad was very smart, tho often in a Fyodor Karamazov sort of way.)

My sense was that he was mad at mom for some reason. But I am far from sure on that point.

Comedy/Tragedy Drama MasksDad was like that. You could do really bad shit, and if he was in a good mood, "Hey, fuck it. You made a stupid mistake."

But if he was in a bad mood .. all bets were off.

I don't think I ever heard him say a cross word to mom. This is what makes me think that he was taking out his frustrations with her on me. Does that make any sense?

Here is what I can tell you for sure » I am familiar with a form of rage that few can fathom. (Which is good for those who are not, yes. Not familiar with this rage.)

But it (sadly) makes you loose respect for the man. How can you respect a man like this?

He's your dad .. so you want to (respect him) so bad.

Sure you make excuses for him. He has them coming. (We all do.)

But can you respect a person for whom you must make excuses?

Bro told me of an interesting story about dad and what he did after I had left for the Navy (at age 18). But I would not feel comfortable sharing it.

Consider it » confirmation. Key words » mow, grass, knife and throat. If you ever wanna ask bro about it yourself.

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)[ Dostoevsky begins The Brother Karamazov by showing how the father (Fyodor) took great pleasure ..

.. in trick-fucking his oldest son out of his inheritance.

I have a story of personal experience to parallel this. Remind me to tell you that one.

It's not nearly as good as Dostoevsky's version. This I will readily concede. But the parallels are only too obvious.

Sadly obvious.

Key-words » per diem.

There's also the story » "I took your spare car (Jetta) out of my empty four-car garage here .. and parked it outside under a tree .. cuz I didnt want any mice to get into it."

You think I'm joking, but I'm not. This is the type of mind you are dealing with. ]

Anyway, I know that it scared the shit out of me when he snatched me by the scruff of the shirt at my chest and slammed me one-handedly against the side of our old wooden garage .. because I pissed myself .. without even trying ..

.. when my back hit the side of the garage .. an old, beat-up (but nonetheless cool-looking) wooden garage.

It (uh, me, actually) made a loud bang. (Echo.)

I started crying instantly. As you might expect.

He only slammed me once. And never said a word. Never yelled. That's why I'm not sure wtf was going on.

About now you're probably thinking, "Dude, you sound like you might have a problem with authority figures."

Inception Glass of Water | Something unusual is going on hereTo which I retort, "Ya think?"

I went crying to mom. Where else are you gonna go?

Maybe my point here is that » he was ".. under a lot of pressure" .. and taking it out on me. (Unfortunately.)

One of the things that has always confused me about that moment ..

.. was how hard (forceful) the pee came out.

Like you could not pee that hard even if you tried to .. like what might happen if you hadnt pee'd for a week. Human fire hose.

So maybe you can see how my All-American friend across the street without a dad .. maybe didnt look so bad.

After bro came along, things improved for me. (Less attention focused on me.) And siblings are witnesses, doncha know.

Yes, this might be painting with a less-than-broad stroke, but I want to include the authenticity that only first-hand experience can bring. Not freak you out.

Because I can wax waay-the-fuck more detail-oriented here. Feel me? I hope you dont think that I'm somehow proud of it.

No, this is not easy shit. This is not an easy place to get to. Is this not obvious? We are talking Indiana Jones. I have the teeth marks of toothy alligators to prove it. Wanna see? (as I reach to unclasp my belt)

But that was the thing that mom was referring to when she asked me, "Do you want mommy to find you a new daddy?" [ Which I talk about a little further down the page. ]

Inception Totem Spinning Top | Is this real or am I dreaming?I mean, think about it ..

.. a mom doesnt ask a little kid if she wants her to find him a new daddy over any little thing, right?

No. It has to be a big thing.

And probably happen more than once. Or twice. Right?

Anyway, what am I talking about here? I am talking about a few things.

One of which being why I resonate so naturally with people like the Dog.

Now, I know that you want me to tell you WHAT RESULT, or effect, it has on a person ..

.. when, as a little guy, he gets LIFTED (by the scruff of the shirt at his chest) and slammed one-handedly against a wall or some similarly flat surface.

And this I can do. Yes, here I am qualified.

There are two parts, tho. A bad part, and a good part.

Let me tell you about the bad part first. The bad part .. is that you MUST ADAPT to getting your little ass slammed against a wall, or some similar surface.

This should be intuitively obvious.

So how do you adapt?

You adapt by growing. And learning. And climbing. And developing. And making friends. Hopefully, without repeating the bad stuff.

By learning good shit along with that bad shit that your parents are trying (very hard, very diligently, it would seem) to beat into you.

Now one of the ways you cope with this kind of shit .. is to tell yourself that others have it worse. MUCH worse.

Marvin Gaye (1939-1984) | His dad shot him deadAnd yes, they do .. I'm sad to say. I could easily write many words on this subject.

Marvin Gaye's dad, or example, sat at the kitchen table wearing women's clothes, reading the newspaper.

That's gotta spin your head around a turn or two .. I would imagine.

And that is just a small sliver of the Marvin Gaye story. It's really mind-boggling.

This is the very same father, mind you, who shot his son (Marvin) in the chest with a shotgun at point blank range .. after he stuck up for his mother.

My point » yes, others have had it worse. Others have had worse fathers. Others have had worse parents. (And MUCH WORSE mothers.)

This relates to my court visits .. during which you see that .. sure, you may have it bad .. but there are others, many others, other kids, other fathers, who have it worse. Much worse. But that's another story.

[ This might be a good place to shine a spotlight on the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship with a parent ..

.. which comes down to » trust. Which involves » emotional intimacy.

But if your dad is wearing women's clothes around the house or slamming you one-handed against the side of an old wooden garage ..

.. where does that leave you? (Regarding trust and emotional intimacy.)

If you cannot trust your parents (.. key word » trust) .. then you are not in a good place, from a psychological-health perspective.

Especially when you are just a little-thing .. and so at their mercy. For everything.

These things [ such as a dad who wears women's clothing around the house or one who slams young children against the side of old, wooden garages ] I feel, can all be grouped under the general heading of » repression.

Which you can identify by its signature term » "Don't." (.. usually followed by » "or else.")

While healthy emotional intimacy is characterized by the welcoming and encouraging freedom to express your very innermost thoughts and feelings.

Without fear that they will be used against you tomorrow or the next day. ]

But yes, the fact that others have had it worse makes you feel better .. in a weird sort of way .. the perspective that it gives you .. the misfortune of others. I am not saying that I TRY to feel this way.

Can Rad come out and play?It is something along the lines of » "I'm glad that only half of my ass was eaten away. Did you see that other guy's ass?"

You know that the souls in the less-hot regions of hell look down on and say, "Glad I aint down there with *that* sorry dude."

» No Longer Intimidated

But you grow and you learn .. until you come to the place where [ drum roll, please ] ..

» you no longer feel threatened or intimidated by anybody even close to your own size.

Tho I doubt my ability (right now, anyway) to accurately convey what I mean .. with any precision.

Because, after you have been thru an experience like that .. with someone SO MUCH BIGGER (and stronger) than you ..

.. anybody even close to your own size seems like small potatoes (.. Lemony Snicket would concur, I'm sure, from Book the Seventh, The Vile Village).

And I would see a person trying to intimidate me (.. in any number of ways). And the thought would come, "Dude, bigger than you have tried to intimidate me. Much bigger. Are you sure you wanna do this? I'm trying to be nice, you can plainly see. Perhaps you should reconsider. Take your time. Because much badder than you have gone down. Feel me? And I know that it is not you who put these bad feelings here. But if you insist on provoking them, you will suffer their wrath. And it will not be pretty for you. Because they actually enjoy when they get a chance to go for a walk in the park .. cuz I let them out so rarely. I am not proud of it, but I have been here before. Trust me."

That is kind of what the Wow-girl was talking about when she said that I had the beast inside. I dont know how she knew, but she knew.

[ Rad note » In mentioning the wow-girl here, it seems as tho she comes out of nowhere. This is because I lifted this entry from a page where I discuss her.

If you find this part difficult to follow, then I can certainly understand how that could be. This shit is not easy to write. It fucks me up, somewhat.

I am really writing it for me, anyway, and not for you. But if it seems disjointed, then that is the nature of the beast. ]

I am actually very good / skilled at hiding them away. To this day I dont know how she knew.

Such things to describe and discuss were not yet in my vocabulary. It were as tho my mouth (at that time) was still agape .. and I was saying (about the wow-girl), "Holy shit. This is some wild shit for sure. Bizarre, even. So what is this powerful 'thing' that is going on here? I will need to go with the flow .. in order to see where this goes. And if it goes to the bottom of a broken roller coaster .. then why does it feel so electrifying? How can this be? Where will it take me? But there is definitely something about this girl to which I resonate. Now, I admit that prospects for the future do not look very bright. But even beyond the electricity in her fingertips, and her eerily intuitive insights, this girl is downright fascinating."

What am I saying? I am saying (today, now, smarter, larger perspective, more life experience) ..

.. I am saying that my intuition feels that it was our skill in hiding admittedly ugly shit .. that only an intimate few know about ..

.. is » how we were alike. How we were similar. And let me tell you, brother .. she had the shine going on. You know. She had the optics figured out.

In the category of Managing Appearances (which I *do* know a little something about) .. she had it going on.

I think that (unrelatedly) when a woman/girl is so skilled, so intuitive (.. beyond merely the physical pleasures) .. at the art of the human body .. and the way it is tuned, as designed by nature ..

.. that she can do things to you and for you .. that MAKE YOUR body crave her. Crave being the operative word.

When a girl/woman knows how to make your body sing electric, she has a certain power over you. It is always much easier to walk away from a woman who has not yet figured out how to manipulate your hormonal chemistry.

Wolf howling at the moonBut anyway, that was the part of me that she was trying to bring out.

I'm talking about the ugly beast that lurks within the shadows of super-charged hormones and the whacked out emotions (of some).

Operating under the stresses associated with the frustrations of our modern age.

To elicit (.. might be a better way to say it).

The thing I most desperately want to hide.

And yes, a part of me is wondering » "Why the fuck would you ever want to do something like that? .. you crazy girl."

Tho she did not like it when I challenged her rationality .. even jokingly.

"You cannot do that," and she said my name.

Which, if you think about it, was completely understandable. So I didnt do it.

Another cannot she said, "You cannot say that you are going to take me somewhere and then cancel. I have issues there." [ That would be San Francisco. ]

Since I began this reflection on the wow-girl, I have found myself wondering about the edge she had on me. The insight.

The intuitive insight. And my intuition tells me ..

.. that this is what gave her her edge .. that she had on me.

This edge gives them a certain amount of 'power' over you, no? So they obviously need to make you trust them. Trust being the operative word.

Like she had a passkey to places that I did not even know existed. (That is actually a better way to say it .. than "combination to my safe.")

Pooh and Christopher Robin Playing PoohsticksPerhaps what I am saying is .. there was certain amount of trust involved.

It was a very comfortable relationship. It felt very natural. Effortless.

No, I have never had another girl walk up to me and write her name on the palm of my hand. Anywhere. At any time of day or night.

I am speaking in a res ipsa loquitur kind of way, here. The thing speaks for itself. (What is it saying?)

My point is » she challenged me on a very primal level.

And something in me found her irresistible. Like she was covered in oil, slippery. You cannot stop her. Even if you wanted to.

And let me tell you .. she was not only a skilled enchantress, but motivated like a motherfucker (.. yes, I could use that term literally. But I'm not.).

The lengths to which she would go .. most impressive.

The Good Part » Compassion

Anyway, that's the bad part. The bad part about the difficulty involved in getting to the place where you resonate with people who are products of parental dysfunction. And the bad part about adapting to the effects of being slammed one-handedly against a wall as a little thing.

"What's the good part?" you ask. Good question.

[ I am reminded here of the advice sometimes given to writers » "Write what ONLY YOU can write, bitch. And boldly go where no writer has ever gone before. Even if it suks. Which means that you, the-person (behind the writer) will probably have to go (explore) similarly desolate places." ]

Clown crying tearsBeyond the fact that you don't intimidate easily .. the good part is (drum roll, please) » the compassion ..

.. that you get for the man who has these same feelings.

You should probably pause here a moment to reflect.

Because I'm talking about people with whom (lets be honest) most of polite society would rather not resonate.

At least, not if they can help it.

Understandable, in a way.

But I'm talking about feelings that he himself did not put there. No. Rather, they were put there for him. Feel me?

Feelings which he is very obviously having trouble dealing with. To which, yes, I can certainly relate.

That relating .. that resonating .. that understanding .. many words come to mind. But they are all a part of » compassion.

So .. when dad said, "I was under a lot of pressure..." I took it as an apology.

[ If you are following this, I am impressed. I can feel something in me making the transitions difficult to follow. Because a part of me doesnt want you to follow. Quite honestly. ]

But it doesnt make everything better, ya know. It's not like you can snap your fingers and suddenly the dark clouds vanish and the bright blue skies appear.

Sure, that would be nice. Lovely. But now, at the end of your life, you want to deal with all the shit that I've been dealing with my whole fucking life? Trying to un-fuck up all the shit that you fucked up? I appreciate the gesture, sure.

But, to be honest, it would mean a lot more to me if you could have had enough compassion to walk a mile in my shoes. Then maybe you could see how badly it fucks me up to be the receptacle of your (toxic) dysfunction.

I know that doesnt sound like much to ask .. but nevertheless, you seem incapable.

Or do you just not like me? Plenty of people say that I am one likeable dude. "The kind of person that people like to be around," is the way Nana put it. She would know.

But I wish you would keep your angry hands off me. Feel me? Cuz if you really knew how badly it fucks up a little kid, you would never do such a thing.

You should be ashamed of yourself. But obviously, you are not. So where does that leave me? (.. other than with your shame?)

And while we are having this conversation .. what the fuck was up between you and your old man? The father who you would never talk about .. who you refused to speak of. The grandfather I never knew. (I will tell you that story near the end of this page.)

I am certainly no shrink, but that shit doesnt sound healthy to me. I would rather not be the repository of any toxic shit you have there.

[ I played Little League baseball for three years. We lived but a few-minute walk from the park. Never once did my dad come to see one of my games. Not even the one's I pitched. Ever. Not one. In three years. ]

Perhaps you can see how I might find it difficult to respect a man who cannot control himself. It is not that I *try* .. no. I just find it difficult to respect a man who cannot control himself.

Christopher Robin to Pooh: You're braver than you believe, Promise me you'll always rememberThis is a little about what the wow-girl meant when she said, "You are the strongest man I've ever met."

Here's my point � instead of snatching and lifting and slamming your little kids against the wall with one hand and then apologizing for it ..

.. just dont slam them against the wall in the first place.

Cuz if you can't do that .. then maybe you ought not be a parent.

But if you simply can't help yourself .. and absolutely MUST lift and slam small children against the side of a garage (an admittedly cool-looking garage) ..

.. uh, where was I? Oh, yes. If you really can't help yourself and absolutely MUST slam little children against the wall .. then, uh, you probably ought not wait until your deathbed to apologize. Feel me?

No, he does not know that mom asked me if I wanted her to find me a new dad. I never brought it up, and I doubt she did, either.

So maybe you can see how, when dad said, "When you were young, I was under a lot of pressure" ..

.. I might think » "Yes, I remember that pressure." At least, the effects of it, which I felt. First-hand.

And maybe you can see how .. when mom I answered, "No," .. to mom's question about finding me another dad .. you might see how ..

I sense somehow that the subtext in that transaction was something along the lines of » "You have made your choice, my son, and now you must live with the consequences of your decision."

Because there was definitely some blaming going on .. let me tell you. Catholic-grade blaming and guilt and shame.

[ Perhaps now you can understand my prayer when the Bug was born » "Dear God, do NOT let me fuck this up. I know that you hear me. I have no valid pattern to follow. I'm am willing to do whatever it takes ..

.. even if I dont yet know what that is."

No, I did not say (pray), "Do NOT let me become my dad." But God knows what we mean. ]

When I look back now (.. as a grown-ass man) at this same 'scene' .. I can look down (from above) and see a cute, little tike (uh, that would be » me) .. sitting there in the front seat of an old, Chevy Impala (white with a blue stripe) .. and not taking up very much of that front bench-seat, either, I might add. (Cuz he is so small.)

Post-apocalyptic flowerAnd I see this little one say, "I don't really mind getting snatched and slammed against the wall very much, mom ..

.. if it will help hold our family together."

That's kinda what I meant when I answered, "No."

So yeah .. I feel like I did my fair share.

I am reminded here of that famous line by Christopher Robin to Pooh ..

.. while they were sitting up in a tree at sunset ..

.. with the two fireflies (the Bug loves that scene. "Play it again, dad." It was the fireflies that tickled him so.) » "You're braver than you believe."

My point should be obvious » there's hope. Dostoevsky would concur. Of this I am confident.

My dad died a week or two after my visit. He was buried next to my mom. In Connecticut. That is kinda weird .. seeing them *both* in the ground.

So .. while we are (still) here .. let us go about the task of building a better world for our children. Or at least give them the tools so that they can do it themselves.

Seems that we have a limited window of opportunity » today. [ If we were up in Hollywood right now, that would be my pitch. ]

<end story getting snatched and lifted by the scruff of the shirt at the chest and slammed into the side of the garage with one hand making a loud echoing bang and pissing myself violently ..

.. but think about it .. if you ever wanted to make a movie about a dysfunctional family .. you could never even have such a scene as this in your movie. For obvious reasons.

What 'lesson' do you reckon is learned by the toddler who gets snatched by the scruff of the shirt at the chest and slammed against the side of an old wooden garage .. for reasons that are unclear to him?

Dostoevsky had a shitty dad. Stendhal, too. This is but one of the ways in which I relate to the Russian.

My point » no, I'm not in denial. At least, not any more.

The founder and director of the Writer's Studio (Philip Schultz, a truely creative stud) says that » "Most people spend their lives developing defenses against their feelings." (You reckon he might know?)

Speaking of defenses .. this might be a good place to pose the question » what is the difference between denial and insanity?

<The end of demonstrating hoverboard skillz.>

Dyzfunctional (Fucked-Up) Parents » Dealing with the Damage They Do

Julia Roberts in August: Osage CountyPeople who had trouble with their opposite-sex parent ..

.. tend to have trouble with the opposite sex.

People who had trouble with their same-sex parent (like me) .. tend to have problems with » themselves.

[ On the subject of dads (and by extension » same-sex parents) my brother once told me » "In medical school, they dont spend much time on the mind. They only gave us one class in abnormal psychology ..

.. but I noticed that dad had many of things they described. Hey, dad does that. That, too."

Uh, that would be » our dad. In other words » my dad.

My point » sometimes you dont recognize dyzfunction when it is staring you in the face .. because you've grown accustomed to it. (And hopefully adapted. In a healthy way.)

It isnt until you can view your situation from a different vantage point .. from another perspective .. and compare notes with people who grew up in different homes .. that you can see the obvious more clearly.

Of course, what I say seems obvious now. But not so back then.

No one is saying he didnt try. I would never say that. But bro and I shared a knowing look and maybe some nervous laughter.

» Sometimes You Just Have to Get the Fuck Out of There

Because you can't deny the obvious. That approach gets you nowhere. (Yes, I have first-hand experience. The good stuff.)

Google Map of Housatonic River Connecting Sandy Hook to Indian WellSometimes you have to work with what you got .. and hope for the best.

And sometimes you just have to » get the fuck out of there ..

.. soon as you can. In whatever way seems best at the time.

Which is what Julia Roberts' character seemed to figure out at the end.

It's not about selfishness, no. Rather it's about » survival.

It's downright remarkable how the blue skies come out soon after you get away from a dysfunctional parent.

Tho, I must say, my younger brother, when I returned home from the military .. six years later .. he let me know .. in no uncertain terms ..

.. that he felt I had abandoned him. And yes, I could see his point. Tho, before he expressed himself .. by wanting to kick my ass right there in front of mom.

Mr. All-State Middle-Linebacker. (He was huge.)

Before that moment, uh, I honestly didnt know that he felt like that. Had no idea. Maybe I should have. I just figured that he could see that I needed to get the fuck out of there in order to survive and maintain sanity.

So perhaps you can see why a little voice said to me » "Dude, the whole freaking family has gone berserk."

"Mom, tell 'em what I wrote in the first letter that I sent from bootcamp."

[ I was not about to back down, and might've even gotten in a few good shots. But he would've probably stomped my ass .. right there in the living room. ]

I could see that he had become the sole focus of the parental dysfunction. Yes, I could elaborate .. could I ever. But I won't. Except perhaps to say that the gap-toothed girl was there. (So I have a witness.)

I told my brother, "The first thing I did when I got to bootcamp was to send a letter to our folks saying � 'Don't do to my brother what you did to me'."

Which again, I could elaborate upon at great length. But I won't. I will only surmise here to say that the general effect of their parenting techniques was to ..

Kevin Jorgeson climbs El Capitan in Yosemite» make you want to get the fuck out of there. Soon as possible. Under pretty much any circumstances you can arrange.

Nothing sexual, or anything weird like that. They were just miserable with themselves ..

.. and they did not have the balls to admit it. So they tried (like any good Catholic) to blame all their unhappiness on me.

Here's my point » parental dysfunction can cause serious problems in ways you can't even imagine.

Many years later mom told me » "Honey, we made a lot of mistakes with you." (Mom was 19 when I was born.)

Bro is a surgeon. If you need an operation, I can get you a good deal. How's your hips? In the market for some titanium hips?

I hear that they are » "good for three million steps". So I can help.

Unrelatedly, but interestingly .. Bro once told me » "I make a lot of money fixing feet that podiatrists fuck up. If all the podiatrists went out of business tomorrow, I might starve."

» Moment of Clarity

I remember when I was 15, coming home after a wonderful workout with a friend .. feeling on top of the world ..

.. all bright lights and fun .. and walking into the kitchen, after getting dropped off one evening (..before I was old enough to drive). And the kitchen is dimly lit ..

.. and mom (who was standing at the sink) immediately starts giving me shit .. about not taking out the garbage. And other unforgivable shit .. that could not even wait for a "Hi," or a "Hello."

Or God forbid an affectionate query such as » "How are you, honey?"

The garbage was obviously far more important than me or how I might be faring in the world.

And I had opened my mouth to say something nice, that I thought would make her laugh. But before I could get the words out .. she started venting.

I remember being downright flabbergasted that she could bumm me the fuck out so fast .. and from such a high/happy level.

With my mouth still open, I could feel my emotional elevator plummeting. That is the moment that I knew .. that I had to » get the fuck out of there. At 15, I knew.

Country road in autumnHOW I did it .. how I got the fuck out of there did not really matter.

Only that » to stay here was to endure a miserable existence ..

.. living with people who cannot climb out of their emotional basement.

A dimly-lit emotional basement. Soul-sucking shit.

Able to suck the very life out of even the most enthusiastic souls. [ Cue up the soundtract of the noise that a straw makes when you get to the bottom of your drink. ]

I said (with more disbelief than disappointment) » "I can't believe you bummed me out that fast. I was feeling soo good when I came thru that door ..

.. You're amazing, mom. In less than a minute, you've dragged me down to your level."

I walked by her to go to my room and said, "Thirty seconds. You're good at what you do."

This is the woman who told me many times, "If you don't have anything nice to say, then it's better not to say anything."

Yes, she did strike me as a hypocrite (for that), but I was already beyond it.

Anybody that can drag me down so fast from so high obviously has too much power over me.

Sure, she knew that she'd misspoke. You could see it in her eyes. But for me, any regrets were inconsequential.

Rainy Day on a Red BenchThis might be a good place to drop a quote by Dostoevsky and his » definition of hell. Feel me?

Yes, you still love your parents. (Because they are your parents.)

But it is not fair when parents use their kids as excuses ..

.. to transfer the dissatisfaction about the things that they dont like about their own lives ..

.. onto their children. No child ever asked a parent to bring them into the world.

This is why I feel that any time a small child is emotionally distraught, it is the result of bad parenting.

But that's another story.

"Do you want mommy to find you a » new daddy?"

My mother once asked me, I was small, maybe three or four (who knows?) » "Do you want mommy to find you a new daddy?"

You dont forget questions like that. I mean, you have to process it. In order to arrive at an answer.

I thought about it for few seconds and said, "No."

My mom was crying .. sniffling. On a cold, rainy day. A little of the crying was still in her voice.

She was driving by the grade school that she went to as a kid. Near where her parents still lived. And cousins. And neighborhood friends.

I could write much about the thoughts that passed thru my head in those seconds .. but basically it was something like, "Maybe he has problems, but he's my dad. And I have no idea of who this other guy might be. He'll probably be more interested in you than in me."

In situations like these, it can sometimes be beneficial to paint with a negative brush. Here is a thought that did *not* pass thru my mind (in response to mom's question) » "Why would I ever want you to do something like that?"

My point » I knew *why* she was asking. (Think about it.)

Good thing for my brother that I said, "No."

Wolf howling at the moonBut their dysfunction clearly makes them not good for you to be around.

Maybe they can help it; maybe the can't. Who knows?

But it doesnt really matter (.. cuz you're » OUT of there).

Seriously insidious shit .. that you have to unscrew and re-screw your head back on ..

.. in order to get beyond.

The feeling is a result of what happens when you realize and acknowledge that this person is oozing a form of dysfunction that is toxic to you.

Sure, you wish it werent true. Of course. Who wouldnt? But that would be » denial.

[ Another thing that my mom said to me when I was young that I never forgot » "Honey, when you grow up, you want to get a job where you work with your mind and not with your back like your father does."

Me » "Okay." ]

What do you call people who are charming to others but nasty toward the members of their own family? Their so called "loved-ones." (Other than fucked-up. Or people with fucked up priorities.)

So maybe you can see why, during my high school years, I worked 44 hours a week .. seven days a week (.. at a gas station .. more hours than my dad worked at his full-time job .. even tho I was only "part-time" ) ..

.. so that I wouldnt have to be home .. except to shower and sleep. So I wouldnt have to be around those miserable, depressing, soul-sucking people. (My parents.)

Sure my grades suffered. But grades were never something that my folks complained about. And school presented me with little challenge, except how not to be bored out of my mind in the classroom.

Heck, I would have worked more hours .. if the owner would have let me.

He seemed surprised that I never bothered him about a raise. In other words » I wasnt there for the money.

» "Betty's in the back-room waiting for you"

These guys were fun to be around. Very. They liked me. I'm talking about the mechanics who worked at the service station. The garage.

I was in my teens. They were in their twenties. Big difference. The stories I could tell. Oy vey. Maybe some other time.

Remind me to tell you the one that begins with the statement (from one of the mechanics) » "Betty's in the back-room waiting for you. I put the cot down for you. I'll watch the pumps. Take your time. Remember what we told you."

Dude, when you are 17 .. a 23 years old girl is an older woman. I was petrified. Totally.

Italian stallions worked at this gas station. They were very comfortable around the ladies. Seemed liked hot girls were always coming and going. Very hot.

Groupies, you might call them. Specially in the summer. Specially on Fridays. Specially as the close-of-business approached.

The mechanics were always going on "test drives" with them. Harleys and Corvettes. Choppers and muscle cars. I've already said too much.

» A Telling Parental Vignette

There is a short vignette, which I could share here, that might shed light on my post-nuclear situation with my parents.

I had taken a week off from work .. to spend with mom, not long after I learned that she had cancer. (At first, you are in denial, because you are not able to deal with the thought of something so tragic.)

And you want to bring as much light and health to the situation as you can. And I stopped by the house, after driving down from Gram's, two minutes away, where I was staying.

And there is a thing on the TV that I cannot believe. I am not going to tell you what it was .. but, as I walked into the living room, I said (without thinking), "What are you watching?"

The famous shower scene in Hitchcock's PsychoTrust me, this crime-scene drama was as far from 'therapeutic' as you can get. I was shocked.

I mean, I wanted to light candles and play the harp for her ..

.. and read poetry to her.

I wanted to wisk her away to some alpine retreat somewhere, high in the mountans, so she could be closer to God ..

.. with chickens and ducks running around in the yard outside .. besides the babbling brook that feeds into the tranquil pond.

Not have her filling her consciousness with this (real-life) toxic shit.

Perhaps they had only been watching for a few minutes. I didn't know.

Or maybe they werent even watching at all. Maybe the TV was just making background noise.

And mom (with her bald cancer head) says, "Yeah, I dont want to watch this."

And that's when I could see that it had been dad who wanted to watch it. Because he said (obviously offended .. you could hear it in his voice), "Well, what should we watch then?"

At that moment, an interesting smorgasbord of feelings swirled around me, because it was not my objective to offend dad.

I was merely to try to get more-wholesome thoughts and ideas flowing to mom.

So I was disappointed to begin with. Because it's obviously not my job to tell my parents what to watch. And in that disappointed voice I said (because it was so obvious) » "Anything but this."

But I meant » "Anything but this sadistic shit would be more therapeutic for a woman with cancer. Why can't you see that, dad? What a fucking nightmare this place is."

I was probably 27 at the time and a voice seemed to say » "It's good that you got out of here when you did."

My impression of my dad is that he was a provincial man. That's probably the nicest way I can put it.

By that I mean, I never saw him read a book. Ever. Not even once.

Maybe he did, and I just missed it. But I dont recall him ever (not even once) reading a book. Even when he was home that time for a few months during the strike. (That suk'ed. Trust me.) Even after he retired.

I might be tempted to compare this with somebody like the Dog .. who has read many books. But I won't.

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants on the Hudson River in New YorkWhen I started making real money in nuclear power, I learned about stocks and the stock-market ..

.. so that I would might have something in common to talk about with him.

Since that seemed to be the only thing that really interested him.

So yes, I tried. But within a set of limitations that I found confining and maybe even chafing.

» "Dont begrudge your own son, you cheap fuck."

Speaking of chafing, my mother once told my father » "Dont begrudge your own son a glass of orange juice, you cheap fuck." Only she didnt say 'you cheap fuck'.

But that was certainly the implied gist of her statement .. when I wanted a second glass of orange juice that Saturday morning ..

.. when dad said, "Hey! That's stuff's expensive!"

The word » begrudge .. is defined by the American Heritage dictionary as »

  1. To envy the possession or enjoyment of: She begrudged him his youth. Synonyms » envy.
  2. To give or expend with reluctance: begrudged every penny spent.

When I was small, my tonsils were so bad that the doctors repeatedly advised my parents that I should have them out.

My father, not a particularly religious man, said » "If God didnt want him to have those tonsils then he wouldnt have given them to him."

I finally had my tonsils out while in the Navy the Navy hospital in Washington state.

But I couldnt help but think that he was just too cheap to spring for the procedure that many of my neighborhood friends had already had.

Certainly not something that any child would ever try to think about their parent .. so unpleasant the thought.

A » Taste of His Own Medicine

Mom was a first-born, oldest child. Like me. So, as you might imagine, we generally resonated well.

Dad, on the hand, was last-born of six (3+3). So it should not surprise you that .. he often took my (younger) brother's side ..

.. almost as if that were his default perspective of life. His default vantage point.

Call me crazy, but .. more than once I have thought » "don't take out on me the frustrations you may harbor from things your older brothers did to you." More than twice. "Don't punish me for shit they did to you." More than three times.

Why would I ever think such a thing? you ask? Maybe some other time, when we have more time. A lot more.

"You're older," pops said to me many times. "So you should know better."

Einstein | His Life and Universe (2007) by Walter Isaacson» "Dont be smart."

[ The only thing dad said to me more than this .. was » "Don't be smart."

Tho, I am confident that what he really meant was » "Don't be a smart-ass." [ or "sassy," you might say. ]

But, how can you not be something that you are? See my quandary? My predicament?

I am talking about those times when we would do crazy shit or stupid shit and break things .. just like every boy has done since little boys have been.

This is what little boys do .. they get into trouble exploring things .. cuz they are naturally curious and eager to learn new things. They get into trouble and they break shit. That as what boys do. That is their job description.

After mom died and her replacement moved in, there was naturally tension. Especially because it happened so quickly.

Bro was still there, but I am long gone, now in Pennsylvania. Both dad and bro are calling me .. telling me how awfully dreadful the other one is being and why ..

.. and they both went on for a long time .. and in great detail .. full of much emotion .. telling me their side of the story (conflict) ..

.. telling me why they are in the right and why the other one is being a total jerk. You know what I'm saying.

And after going back and forth like this for several times .. talking to one, then the other ..

I finally said to dad [ and i meant it genuinely ] » "Dad, you're older .. you should be more understanding."

Click. "Hello? Dad?"

Maybe now you can see why I thought » this man does not like the taste of his own medicine.

But when a parent hangs up on you .. or walks out of the room on you .. it makes you feel like they are being childish.

And if there's one thing that you dont want your parent to be's childish.

Another » Telling Paternal Vignette (ala Fyodor Pavlovich)

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)Another telling vignette with my father ..

.. came when he was trying to get the Catholic church to excuse his new wife's previous divorce and validate (bless, sanction) his civil marriage.

But the church refused.

And he was telling me (over the phone) how he donated "lots of" money to the building fund of the local church (there in Virginia).

I thought he would be able to appreciate the humor of the irony when I said, "So, what you're basically telling me is that you're living in sin?"

Click. "Hello? Dad?"

He could not. Can you see why this might be telling for me?

This is why I love Dostoevsky (.. who, if nothing else, was well-read). I can see much of my father in his father-character » Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov. (I wish I didnt.)

I sometimes feel like Dostoevsky (especially in the Brothers) rescues us from the insanity of our parents.

» Know Thyself, Bitch

The birthplace of Western civilization is famous for saying » know thyself (.. which today might be rendered by our modern twenty-first century culture as something along the lines of » know thyself, bitch).

And here is what I learned about myself » I do not like to be around people who drag me down when I'm feeling up. No.

Baloo & Mogli | Jungle BookRather, I like to be around people who can lift me up when I'm feeling down.

Is there something wrong with me?

Before you answer that .. let me first tell you about the time when I was pretty small. I dunno. Maybe 6 or 7.

And I asked my dad about *his* dad. That would be my paternal grandpa .. who I never met. Who died around the time that I was born.

And my dad got up and went into his bedroom. And I looked at mom and she said, "Your father doesnt talk about his father."

Now you dont have to be Sigmund Schlomo to see that something there aint right.

You reckon that 'something' might affect me (being a son)?

How can it not? How can it not? [ Know thyself. ]

Isnt life hard enough already?

Even as a young boy I was thinking » "I may not know what that means .. that my dad refuses to talk about his dad .. but I know it aint good. And I know it aint good » for ME."

If you are too upset to even talk about your dad (.. who has been dead for 6 or 7 years) .. to tell your son about his grandfather, who he never met .. that is not healthy.

His whole life, I never knew my dad to talk about his dad. Not even once. Ever. Is that unforgiveness? A bitter root?

And that walking-away thing .. going to his room .. does that not seem juvenile?

[ On the other hand, I discuss my mom's dad » here. ]

On the subject of Knowing Thyself .. I have noticed that I have a different sense of humor. From most other people. You can't help what you find funny. So it's an automatic type of thing.

Sometimes I am the only one laughing. Other times I see nothing funny when most others do.

This article (by Emma) reminded me of this. I find that so wickedly funny. "The Baldwin School of Ill-Advised Public Outbust." Tho I doubt most people would find this as funny.

[ I responded to another of Emma's posts » here. ] To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why I find that so funny. But I do. It feels so good to laugh hard.

Maybe it has something to do with her style contrasted off the style of Franco and Baldwin. Anyway, I seem to have a strange sense of humor.

» Reading the 16-Page Handwritten Letter at Dad's Funeral

Of course, all your family comes to the funeral, including dad's older sister, my aunt, who my folks had hired during my early high school years .. to cook and such. She was always making pies and cakes for bro and me.

Anyway, she has a LETTER .. a handwritten letter .. that dad had written to her. Sixteen pages. Numbered at the top-right with Roman numerals. Blue ink. Very blue. Not ball-point.

Now I am not going to quote anything (except what he wrote at the very end) .. but he is basically telling her that he is a dead man and he knows it. That he has no energy. No strength. And how badly it goes when he tries to do the simplest things.

It is dated Sunday, July 11. I will not share the year, but it doesnt really matter.

The writing goes all the way to the end of page 16. Sixteen full pages. Single spaced on white 8x10 lined paper.

Anyway, Aunt Julie gives me this letter .. there at dad's funeral. It is folded in thirds .. just the way he sent it to her in the mail. In the same yellow manila envelope that he himself addressed to her. In his own hand.

It is post-marked Richmond, Virginia and was sent to Julie's house in Connecticut, New Haven county.

Now entering .. the Twilight ZoneI mean, I am sitting there, looking at him up there .. laying in the casket.

(Lying there in the casket? Either way, he is looking very dead, which is the important part that I want to convey.)

While I am reading this letter .. that he-himself wrote. (My dead dad.) Written in his own hand, no less.

Such a trip. I can hear his voice as I read his words.

I don't know if I can explain it well enough for you fully grasp the head-torquing quality of that experience. Of that once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I still have the letter. It is sitting right here, next-to-me. (Here in California.) I am *touching* it now. Looks like it could have been written yesterday.

I somehow don't think that dad ever imagined that I would wind up with that letter. Tho it is actually very well written.

You definitely get what he is saying. (He knows he is gonna die and very soon at that, and that it's not gonna be very pretty, either.)

Mom was more into education, but dad was the one who had the brain-power. I get some of my writing aptitude from him. He could tell a story well.

He was smart, tho not very educated, beyond the basics. No college. Tho I wish he could have read some Joyce.

But the last thing he writes (to my aunt, his older sister) .. the very last thing .. at the very bottom of page 16 [ Roman numeral » XVI ] is » "Please pray for me. I am scared."

Tra-rippy's Ville. Rates very high on the weirdness scale. Twilight Zone, for sure. Do-do-do-do. Outer Limits. Do not attempt to adjust your set. Two of dad's favorite shows.

Perhaps now you can understand .. when I say that today when I read this letter .. I sometimes think of what Ezekiel » wrote here. "Behold, a hand was extended to me...which contained a scroll of a book .. and written on it were » lamentations, mourning and woe."

[ Is that not downright poetic? Beyond the gravity and severity that might accompany lamentations, mourning and woe. ]

» Potential Compatibility Problems

On the subject of parents .. do you think that a man who was raised in a home where the dad is in charge ..

.. is bound to have trouble in a long-term relationship with a woman who grew up in a home where the mom was in charge?

I am not comparing one style of home-life to another .. rather merely trying to anticipate problems ..

of what happens when a person with one type of comfort-zone tries to establish a meaningful relationship with a person whose comfort-zone is very different ..

.. as different as male is from female.

I have done much personal research (quite unintentionally, I assure you) into this particular situation .. and found the results to be .. well, perhaps I should not say.

Wow. That was a long sidebar. I could totally get off the porch here. But I won't. (I was just getting warmed up.)

So we're leaving Connecticut now and returning to Laguna Beach. ]

The end of » Do you want mommy to find you a new daddy?.

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on January 11, 2014 1:11 AM.

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