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the sins of the Father

March 24, 2007

my father left us when i was 4 years old.

my brother was just a newborn.

and i am living proof of just how much genetics can influence a person’s life

for without his physical presence to influence me

i became just like him.

:: 

my father was many things.

shiftless.

womanizer.

soldier.

thief.

deadbeat dad.

he spent time in jail. in fact he spent many times in jail.

and he spent no time with me

i often had questions. questions my mother never wanted to answer, though sometimes, when her conscience got the better of her, she did.

otherwise, i had to contact more distant family members to find out what i wanted to know.

and the more i learned, the more i was able to understand him.

in the end, i had no overwhelming urge to track him down and tell him i loved him. but there did come a time i wished i could have looked him in the eye and told him i didn’t hate him.

i lost that chance forever the summer of my 18th year.

i was working up in new york as a groundskeeper on a largish piece of property that actually straddled new york, new jersey, and delaware.

my people all lived in virginia

my father was found in the carolinas.

or rather his body was found.

he’d been on the run from the law and i guess he got tired of running. on an old backwoods road in south carolina, he put his old .45 in his mouth and pulled the trigger. he was dead two weeks before they found him. the august heat and the closed in space of the truck cab ensured a closed casket (along with the use of several body bags to control the stench).

i came back from new york on the first thing smoking to attend the funeral of the man who provided half the raw material for who i am. my brother refused to go.

i met my half sister for the first time beside our father’s casket. we didn’t speak. though her mother tried to talk to me at one point (for the life of me i have no idea what she tried to say).

i thought of that day many times in prison.

i thought of how much like him i had turned out to be.

but i never once blamed him for how i turned out.

that i laid squarely on my own shoulders.

you see, genetics can only take you so far. then it quickly becomes a matter of choices. one choice builds on another builds on another until next thing you know you’ve built a life out of thousands and thousands of little and big choices.

and it was on a prison yard one day that i decided not to live another day in my father’s skin.

i acknowledged the ways that i was like him. i acknowledged the natural inclinations. and then i begain to bend those inclinations towards my own ends.

i love women.

i always have. women were something of my addiction at one time (luckily for me i’m not better looking, so i didn’t get into toooo much trouble on that front).

that was me.

left unchecked that was the part of me that had a disastrous potential to harm any woman i ever tried to love.

it was the first of my father’s aspects that i tackled deep down inside myself. i knew i couldn’t change this inclination. i didn’t want to. i knew i just wouldn’t be me without it.

hell, me without a deep abiding love for women 

would be like a gay man with no *fabulous!*

so, i simply started looking at it from different perspectives, wondering how i could still be me without letting it harm someone i cared about. and in the end the solution . . . my solution . . . was absurdly simple.

i turned all that interest, all that attention, on one womanm :: the woman who ultimately became my wife.

and i am never bored.

i have made it my business to know her. really deep down know her, of course, but also on the surface. i catch myself thinking about her all the time. sometimes at the weirdest times. sometimes in some pretty weird ways.

and it may sound funny, but it is a very satisfying way to live. to throw yourself wholly into one person with all your heart and to daily discover that there is still more to discover.

my wife is constantly surprising me.

she doesn’t intend to, but she does. and it’s awesome.

if i live to be a hundred i suppose she will still fascinate me.

just a couple weeks ago she reintroduced me to kissing. yeah, yeah, i know. that’s something you’re supposed to cover long before the wedding, and trust me, we covered it thoroughly.

but over the past couple years we had begun to content ourselves with less.

i’d bloody well forgotten how fun it can be to just . . . kiss.

::

as an added bonus, it embarasses the kids 8)

and that’s okay. they can feel embarassed.

but they’ll never know what it feels like to watch me walk away. 

::

it is true, i am my father’s son.

but i am not my father.

i have inherited some of his habits, some of his outlooks, his ways of thinking.

but my decisions – what i do with that inheritance

that’s all me.

 

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2007 22:52

    This is *awesome* writing. The spacing, the bold text, the rawness. Really, really awesome. Maybe one day I’ll catch my groove like this.

    Plus, the best one liner *ever* : hell, me without a deep abiding love for women would be like a gay man with no *fabulous!*

    I may steal it. Just warning you.

    Well, minus the loving women part.

  2. March 24, 2007 23:54

    Hi,

    Your post about your father struck a chord in me – i can relate to what you must have gone through while deciding that you are a person of your own and seperate from your father, even though you may have some traits like him. It is a very powerful and empowering choice – congratulations! You are a very strong person, and a man of great integrity in character – I can say this from what little I have read on your blog.

    Madhavi

  3. March 25, 2007 07:59

    That’s a wonderful post.

  4. March 25, 2007 08:18

    @lyricalFool
    minus the loving women part? but that whole line from a woman would rock so much more than it did from me!

    as for the bold lines, those are mostly just to keep folk’s eyes from getting bored. prevents *skimming*

    @All
    ty for the comments. i’m glad that post resonated.

  5. March 25, 2007 09:06

    my hubby’s father walked out when he was 6
    I am certain that he could relate to much of what you have written

    {{{{ }}}}

    Mama Kelly

  6. March 25, 2007 10:39

    Interesting. Because of your spacing and bold, your prose reads like poetry.

    ::learning mode on::

    LOL@ loving women — I may try it in its entirety just for a reaction.

  7. March 25, 2007 11:50

    😉

  8. March 26, 2007 01:55

    There are lots of unkind things genetics passes on. You wrote perfectly, what countless people out there will feel were the words that gave them their day in the prison yard.

    Thank you for writing this.

  9. March 26, 2007 09:16

    What a powerful post you have written. Truly awesome. I really liked what you said about genetics only taking you so far, the rest being about choices. That is 100% true. It irks me when humanity scapegoats itself with genetics and syndromes and the like.
    Great post, powerful stuff.

  10. March 26, 2007 09:50

    thank you, everybody, for your comments.

    honestly, when i wrote this i didn’t expect it to strike the chord it obviously has and i find myself feeling a little squishy and embarrased (in a good way, i guess) over all the responses. 😉

    i’m glad so many people liked this post.

    and now (winks @ fracas) i must gird my loins and hurl myself into the fray! it’s time for the mondayMelee’!

    *insert medieval tournament horns here*

  11. March 26, 2007 14:57

    Oh my… what a wonderful post! I’d like to know if I can share this or link it at another site I go to which requires membership. Would that be okay with you?

    Joy

  12. March 26, 2007 15:06

    absolutely.

    link away. (be a bit silly to blog my life on the internet and expect it not to get around-but thanks for asking just the same)

  13. March 26, 2007 21:30

    This gave me goosebumps. Good job, man!

  14. May 6, 2007 04:09

    When I read this post I suddenly realized that blogging is the everyday person’s way of writing for the public, a way of becoming an author – but just with a different format. If you wanted to, if you had the inclination, if you had the time – you could write a novel (based on your own experience but maybe fictionalised). You certainly have a distinctive voice. I’d read it.

    Ok, you may be thinking, why bother when you can blog to your hearts content? The answer is (especially since you are struggling job-wise at the moment) money, dosh, readies, moolah, dough, spondulicks, bucks, smackers …..

    Let me know if you take up the challenge! I’m issuing it now!

  15. May 6, 2007 10:22

    tell me how one goes about actually getting published J. because that is my actual challenge. that is my roadblock.

    i would love to write professionally.

    hell, that might be the one career where doing time looks *good* on a resume

  16. May 6, 2007 11:20

    I think having done time would not only look good on a resume – but would also give you an insight into things that many ordinary people never get to see but would be fascinated by (e.g. life in prison).

    It is best to base your first novel on things you know a lot about, unique insights etc. Something that will give you the edge. “Juggling Cats” would be a really interesting title for a novel. You could tell it in the first person by inventing a character for yourself and then writing in his voice as if he is telling the story!

    You should write the book first before worrying about publication. Some people start but don’t have the determination or skill to see it through. it is arduous and time consuming to do. You should start with a general idea of your story line from beginning to end. Then decide the order you want to tell it in – it’s best not to go neatly from A – Z. more intersting to go backwards and forwards in time. Then make a list of what you want in the individual chapters. Then – just have a go, literally start writing!it doesn’t need to be like anyone elses style – just be yourself (I think you already have a unique style of your own.)

    If you write it – i’ll tell you how to get it published – that’s a promise!

  17. May 6, 2007 13:06

    deal

  18. May 26, 2007 14:48

    It’s just amazing how open and honest you are with yourself and with others. This is absolutely an amazing blog and an amazing post and you really should listen to that other girl about gettting published. You rock man. Keep on blogging Keep on writing. Keep on rocking.

  19. May 26, 2007 14:51

    dUde, have some fucking self rEspect. fAgg. gRew up without a fAther. bOoooo hOoooo. nO one wants to read this sHit. fAggot.

  20. May 26, 2007 16:21

    @claudine
    ty. glad you like

    @blarney
    well, aren’t you the intelligent beautyschool dropout.

    i’ll see that self respect and raise you a can of *bet you wouldn’t have the balls to say that to my face*

    go crawl back under your rock, dude

    nobody cares

    internet anonymity = brave beyond your balls

Trackbacks

  1. On being a good example. « fracas
  2. we are only as weak as our deepest Secrets « j u g g l i n g C a t s

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