Skip to content

modern day Bastards :: a father's day Post

June 12, 2007

daddy gave me a name,
my dad, he gave me a name . . .

. . . and then he walked away

Everclear :: Father of Mine


modern life being what it is, bastardy doesn’t carry the red-letter stigma it once did.

just because mom didn’t marry the bloke who offered up his DNA on the altar of your existence doesn’t mean you are destined to become a social outcast with no accepted place in the world or even a name to tie you to your history.

dad might even decide to be a part of your life.

he might even live @ the house, unmarried, but still your dad and still the man mama likes to boink.

or he may be some guy you never knew . . .

. . . and maybe never will

the social stigma may be somewhat less, but when dad goes gone the emotional wreckage is still there to f*ck up your life.

my own father was much like the dad in the song quoted above.

he gave me his name . . . and then he was gone.


as a kid, i just sublimated it and moved on with my life.

it didn’t *bother * me on any kind of regular basis, and by the time i was a teenager i’d developed some weird theories on dead-beat dads, the most bizarre of which, perhaps, was *what’s the big deal? *

my mom loved us and she bent over backwards to make us a family despite the dynamic.

well, if it didn’t *bother * me, my father’s absence certainly affected me.

there is something to the old wheeze about *those who do not know their history are destined to repeat it *

and as i grew into adulthood, with only my mother’s parental influence to guide me, i did indeed start replaying my father’s life.

all through my life i had asked about my father, and my mother always hesitated to give me any real answers. it hurt her that i even asked. but during my first stretch in prison, she came to realize that it might be better if i knew who and what my father was.

by that time he had committed suicide, so i had no way to go to the source.

i was appalled and morbidly intrigued to realize how alike my father and i were. to see how much we had in common despite the fact that he played such a minor role in my life.

yet for all that, i still felt i was my own man.

it wasn’t until my second stretch in prison that i began to ask myself if my situation was irredeemably hereditary, or if i had a chance to do something different.

to BE something different.

i decided i did, and began making the necessary changes immediately.

now i am a father myself.

i sacrificed no DNA to get my kids, and on occasion i have to share them with another man, but i still get to make the little daily sacrifices that are so much more satisfying.

my brother and i grew up modern day bastards ::

we could claim the name but never the man

it is my daily prayer that my own kids never feel that feeling. that emptiness. that weirdness that comes from not knowing your place in the world . . . not knowing your history.

i hope they never know what it’s like to feel incomplete . . .


from psalm 68 (kjv)

v4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.

v5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

v6 God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

(quoted from emphasis mine)


i thank god daily for the life he’s given me

for the example i had, even if it was a negative one

and the chance to prove i maybe learned something from that example. a better way.

and while it may be an amazing thing to be able to claim the promises that makes of god a father to the fatherless, i have no intention of abdicating my privilege in raising these kids.

god or the devil wants them, they’ll have to go through me to get there.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2007 10:18

    My father was a ‘nam zombie who killed himself when I was 8. Probably the only thing he ever did right.
    People always feel sorry for me when they learn about it. I wish they wouldn’t. He was a miserable, insane man. The hurt stopped a long time ago, if there ever was any.
    I’m still angry, but I’m angry about alot of things. Sometimes I need the distraction of things I cannot change.
    I enjoy fathers’ day greatly. I don’t have that phone call to remember, the card and gift to buy. I can spend the whole Sunday doing what I want to do, and if someone tells me I should be more productive with my day, I only have to say “it’s fathers’ day. my father killed himself when I was 8”, and they feel sorry for me and leave me alone. Sometimes they buy me icecream.

  2. June 13, 2007 12:51

    well, if you cannot use vicarious guilt to obtain free ice cream, what’s it good for?

  3. Red permalink
    June 13, 2007 13:55

    *sigh* This saddens me.

  4. damewiggy permalink
    June 13, 2007 16:45


    You’re a brave man. You’re a man now.

    Cycle broken —-> cycle recycled.

    Courage trumps history.

    Equals proud children.

    Cycle recycled.

    One of the best posts i’ve ever read. Kudos. And then some.

  5. June 14, 2007 11:00

    I think that as parents, we always want to be better parents than ours were, even when we had super-duper, awesome parents, and especially when they’re not.

    And as I’ve lamented on the road Again

    sometimes they don’t have to be dead for us to still hold that anger, and not have anything to do with it. I will probably explore that anger when I ever do get into therapy, but for now, let me say that your post, Stephen, is an obvious homage to your abilities AS A PARENT, biological or not, that you recognize that there’s shit in your past and you will not repeat the cycle.

    THAT, above all else, makes you an awesome parent. Bastard or not 🙂


  1. on being a *real* Man « j u g g l i n g C a t s

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: