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Father Envy

March 26, 2012

So, as I was laying on the massage table at the Korean bathhouse this afternoon, I started thinking about my friend Molly’s father. No, not in that dirty “happy finish” kind of way you’re thinking. Sheesh. You people really need to get cable TV. Lord. It’s Sunday. I need to bitch about something. It’s my religion. For today’s burnt offering what I was thinking about is how lucky Molly is to have such a great and enthusiastic father. And how bitterly envious I am of that little fact.

I first met Molly’s father back in November when he drove a couple thousand miles to be with her when she completed her first cycling century ride in Tucson. Her dad is the kind of guy who will give his kid a ride 1000 miles to their after-school activity and then spend an afternoon accidentally becoming a Twihard at the matinee performance of “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I” waiting for his daughter to finish her ride. Yesterday I spent some time with Molly’s dad when he again drove a couple hundred miles to spend his Saturday as support staff for our cycling team. He hung out all day feeding hungry cyclists peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and giving people, like me, with broken bikes, a ride back to their cars. He was cheerful, enthusiastic, and beaming with pride over his daughter’s new found hobby and achievements. He was, essentially, being a great dad. You can see where I might have been a bit enamored.

I know a few men who are good Dads, and a few more who really give it a good college try. However, I know even more men who are awful dads. I was raised by a few of those. My father-in-law is a great dad. Dave’s stories of his childhood are chocked full of the tales of having a father who gave a good Goddamn about his kids. He was thoughtful when need be and stern when called for. He’s the father who will spend his Christmas holidays fixing up his kid’s home or playing golf with his sons. Whatever the call to action, he’s there and ready to roll-up his sleeves. I would have liked to have had him for a father too. Frankly, I would have liked to have had pretty much anyone’s dad as a father in lieu of the ones I got.

Sure I had some good father figures to act as stand-ins over the years. My grandfather was a great man and a good parent, but he wasn’t supposed to be my father, he was supposed to be my grandfather. Trying to be both put a lot of responsibility on a man who really just wanted to spend his retirement spoiling his wife and his grandkids. My uncle Corb did the best he could to play at being a positive male role model. But, again, it wasn’t his job to be my dad. His job, which he excelled at, was to be the great uncle who scored me booze and sneaked me cigarettes and encouraged me to just be the surly bitch I am.

My mother, bless her poor-misguided soul, has the worst possible taste in men. No. Really. Quite possibly worse than yours. My father, whom I’ve not seen in 27 years, would be better equated to a sperm donor. Only in the 1960’s women had to marry their donors rather than get it from a deep freeze repository in a medical building like my sister Reese and her wife did for their kids. Ah. Science. My father abdicated his parental role early on, and while there were occassional fits and starts with my sister Parrish and I trying to establish a realtionship with him over the early years, in the end, it was a moot point. Our “father” couldn’t rally a floral arrangement when Parrish was dying. Yeah. Frankly I’d prefer an unknown donor and origins in a Petri dish.

My mother married a second time, when I was young, in the quest to provide a paterfamilias for the burgeoning Amazon dynasty. Yet again, she missed the mark. She brought home a man whose penchant for irrational anger came with a side of order of mean and an extra helping of nasty. While providing the sperm for two more daughters he tormented us for the better part of a decade with his own special kind of charm. It’s been over 30 years since their divorce and yet we still get the occasional missive from him filled with the charm and warm parenting advice one expects from a father.

    All you are is a vindictive, dishonest, hateful, insulting person, with no manners and no mercy, and no class. So go climb back under your rock, and leave the innocent people and children of the world alone.

Leaves you feeling all kinds of warm and fuzzy doesn’t it? So, I don’t suppose you’ll blame me if I, from time to time, wax envious of the girls like Molly who got to pick their dad from the Ward Cleaver collection. Now shut up. The nice Korean lady was just about to scrub my breasts with a Brillo pad.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 26, 2012 1:51 pm

    Ah, Surly. You speak for so many of us. Except you say it so much better than most of us could.

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