Follow Me

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Other F Word

When I found out that my wife was pregnant, I was scared shitless.  I had always wanted to be a father.  But, at the same time, I had always wanted to NOT be a father.

My childhood sucked.  My dad abandoned us kids early on in my life.  He never walked out, but he was never there.  I saw him every night.  Sitting in a chair in the living room.  Wearing only a pair of shorts.  Asleep, and snoring so loudly, that we often had to turn the volume on the television all the way up.

When it came to making a living, the man worked his ass off.  He had an amazing work ethic.  I can't remember a single time that he took a sick day from work.  He was a machine.

He would come home from work, and leave all initiative and motivation at his job.  The only time he talked to us was usually when we were getting whipped with his belt.  My mom was my mother and my father.  My dad was a sperm donor that kept showing up for dinner.

I have two good memories of my father.  They are both when I was four.  Looking back, my life would have been much better, had he "gone out for cigarettes" when I was little, and never came back.  I often think about how different my life would have been had he left.

When Elle was on the way, I was terrified that I would become my father.  I had always promised myself that I would never be like him.  My goal in life was to be the opposite of what my father was to me.  So far, I'd like to think that I'm doing pretty well.

As Father's Day rolls around, I can't help but think of Everclear's 'Father of Mine'.  I usually try to avoid listening to it, because it reminds me of my dad.  In a lot of ways, the song is a spot on account of my life.

If you haven't had a chance to see it, I highly recommend watching a documentary called 'The Other F Word'.  It profiles a number of musicians, mostly from various punk bands, about the challenges of fatherhood.  Many of these guys were raised in homes without a father.  Those who did have dads at home, had a rocky relationship with them, at best.  Some of the artists interviewed ran away from home at an age of 12 or 13.  They had no positive role model or example of how to be a dad.  It was a matter of figuring it out as you go along.  And, somehow, they made it work.

YouTube has a copy of the movie.  It has hardcoded Spanish subtitles.  But, after a while, you practically forget they're there.  You might want to grab some tissues before watching it.  I cried through the whole movie.

It's a good reminder that you are not your father.  I am not distant.  Or emotionally unavailable.  Or an alcoholic.  Or abusive.  I am not going to be a series of bad memories in my kid's life.  My daughter will not look back and think of me like I think of my dad.  Ever.

1 comment:

  1. I love the part near the end where Jim Lindberg says something to the effect of "I came to the realization that the most punk rock thing I could do is raise good kids." It's a wicked way of seeing the world and rationalizing the punk rock ethos with something positive. Great post.