Archive for June, 2007

Love, straight from the fruit of his loins

Dear Daddio –dad-and-me-on-balcony.jpg

It’s only fair.  Ma got one of these letters on Mother’s Day.  So…being that it IS Father’s Day and all, I feel a few words are necessary here.  Words of thanks.  Praise.  Adulation.  But first, of forgiveness. 

You know how when someone has a slightly untoward facial feature, like a large hairy mole or a wickedly crooked nose, and they complain and long for surgical intervention but everyone around them says something like “Ahhh, keep the mole/nose, it builds character!”??  Well, and I mean this in the most loving and affectionate way, you were the hairy mole ON the crooked nose of my childhood.  And MAN did you build character!  Perhaps it was that you used to run around the super market screaming like a child with a large salami stowed away under each armpit.  Or that you somehow thought it permissible to fart loudly in public as long as you announced the arrival of your gaseous eruptions with the following statement:  “Shhh….do you hear that?  I think I hear the call of the yellow-bellied sap sucker!”  Or maybe it was that, during my formative years, you sized me up and said to me “Hmmm, maybe we should take some of that ass of yours and put it where your tits are supposed to be.”  And in the same vein, it might have been the fact that you just generally SAID out loud what most people would keep to themselves.   Like that time when I was in college and you told my dear childhood friend Miss LegsForMiles that you were “relieved to see what a lovely woman she’d grown into because you were worried for a while there…when we were younger she resembled a large, goofy, gangly giraffe.”  Yeah.  You built character alright!

But no single incident built more character than that one visit we made as a family to Boston Market.  For whatever reason, we were all in a sour mood that afternoon. So it certainly didn’t help matters when you ordered a Quarter Chicken Deluxe Dinner Meal only to look down at your plate and see a large drumstick where your quarter chicken should have been.  This, apparently for you, was The. Last. Straw.  This measly leg, you pointed out to the meek 17 year old behind the counter, WAS NOT WHAT YOU ORDERED…YOU ORDERED A QUARTER CHICKEN WHICH THIS LEG WAS CLEARLY NOT!!! THIS WAS MORE LIKE AN EIGHTH OF A CHICKEN, MAYBE A SIXTH, BUT CERTAINLY NOT A FOURTH!   After he crapped himself, the 17 year old managed to squeak out that this was Boston Market’s version of the quarter chicken.  And just as you were about to quarter the poor kid with a combination of your drumstick and sheer will (as a demonstration on the technique of quartering, of course), Mamacusa grabbed you and quietly begged you to get ahold of yourself. Reluctantly, and not without a huff, you took your chicken leg and sat down at the table.  We ate in silence except for the sound of mom’s forced smile (which read “Isn’t this nice?  We’re all together!  As a family!”) and your occasional grumblings about how no one on this god-forsaken planet knew how to quarter a chicken these days, honestly, what was the world coming to, anyway?  When lunch was over, we all got up to go back out to the car and when I looked back to make sure you were coming, I saw you make your way to the front counter, cut the line and demand to speak to the manager.  Mamacusa and Homeslice made a mad dash for the car as I froze in horror.  I thought your bulging neck veins were impressive, but when you stepped behind the counter uninvited, bare handedly snatched a whole chicken off the rotisserie, and quartered it with the knife from the manager’s hand, THAT was impressive.   

But, alas…while you did repeatedly create scenarios in which I would have gladly dived into the soft, purulent center of my biggest forehead zit to live out the rest of my painful adolescence, I have long ago forgiven you.  Afterall, it is you I have to thank for the depths of my obnoxiousness, for my rancid sense of humor (and my gas), and for my deep appreciation for a respectable serving size of chicken. 

And, actually, thanks in general.  Thanks for injecting a constant infusion of humor into the household.  Had you not been there, Mamacusa might have actually succeeded at having a dinner table around which no curse words were used.  Instead, when she’d reprimand us for swearing (which we only ever did with good reason, of course), you’d support her by adding, “She’s right!!  I never want to hear another motherfucking swear word spoken at my god damned dinner table ever again, coño!”  Any protest on our part was met with a stern wet willy (in which you stuck your index finger first into your mouth and then into our ear) or a sometimes-dry-but-often-damp willy (in which you ran your index finger under our nostrils and said “Guess where my finger’s been!”). 

Thanks, also, for being the kind of father that really made a vested effort to educate your daughter about the biggest threat to her mature development:  the adolescent male.  On my thirteenth birthday, you sat me down at the dining room table, the place where our family only had serious talks, and you looked me straight in the eyes and said, “I want to raise you like a man so that you never get taken advantage of by one.”  You then proceeded to tell me that I needed to know that there was one thing, and one thing only, that boys my age were thinking about:  SEX.  When I was fourteen, you sat me down and proceeded to tell me that you’d be remiss as a parent if you didn’t inform me that THIS year, there was one thing, and one thing only, that boys my age were thinking about:  SEX.  And so it went, every year, the same talk at the same dining room table…except for the year when I turned 17 and you let me know that that  year, the one and only thing boys my age were thinking about was ANAL SEX.  You really cleared up a lot for me, Dad. 

I have you, in large part, to thank for many of my successes growing up.  Mostly because I lived in perpetual fear of you showing up to my classroom or my school dance dressed as Bobby Brown, with a piece of cardboard and a boom box…to breakdance in front of my friends if I ever did anything wrong.  MAN did that possibility scare the shit out of me.  I think I might have even written about it as the basis of my motivation in my personal statement for grad school.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I got in because of it.

Frankly, I think you’ve proven that effective parenting can be achieved by keeping the potential for utter embarrassment and unmitigated mortification at a constant threat level.  (Our household was in a perpetual state of DEFCON 1.)  And per your fine example, I plan to embarrass my future children as much as possible.  And I’ll count myself successful if they don’t end up crack dealers and hookers.  Just like Homeslice and I didn’t.   

In all seriousness, thanks for sacrificing so much for your family.  You’ve never been a man of many words, but I always knew, deep down, that WE were your top priority (well, AFTER watching The Simpsons, which was your TOP top priority).  You always provided for us, and though we may not have always gotten everything that we wanted, we always had everything that we needed.  And above all, there was, and still is, the most important element of all:  Love.  In vast and heaping amounts and served in abundant quantities.  And now that Homeslice and I have been out of the house for several years, it’s nice to know that you’ve found La Italiana to share some of that love with.  Though…easy on the gas there, you might scare her away. 

Now, if you’ll kindly put down that cigarette which you are invariably smoking at this exact moment (and never pick one up ever again), I’d appreciate it.  I’d like to be able to enjoy many more years of your fatherly brand of humiliation. 

My sincerest thanks and utmost gratitude,
Te quiero muchisimo,
La Cubana Gringa

PS – I don’t think I ever want to know where your finger’s been, by the way.

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The madness featured here is mine and mine alone. It does not, in any way, reflect the madness of my employers, colleagues, patients, nutty family, or my colorful friends. The privacy of my employers, colleagues, patients, nutty family and colorful friends is sacred & deeply respected, so no names. All words Copyright © la cubana gringa, no method, just madness 2006-2010. All comments © their authors. Don't steal; it's not nice. (And my Grandfather knows people.)

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