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My Visit with Divorced Dad: “Can I return to earth now?”

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Dad (biplane in hand circa 1930) during his Lucky Lindy airplane phase.

My father’s peculiarities were prodigious. Of course when you’re young and in thrall of your father, you see no peculiarities – it’s just Saturday with dad. So I never really noticed them till I got older. I knew he was a smart guy, but in many ways he was also a functioning non sequitur. And I attribute most of his eccentricities to his mother Helen’s benign malfeasance (I think she dropped him on his ego – a lot). Inside the bosom of this bleak and scolding woman beat a stingy heart pumping out precious little affection. Consequently, my forsaken father looked askance at all he surveyed and fought mightily to compartmentalize his wounded emotions. The poor guy. It turns out that choosing the right parents is a very important thing. Why so little is done about this is beyond me.

 

 

My dad was a depressed person, but he never visited his dysfunction on others. No “woe is me” from that guy. He just withstood the incongruities of life, waiting for someone, or some entity, to respond to his bedrock assertion, “I never asked to be born.” My dad’s philosophy was a slightly darker version of Disney’s. Whereas Disney might be the happiest place on earth, to my dad, life was “the inconvenient-est place on earth.” In his eyes life was such a bother, for something so inconclusive. For better or worse, some of his nuanced take and skewed analysis didn’t fall too far from the tree.

 

 

My dad was not a hater. He was a withstander. He was the Chuck Norris of enduring things he’d rather not contend with. And I loved him because, because…oh, I don’t know why. It’s just what you do in this universe of God’s trickle-down Lovenomics. I mean the Almighty is rollin’ in the stuff and we (his adoring children), residing far down stream, get the briny runoff – just enough to hydrate us and motivate us to search for its source in hopes of further slaking our cosmic thirst. Enough I say! I rise up and proclaim “Occupy God,” but that’s perhaps another story I’ll write at another time. For now, this quaint and foible-filled feature is what I want to share with you.   

 

 

I’ve chosen to highlight only one of Dad’s oddities because if I listed them all, this chronicle would need to be retitled The Never Ending Story. The following goofily aberrant father-son playdate was indicative of his refracted perspective. In 1970, in the midst of their divorce, my caring, warm-hearted mother arranged a Saturday night sleepover for me with my father. She had to arrange it because he sure as hell wasn’t capable of organizing it himself. Though he may have desired some quality time with his adolescent son, he was genetically incapable of doing anything that wasn’t statutorily required or absolutely necessary for survival. Bowing to convention would be anathema to this man of apathetic appetites – plus it would be way, way too inconvenient. Read the rest of this entry »