Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Like Father, Like Son

Yes, the title is from an obscure 1987 comedy starring the late Dudley Moore and Kirk Cameron. We, of course, had it on VHS, as my mother owned numerous films on tape and we were kind of like Bruno Blockbuster. Again, for you kids, VHS is an acronym for Video Home System. You see, you had to place a cassette tape in a "VHS player", then watch it, then, if you wanted to re-watch it, you needed to rewind the damn thing and wait at least 5 minutes. Shit. The video quality was also subpar when compared to today's "4K HD 1080p holy shit the football players are in my living room" video clarity, we all take for granted. But, I digress. So, today's blog is about my dad, Art, Art-man, Dad, or as my mother affectionately calls him: "Art, you asshole." I honestly thought that was his name until I was eight years old.
My father came down this past January to keep me company and we were able to catch up on a few things. I've mentioned him in previous posts, and the lasting impact he's had on me to "do the right thing" and be a "good man." He's a rare father figure, born in 1945, counting on my fingers, that's almost 71! He's lived through the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90...you get the point, and he still maintains a moral compass that I've yet to really see in anyone male his age or younger. Examples? As I'm sure you're asking, well, I have a few...
Having married my mother, a strong independent woman, whom I'll address in another post, my father was above the sexism that usually permeated his generation and era. If he really wanted a woman who kept her opinions to herself and cooked in the kitchen, then he clearly wouldn't have married my mother. So, I'd like to think of my father as progressive in that sense. Of course, my mother's general "take no shit attitude" rubbed off on my father after 45 years, but, I'd like to think that some of his rational, less than aggressive approach to conflict has rubbed off on her...wait, no, it hasn't.
My father never drank, although he did smoke for 6 months in high school, he was a good son to his mother, my grandmother, Rose, staying with her and keeping her company in an empty house; as he was the youngest of four and felt it was the right thing to be with his mother. He's an intelligent man, reluctant to take praise for his accomplishments or simply doing what needs to be done in the face of darkening adversity. He seeks no joy in humiliating others, just simply talking to them and being a decent person.
So, yet again...what's my point? I believe, on some level, all men eventually become their fathers. I see it in myself at 34. I sound like him, I make noises like him, creaking, cracking, snoring, I hum like him, I have his ears, I even am starting to grow the "Bruno Sunroof", i.e. balding, if I didn't shave my head. It's funny, my dad use to read the Poughkeepsie Journal on weekends in the living room, and I would remember putting my hands on his face to touch his stubble and thinking how scratchy it was; I get that same feeling when my stubble grows in, or if I ever shave my beard. I feel my face, but at the same time I feel my father's. I catch myself saying things he would, words of wisdom or insight. But most of all, I try to keep my moral compass straight, just as he's done many times, even though I've faltered in the past...a lot..I need it now more than ever.

Art and Nick

Nick

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