Friday, April 5, 2013

To My Father... an open letter...

Hey dad,

It's been a while since we last spoke. To say our paths will never cross again would be illogical. Even as big as world as this is, it's bound to happen sooner or later. But in the event that doesn't happen, I felt it was important for some type of closure.

First and foremost, know that I don't wish bad things on you. But in that same breath, I don't wish you well either. Things are what they are just as the sun rises and sets. And if I were anything but honest, then I'm no more than the two-faced hypocrites that I've come across and hate. So you'll have to excuse me if the things I write sting.

Before I go on, there's something I feel you should read:
"I'm not going to stand here before you and tell you this was something easy to write. On the contrary, I found this the most difficult speech I've ever had to put together. My father was a friend to some of you... and family to others. I can't help but think as I look around the room and wonder if I'm exactly the right person to be up here. Being his only son, that leaves me no choice."

That's an excerpt from a eulogy I wrote. I got the idea from a show I saw. It got me thinking about what I would say at your funeral in light of our... separation. It sits put away. Saved. I came across it again after I finished it, and read it... and read it again... and again... and I contemplated sealing it in an envelope and ripping it up. If you ask me why, I really couldn't tell you. It just... seemed like I should. But I put it away. Because I realize that reading it from time to time is the only thing stopping me from fully hating you.

That should tell you something. When that day comes that I have to stand before everyone and read it, I want you to know... right now, while you still can... that I do not intend to tarnish your image to them on your deathbed. It's somewhat not my character to have respect for the dead. I  mean, don't get me wrong, I don't go around dancing on graves and pissing on tombstones. But believe it or not actually, being one that is quick at the lip and sharp at the wit, I really never knew how to deal with death. So, trust me when I say that what I wrote is nothing but good things.

There's one other excerpt I want you to see from it:
"'You will make my strength your own, and see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father, and the father the son.'"

It's a quote. That was the last thing that Jor-El said to his son Kal-El (who, on our world, became known as Superman). You were my father. And I've accepted that. Truth of the matter is, I wouldn't be me if it weren't for you. And I'm not necessarily talking in the scientific-biological DNA way. I mean in the "Do as I say, not as I do" way. It's not to say you were abusive, and unloving, and absentee father. On the contrary, you were the exact opposite. Which is great... but not enough. I know, I'm being selfish cause there's many others out there who have it worse. But you know what, from time to time, I... like everyone else... deserves to be selfish. And deserves to get their way once in a while. Not spoiled. But once in a while.

I don't know, maybe I had high expectations. Maybe I was imagining the ultimate role of Danny Tanner and you just didn't live up to the hype. But aside from pretty much just being around, what did you teach me? What lessons did I learn in life? I mean, for fuck sake, ask me the last time I saw both my parents smiling and embraced in each other's arms. You know what that does to a kid? I mean I'm 30 now, I'm past it, so please, by no means should you try and make up for it... but being 5... 8... 10... 13... seeing all my friends parents being... you know... a fucking family... the fact that I didn't turn out like some maniac school shooter is nothing short of a miracle.

Strength. That's what Kal-El... Superman... got from his father. I guess in a way, that's what I got from you. From seeing your bad habits... realizing that's not the man I want to grow up to be... realizing I can do more good as a savior than a beggar. I don't really care to go into it all too much because it's only going to void out your eulogy more-so than these past few years have.

I want you to know something else about me... your son: I have struggled, and fought, and worked, and dug, and bled, and teared, and sweat, and scrambled for everything in my life. For what it's worth, I thank you for that. Because as I look around, and I see friends that got their first second-hand car when they got their license, or who got to live in the basement rent-free, or who got to have everything in life handed to them, you taught me responsibility... albeit, inadvertently. It's how you taught me that's fucked me up. If you had prepared me early in my years, then maybe we'd be in a different place right now. But it wasn't until I was well into my 20s that I realized, 'Holy shit... my actions now are what pave out my future.' And I had to struggle, more than I probably should have. So... for what it's worth... thank you... thank you for raising a fuck up. I don't know if you know this, but I was supposed to graduate high school six months early. But I bombed a whole semester, and never recovered. I can't help but think what doors that could have possibly opened for me. But I'm not going to put that on you. It was entirely my doing.

One thing you did teach me that I'll never forget and will be sure to pass on (when I can) is to learn a trade, and set it aside. You said because when all else fails, you have something to fall back on. And with that, you taught me how to use tools and work in construction and home improvements. But I didn't stop there. As you know, I've also learned the art of illusion, and the have acquired the skill of writing, and the talent of acting, and so on and so forth. Oh, and another thing I'll never forget, you started teaching me to drive at nine years old. But I'm thirty now. Thirty. And those are the only two things I can brag about. You know how many times I can remember playing catch with you? Once. On Roosevelt Island.

Geez, I've rambled on. I won't take up much more of your time. Trust me, there's so much more I can write, but it's a lot of stuff you already know. A lot of stuff you can safely assume is the reason of our fallout. I mean, think about the last day we actually spoke. The last day we actually saw each other. That should be enough. Consider it the straw that broke the camel's back.

You weren't a bad father. Don't take it as that. You did what you could. And as I said, in doing that, you taught me a valuable lesson. You taught me exactly who not to grow up to be. So for that: thank you. And again, To say our paths will never cross again would be illogical. Even as big as world as this is, it's bound to happen sooner or later. But that's not how I want to close this letter. Instead, I am going to close with a lyric from a song by Simple Plan:
"Cause we lost it all... nothing lasts forever; I'm sorry I can't be perfect...
Now it's just too late... and We can't go back; I'm sorry I can't be perfect."

Your Son