With the Day of the Dads just around the corner, I contemplated (on the crapper, of course) about going a similar route with this pseudo-holiday that I did with Mothers’ Day but eventually decided against it. For one, fuck you guys. You didn’t push live people out of your vaginas. Suck it up-- just pretend you like the tie that Junior bought you and then go back to scratching your nuts while watching Nascar. Second, and most importantly, I’m really missing my own dad and thought I’d dedicate a post to him. I realize sentimental shit isn’t the norm for this blog, but consider this post to be my homage to Australian toilets and flowing in a different direction. Besides, this is my blog, I’ll post whatever the fuck I want. And the three people that read it won’t mind a bit. Popping a hemorrhoid over a less than poopy post isn’t what I pay them for.
|From left: Sister, Dad, Me. DUH.|
Anyway, this will be the 10th Fathers’ Day since my dad passed away. Doing that math made me realize that he’s now been gone for nearly a third of my life… and now the intellectually elite of this Butthole Brigade know how old I am. (Or WILL be; I’ve got a couple of months. Fuck off.) Memories have a way of fading fast if not hauled out and dusted off every once in a while, and my dad was a man worth remembering.
Here's some background on the man in the Shithead Spotlight, or at least as he pertains to me (because what else matters): my parents split up when I was 6 and I lived with my mom until I got all growed up and GTFO at the ripe old age of 17.
My dad told my mom he would only agree to name me Kimberly if I was always REFERRED TO as Kimberly. Not Kim, Kimmy, or any other abbreviation—I was to be KIMBERLY. My entire life he was the only one who EVER referred to me as Kimberly. Guess that plan backfired. Anyway, as always, I digress.
I spent nearly every Sunday with my dad, even after being out on my own—we simply enjoyed each other’s company. While I spent the majority of my time as a kid with my mom, I inherited most of my personality traits from my father. He taught me everything I needed to know to be functionally sick and twisted. He loved rock n roll and cheesy horror films, and pounded both into my brain until I quit crying and learned to like them too. He started his own adulthood as a factory worker, participating heavily in the labor union and working his way up their ranks. At the time of his death he had a fancy-schmancy title and represented a Carpenters’ Union that encompassed five states. Translation: He was a stubborn son of a bitch that didn’t take shit from anyone, or let people be kicked around by corporate craptards. This profession proved beneficial to yours truly when he was charged with disciplining me for taking part in (or organizing, who remembers the mundane details, really) a high school walk out that led to one of my glorious suspensions from that intestinal interruption of an institution. He tried for a few minutes to be mad, but eventually he caved and confessed he was proud of me—even if it was a stupid display of teen angst.
|I don't know where I got my attitude.|
Sundays with my dad were the coolest times when I was maturing from a tiny turdlet into a full grown coil of colon cable. He took me to gory R-rated movies, bought me the coolest new CDs regardless of (or maybe because of) “Parental Advisory” labels, and most importantly always made me laugh. It wasn’t all shits and grins though—he also made sure I knew the pertinent poop to make sure my butt boat would always float. He was adamant that no one person could EVER be judged by something as trivial as skin color, religion, or sexual orientation—instead everyone, equally, had the potential to be a total turdsicle.
I recently came across a homemade card my dad made for me on his computer. Judging by the quality of the printer and the software probably used to make the gem, I’m guessing I was roughly 12 at the time. I remember it well; he always bought my sister and I something small for the stupid holidays. That day was the Sunday after Valentine’s Day, and not only had he not given us anything, he hadn’t mentioned it. We sat watching TV and he disappeared into his office for a while. When he came back, he handed each of us a card (the one sheet of paper folded over kind) with a crappy clipart bouquet and the text “Happy 4th Day After Valentine’s Day” on the front and this gem of a poem inside:
I missed the day
but here’s a card
but I’ll buy you a gift
‘cause I feel like a ‘tard.
The back read simply “Best of all, it’s a Dadmark.”
Not that the gift-giving was ever stomach-sickeningly sweet; most Christmas mornings my sister and I sat helplessly on the couch while he flung unwrapped CDs are our heads.
* * * * * * <---- ASSterisks
My dad drew the short straw and was designated the duty (hahaha DOOTIE) of teaching me how to drive a stick. It was his own damn fault, he bought me my first car and it was a manual transmission. <insert ‘spoiled brat’ comments here> I can remember driving one day before getting my license as he quizzed me from the passenger seat. He asked all the basics; how many car lengths should you keep behind the shithead in front of you, when should you activate your blinker, blah blah blah. But then…
“What do you do if you’re driving 60 miles per hour on a two lane road and a semi barreling towards you crosses the yellow line into your lane?” he asked.
I drove on for a moment, bewildered. Thinking. Searching my memory banks for an answer. Finally all I could muster was, “I don’t know. What?!?”
“Stick your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye!”
Valuable life lessons, people.
* * * * * *
When I was 16 I forced my dad to take me to a couple of concerts. Sure, I went to hundreds of them. But there were a couple I only wanted to go to with my dad. The first was Def Leppard with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. (Shit yeah!) I remember DYING for a cigarette during the Joan Jett set, but I hadn’t ever smoked in front of my dad. Finally I couldn’t stand it any longer and mustered the courage to ask him if he minded if I lit up a butt. His response? “Sure, as long as you blow it in my face.” He had quit four years prior, but still loved the smell of a fresh cigarette. From that point until the point two years later when he was diagnosed with cancer, he always let us sit in the smoking section at restaurants and even bought me a pack/carton or two.
The second concert was the Black Crowes—and while an awesome show, I was craving a damn drink. While too skittish to sneak his teenage daughter a beer or two during the show, he did take me back to his house to chug a couple before taking me home to mom.
* * * * * *
I’m pretty sure my dad thought I was a lesbian throughout most of my teen years. While never shy to tell him at any age that I was nursing a killer hangover, I couldn’t bring myself to talk about “boys” with the man. Plus, since I was usually nursing a killer hangover on Sundays, I tended to dress in band t-shirts and corduroys and still to this day do not wear makeup. Stereotypical, sure; but my sister was more of the boy-obsessed girlie type so I was always in sharp contrast.
Finally when I was 17 and living on my own I decided to tell my dad about a guy I was dating. I really liked him (although it turned out the feelings weren’t mutual) and I wanted to “gush” I guess you would say.
I told him, “Dad, I’ve been seeing this guy.”
The response I got from my father: the 6’3”, nearly 300 pound man often mistaken for a terrorist: “There’s only one thing I want to know about a man who’s dating my teenage daughter.”
Me: <gulp> “What’s that?”
Dad: “What kind of beer does he drink?”
|Striking fear into the hearts of the wicked -- and the TSA.|
Don’t get me wrong, he was a caring man. He just loved to laugh… and taught me that it was important to be able to laugh at yourself. If it weren’t for that I would never be able to start a fecal-filled blog full of rants about my own brainfarts. In fact he was the first one who told me I should write. When I was a kid (junior high or early high school) I brought an assignment to his house to type. It was an extra credit assignment that I had to do to pass a class I’d been fucking off in. The task: take a selected group of math terms and incorporate them into a story. I guess you could say it was my first foray into fiction. I don’t remember any of the terms but I know it was a parabolic parody (See? I’m fluent in more than just poop) on the old evil mastermind meets accidental superhero tale. He read it as it came off the printer and laughed hysterically, telling me I had something. That I should pursue it. I remember his exact words: “Don’t wait for things to happen for you. You don’t want to look back and think you’ve wasted all those years when you had the talent all along.” I don’t know if I really have talent, but I do know I’ve wasted a lot of years wallowing in my own self-pity and shock over the loss of the strongest man I’ve ever known. Despite (or more than likely, because of) being a witty, sarcastic little shit my whole life I was still Daddy’s little girl. I was just the little girl who smoked, drank, cussed, and belched a lot… and he was the Daddy that dug that.
|Why Dads shouldn't do hair. And yes, that's Stroh's-Detroit River water at its finest.|
But if the last year is any indication, I’ve begun to pull myself out of the sewer of sorrow—and I’ve done it on my own terms. In the last 10 years I’ve fucked my life up A LOT. While I’m sure if he were still here to give me a strategically timed kick in the ass some of my mistakes may not have been quite so disastrous, but I still would’ve made them. They’re mine; I own them. And now I’m no longer hiding my demons. Sure, I’m still a shithead. But I’m a shithead who's raising her family right and giving her passion for writing a fighting chance. So here’s to you, Jack—I know you’d be proud of the turd I am today, and understand that there’s always kernels err hurdles to jump along the way—and if you fall on your face, the best thing you can do is get up and laugh about it. I love you, and happy Fathers’ Day.
|The body may weaken and die, the sense of humor remains. Dad--far right. 2 months before death.|