Category Archives: Family

Sighs of Regret

It’s a good thing that I’ve pretty much given up on trying to meet my goal of 365,000 words this year, or I’d be feeling fairly down on myself for having fallen so far behind. And it’s a good thing that I haven’t been spending a lot of time pondering my decision to leave a job which (though I was being underpaid) covered my expenses so that I could get myself into debt and wind up working a $9/hr job with less than 30 hours a week, because I might start to get really worried about how I was going to make it this time around. But the fact is that I needed the break which I allowed myself to take, and it was nice to get back to doing something that I actually wanted to do, for a change. I knew that it would be nearly impossible to try to write while working a full-time gig, but it turns out that even trying to steal away a few moments throughout the week is proving hard enough. I’d been thinking that at least I’ll have a little more time to be by myself when David goes back to school, but by then, I’ll either have a different job (one which will most likely not afford me the opportunity to work in the wee hours), or have been promoted (which means a switch to full-time in addition to a raise in my hourly wage), which means that the time I have right now, when David would otherwise have been at school, will still be unavailable to me.

As for my source of employment, there’s not a whole lot to report upon right now. I am still being groomed for that promotion, which basically involves throwing more work and responsibility at me without any change in my rate of pay or the number of hours for which I am scheduled on a weekly basis. I’m convinced that the guy in charge is completely useless, and that it probably wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world for me to try to find something else sooner rather than later. My department is slowly flying apart, as more and more people are growing increasingly frustrated with the current state of management, which includes an increased workload as more and more people leave, and the general manager refuses to get hands-on as would normally be recommended. I’ve even had some of my coworkers ask me to remember them if I manage to land a restaurant management gig somewhere nearby. Even if it weren’t turning into a complete shit show, the very fact that everyone is nurturing escape plans makes me unwilling to face the possibility of having to do the work of at least twelve people (of which we currently have seven) all by my very lonesome. I’ve even started romanticizing the last place where I worked, but luckily, my son-in-law still works there, and it is through his stories that I am able to remind myself of all the reasons why I left.

On the Minkey Front, it turns out that, in addition to his nose, he has also inherited his mother’s eyes, both in form and function. I mean, I’m not saying that my eyesight is perfect, but it turns out that my son is, for all intents and purposes, blind as a bat. I think Flor said that his glasses should be ready in a couple of weeks, at which point it is my sincere hope that he actually will begin to want to read. Well, that and that he might not need to drape himself over my desk so that he can watch his cartoons. It is also my hope that clarity of vision will lead to better penmanship. At least if he can see, his vacation will not have been for nothing. I know that he is bored out of his mind this summer, but I wish he knew (in a way that wouldn’t scar him for life) just how trying his constant presence is for the rest of us. It’s not that we don’t love him, it’s just that he’s a very… intense person, and should only be taken in small doses. In that regard, as well as normally wearing his heart upon his sleeve, he is very much my son. I know it’s wrong to say, but I feel rather  like Ford Prefect in the company of Arthur Dent when spending time with David. And you better believe that I know where my towel is!

As for the writing, well, I’m trying to figure out how to budget some time for myself more that once a week so that I can, at the very least, keep up with the blog. It’s hard because my normal solution would be to go to bed an hour earlier, and make with the clickety-clackety before I go to work. But it’s hard enough to get a proper amount of sleep anyway, and if I tried to put David to bed that early, I’m pretty sure that I’d be facing a full revolt before the end of summer. But the real news is that I’ve been running bits and pieces of {Book #4} around in my head while trying to figure it out (Books #1 and #2 are “Parade”, which I know I have to start before I have forgotten everything, but whose events are so traumatic as to make me nervous about reliving them again, no matter how “noble” the cause may be; Book #3 is The Wild West Fantasy, which I’ve been playing with for a while, but haven’t really decided what I want to do with it). But I think that I finally figured out {Book 4}. It was going to be a fictional account (based on true stories) and told from a female point of view, but I then decided that I could structure it more like a series of interviews. Now, of course, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll probably just write out each interview, and then integrate those all together into an overarching narrative. Or not. It’s still early.

And it’s not like I’m suffering from an overwhelming sense of regret.

Birthdays and Stories

Eight years ago today, just a little after eight o’clock at night, The Minkey took his first breaths, and I was changed forever (obviously, he was fundamentally changed by the very act of being born, and, having been a twelve-pound natural birth, he rather changed his mother as well, but this is my story, so we’re sticking with my perspective). It was a fitting end to an eventful pregnancy, and I found myself staring into the unending stretch of infinity as I considered what this tiny baby represented, and how he carried me forever forward into the future, yet another step towards genetic immortality, a journey which had begun billions of years before, and would continue until the last of my descendants failed to use their charm to talk a member of the opposite sex into overlooking our obvious physical limitations in favor of our humor and romantic natures. I figured that I would be the final member of my particular genetic line, but it turns out that there is someone for everyone, and several months later, nature having taken care of itself without any regard to my efforts both to help and to hinder, my son was passed that particular torch, and from somewhere deep with a double helix, I felt a sigh of relief. I may have valid reasons for having been hesitant to pass along defective genes, but they didn’t recognize my authority to negotiate on their behalf.

David was born a week late, and would have been induced on the tenth anniversary of a very special night (one that only comes once in a young man’s life), had he not decided to enter the world when he had. I’d been growing concerned about this, feeling that it must be some sort of sign that something was going to happen, and it was bad enough that Flor, despite being a little over nine months pregnant, picked up on it almost immediately. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really the sort of thing that a guy can openly discuss with his pregnant girlfriend. I did manage to build up the courage to tell her a number of years later, to about the sort of reception which I had been imagining. The evening of the 26th, we decided to take an evening for ourselves, Flor and I, figuring that, one way or another, it might very well be our last chance for the foreseeable future, and went out to an Italian restaurant in downtown Berkeley which we’d seen before, but at which we’d never eaten. I forgot what Flor ordered, but I had the pasta carbonara. As it tuns out, I should have been paying better attention to Flor’s menu option, as the following morning, the contractions began.

I distinctly remember being calmer than expectant fathers are normally portrayed in film, but Flor reminds every year that I was just as excitable and useless. Her brother (and his children) came to pick us up in the early afternoon, and drive us to the hospital. We took a more direct route than that which I had grown accustomed to, having become a professional rider of buses, and I remember thinking how strange it was that I had never been that way before, and how streets lined on either side with Palm tress seemed both beautiful and stereotypically Californian. Flor had made sure that we’d brought everything important for the next few days, whereas I made sure I’d brought along my Cuban cigar, which had been a gift from Fed. I’d suggested that perhaps a bottle of Absinthe might have been more appropriate, both metaphorically and literally, but he reminded me that a cigar was more traditional, and that the Absinthe in his possession was his. Unwilling to walk away empty-handed, I thanked him for the cigar, and talked him out of a glass of Absinthe, since he already had it out. It was delicious.

Up until we’d gotten to the hospital, Flor seemed under the delusion that she would prefer to have a completely natural experience. I kept reminding her that having a miniature human explode from her nether regions, while traditional and evolutionarily approved, was still about the most unnatural thing that either of us was likely to experience until Holodecks became a thing. As the contractions grew closer, and the shifting mass of life began to thrash about her womb as if it were a mosh pit, she began to reconsider, which was good, because by the time she finally got the epidural, it was almost too late. They’d left her suffering for too long, and when they finally showed up, she practically jammed the needle into her spine on her very own. I would like to take a moment now to mention something which has been riffed upon by comedians for as long as I can remember: I would like to get an epidural at least once before I die. I have been high, in my more youthful days, to such an extent that I could understand both nothingness and infinity (they are the same thing), warp across large spaces in just a couple of steps, and get lost between my driveway and the next, and I have never been as high as Flor was in the hours before my son was born.

I told her stories about a Princess who came to a strange land to save the day, sacrificing the life she knew for one of constant confusion and struggle. How she was stuck there, even after her quest was done, as if there was something more which she had yet to do. How she met a warbling minstrel, and fell in love with him, though she was of noble birth, and he was as far from nobility as one could ever hope to be. How they had a son, an intelligent and creative son, one who would validate their struggles in this land which was not her own, and redeem them with the beauty which he would both deliver to, and inspire within this sad and barren country. And how, though she had not seen them since she’d had to leave, her parents, the King and Queen forgave her for her absence, and were well pleased by their newborn grandson. By the time I had finished, she had been passed out for a while, though for exactly how long, I couldn’t tell you, as I’d been caught up in the telling of our story in only slightly mangled Spanish. Her dreams did not last for long, however, as when it was go time, the stabs of pain tore raggedly through the blanket haze of the drugs and brought her into focus.

David spent the first week of his life in the NICU, and Flor, though discharged from the hospital, never left his side. When we were finally able to bring him home, it seemed that he’d gotten so much bigger (though, according to his measurements, he’d only barely caught up with his birth weight), and all of the newborn clothes and accessories we’d purchased and were given, were woefully inadequate to cover him. It was a mad dash to get him larger things to wear, both clothing and diapers, and we discovered that they don’t actually make newborn things in giant sizes. He grew so quickly, both physically and mentally, that by the time Valentine’s Day ’08 had rolled around, he’d managed enough motor control to stab me in the eye. Before I knew it, he was walking (and getting into everything), talking (he still hasn’t shut up since), and doing his best to force his will upon everyone he meets.

Average attendance for David's parties (not really).
His first birthday party was a little underwhelming.

Soon it was time for his first birthday party, which, as I mentioned above, was a little underwhelming. We also took him up to celebrate in Washington, but the turnout was more or less the same, especially if you disqualify family attendance. And then, before we knew it, his sister came to live with us, Flor and I got married, and David was celebrating another birthday. His third and fourth birthdays were slightly more festive affairs (with a Star Trek cake and TARDIS cake, respectively), and by his fifth birthday, his mother had decided not to spend a fortune on his party. This year is a far more sober affair, intentionally small and inexpensive, and I’m hoping that it will be his favorite to date, but mainly because he’s getting LEGO Jurassic World, and he hasn’t shut up about wanting it since the first time that he saw that it existed.

I have had the pleasure of knowing him for his entire life, and watching him along the path to the man who he is destined to become, growing and developing before my very eyes. From the first time that I saw him on a sonogram, appearing as some sort of water-based demonic lifeform, to the first time that I saw him in the flesh, covered in goo, with a reflating head, to the moment when I knew that I was a dad, when he was connected up to machines through wires and tubes stuck into the stump of what once had been his most intimate connection to another human being, I have watched him grow. And from the first time he rolled over, to his first steps, to his roaming about and randomly collapsing in the backyard of the apartment which we had in Berkeley, I have been there to see him developing. His first words spoken, his first sentence, and the first words, and then first book he ever read; the pride in me swelled up so much that I could barely maintain a balance. I do not know who he’ll become, but I’ve seen him as he’s doing it. I love him a little more, each and every day, though there are times when I would much rather not have to suffer him. He is my son, my future and my nemesis, and I love him more than I ever though was possible.

From the moments in which I first saw him
From the moments in which I first saw him
My reason for wanting to have a better life. Also pictured: My family.
To the first time that he something which I had wanted him to see
Progress and Equality in the 21st Century? Ha!
To when he began to laugh at me
"Well, you NEVER share with me SOMETIMES!" -David, right now.
To when I stopped feeling bad when I laughed at him
And, other times, he is... less profound.
From the happy moments
To the sad
To the sad
Looking out into the distance
I have always loved him
And I always will
And I always will
From now until my final breath
From now until my final breath
David William, I love you
David William, I love you

Father’s Day (NSFW-L)

As it says in the title, this post may be slightly Not Safe For Work due to Language. While the piece I wrote for Mother’s Day may have seemed mean-spirited, it, at least, was fairly straightforward. While my relationship with my mother may have had its ups and downs, that was mainly due to her always being around, whether I wanted her to be or not. Spend enough time with me, and you will either grow to hate me, or I will come to despise you. It’s not intentional, it’s just sort of how it all works out. I never had to worry about that with my dad, as to this day, I have still never actually met the man. Everything I know about him comes from other people, and the only people whom I know that knew him are the family of my mother. I’m not saying that they’ve said only negative things about him, but it wasn’t their job to do so. I mean, they were on team My Mom after all. They did try to be fair, though, as best they could, but even stories of the man who bailed on me weren’t much in the way of knowing him.

I had some role models when I was growing up, men who filled in for my absent father. There was my grandfather, who set aside every Friday to spend time with me (and his leather slippers when I was teething); my best friend (Wart)’s dad, who made me feel welcome, and part of the family practically every other weekend between Kindergarten and the 6th Grade; my uncle, who was into nerdy stuff like computers, and who seemed to understand some of the stuff I was going through as I was growing up. They weren’t the same as having a dad, obviously, but they accepted the role that they must have obviously seen that I so desperately needed, and never made me feel as if there was something better that they could have been doing. And sure, I’ve had arguments with them, as I grew older, pitting the omniscience of youth against the rapidly diminishing patience of experience, but that was bound to happen, no matter who was modeling. I cannot help remembering one time when my girlfriend and I had split up for a while and I’d moved back into my grandparent’s house for about a month. My grandfather tried to offer me some advice which wasn’t really applicable at that time, and fired back that, despite all appearances to the contrary, I knew what I was doing, and would appreciate it if he got off my fucking back about it. I have since apologized, but I was right.

None, of this of course, has anything to do with my biological father. In thirty-five years, I’ve only ever almost met him precisely once. I suppose, considering that it is the earliest thing which I can remember, it’s no wonder that I’m so hung up on this.

I can’t remember what time of day it was, but the lights were on the house, so it was probably overcast. It was probably early afternoon. I was in the living room of the tiny two-bedroom house that my mother was renting from my great-grandmother, doing whatever it is that little kids do. I think my mother told me later that I was two or three years old, which would explain why that place seems so massive in my memory. Someone knocked on the door. and my mother lifted back the curtain and peeked outside to see who had come calling. The next thing I know, she is leading me quickly to my room, telling me that there is a “bad man at the door.” Once in my room, she ordered me to press my body up against the door as hard as I could, reiterating that there was a “bad man at the door.” I remember hearing raised voices, but I can’t recall exactly what was said. And then I heard my mom speaking to someone on the phone. I could tell the difference because everyone has a “phone voice.” I must have gotten bored, because the next thing I remember was that it had gotten dark, and that my grandfather had arrived. I remember hearing that the “bad man” had left, and that the sheriff had been called. And then my mother told me that everything was okay now. About a decade and a half later, I found out that the “bad man” had been my father, and that she was afraid that he was going to steal me away as a way of hurting her.

I have also heard stories of how my dad decided that he really didn’t want a kid, and there is a story wherein apparently my father tried to either end the pregnancy, my mother’s life, or both. My parents were divorced shortly after I was born.

Shortly before David was born, I looked up my father using the internet, and sent him a letter. I told him that he was going to be a grandfather, and that if he wanted to know his grandson, I would be happy to let him. I told him that I wasn’t looking for compensation for the eighteen years of child support he never paid, or an awkward attempt at some sort of father-son bond, if he wasn’t interested. Maybe, if he was interested, we could go and grab a beer, and introduce ourselves, but that would be the extent of it, if it was too awkward to contemplate more. It was possibly the most neutral, politic thing which I have ever written. And I never heard back from him. The following summer, his  brother, my Uncle Bob, contacted me, and let me know why. Apparently, my father suffers from severe depression, and was recovering from some sort of heart problems. He’d seen the letter, but couldn’t bear to open it (if I was uncertain up to that point that he and I were related, that bit of information forever confirmed our genetic bond), and left it to my uncle to see what was inside. My dad was afraid of me. Of the very notion of me.

It turns out that my father still didn’t want to meet me. An offhand comment from my mother which was misunderstood, apparently led him to believe that we were not related. To even consider speaking to me, he wanted a paternity test. I cannot blame him for feeling overwhelmed by everything, or not having had an amicable relationship with my mother. I get it. But here’s the thing, I don’t care. Not anymore. I know that he will never read this, and that the only time I will ever see him will be at his funeral, unless he’s already dead (though I would imagine that his brother might have informed me). So I’m going to just let it all out, everything that I need to tell him. If you don’t approve of offensive language, or aren’t interested in eavesdropping on so personal a message, feel free to stop reading here.


I’ve given up ever trying to get to know you, even just man to man. I get why you left, and why the thought of children apparently terrified you. Trust me, I had to face that myself eight years ago. But here’s the thing: Fuck you for not being there! If you thought that your wife was so fucking terrible, why would you leave me there to suffer? Did you know that I had the chance to bail? While Flor was pregnant, and we were arguing the merits of bringing a child into the world on the amount of money we could generate, she gave me an out: she told me that if I wanted to run, if I didn’t want to be dad (or couldn’t be one), she would take the baby, and never contact me again. No child support, no obligation. Nothing. I had the fucking out, man, and I couldn’t take it. Because of you. I didn’t know how good of a father I would be, having never fucking had one in the first place, but I sure as shit knew what it was like to grow up without a dad. I weighed everything that was wrong with me: my trust issues, my fear of abandonment, my bi-polar disorder, the fact that every relationship that I had ever had up until that point had ended in hostilities. I had no reason to stay, other than the fact that I knew that I had to. Fuck you for not even trying.

This is the last time that I will worry about you on Father’s Day. You weren’t ever my father, hell- you weren’t even a dad. You were just a goddamned sperm donor! So, instead of paying tribute to the sprawling mythology which I’ve built up around you, I’m going a different route. I’ll celebrate this day a little differently from now on. You see, not being a dad, that just makes you a Mother Fucker. And that means that it’s only Motherfucker’s Day, which is the best that you’re ever going to get from me. I’m done with you. You had your fucking chance, and you blew it! I’m not the coolest person, or even the best son (see my post for Mother’s Day), but I am something worth knowing.

I hope you continue rotting away in misery, that every waking moment is consumed with regrets for things you never got around to. I hope that you are alone. That you die knowing that no one loves you, that no one even likes you all that much. Not that we ever shared anything more than a fucking surname, but you and I are fucking through! 

Happy Motherfucker’s Day!

Wicked World

Maybe it’s something in the air, a melody carried along by the summer breeze, lost except for a fragment brushed along the contours of your ear as it plays by before it disappears forever. Perhaps it’s interest carried over on arguments both won and lost over the course of the last decade. When hopelessness encounters its own justifications, it can be nearly impossible to shake it loose again. I wish that I could say that this was some fleeting shred of melancholy tickling up against the edges of my perceptions, but this has been pulling us down, drawing us in for quite some time now, our failures falling into one another, collapsing into a singularity which we cannot escape. Now, I do know that this feels worse because of everything that’s been going on, but it makes me wonder if we’ll manage to survive it this time. I’m not saying that neither of us has managed to avoid having earned our respective blame, but this seems to be an overwhelming pattern in my life. I thought that I had managed to break the cycle of my failures when Flor and I got together. She was supposed to be the one to save me from myself. She was supposed to be the chosen one. Instead, it seems that I’ve managed to corrupt her, poison her beauty as it seems that only I can do, and ruin my chance for salvation through the simple act of being me.

I may have mentioned, a time or two before, that I’m not the easiest person to be around. I mean, in small doses, I’m clever and charming, seductive and sweet, snarky and sincere, but that’s because I’m careful to only let out certain aspects of my wicked and warped damage at a time, so as not to drive off the handful of people I seem to keep around to keep from going completely ’round the bend, cut off from what little human I can consciously tolerate, but apparently require. Living with me seems to bring out the worst in people, or, rather, allows me the privilege of doing it myself. The person who most everybody knows is just a fiction that I’ve lived with since I discovered that it made my life significantly simpler, but even I can’t keep the act up every hour of every day. I need a large quantity of down time before I can put on the mask again, and when I walk in through my front door, the first thing that I do is tear away the pretense and the happiness before it suffocates me. I am mostly content to live a sedentary life, punctuated with random meaningful events, but the rest of the time, I think that I would prefer the company of no one but myself. You know, I really thought that I could do it this time. That by ignoring all the signals which had informed me that the woman who was to be my wife would be woefully ill-equipped to help me destroy myself, and therefore exactly the person who I had to make sure was in my life.

And yet it seems that I cannot stand happiness. It makes me feel cut off from myself. I’ve never learned to let things go, and I have to be right, no matter the cost. It isn’t important to me that time will usually vindicate me, I have to win the argument. Instead of letting my wife pull me up out of the quagmire of the life I seem to have been destined for, I seem to have only torn her down, ripped her apart bit by bit, and shaped her into not only the perfect nemesis, but molded her into a bitter image of myself (which may seem redundant to the few people who have known me since before I learned to hide myself behind the act that I’ve been living for almost the entirety of my adult life). She deserves someone who will build her up, be there for her when she needs someone, and never be a burden around her neck. I have asked her almost weekly for the past nine years if she has faith in me, and every time she answers yes, it takes her a little longer, and she’s less able to contain her disbelief. I think that she only gave me her blessing to embark on this crusade because she knew that I would either make it happen, or I’d wind up worse off for having tried and failed, at which point she could cut her losses and be rid of me forever.

Of course, I’m only able to see what I want to see, read the narrative which I am capable of understanding. You see, it’s easier for me if I can say that we’re arch-nemeses, so that when she finally tires of my bullshit, I can nurture enmity in the place where fondness and love once dwelled to cover for the fact that once again I have become irrevocably broken by my inability to do what must be done, to manage to get the important things done right. I would die for her one thousand times without a moment’s hesitation, or David, or my grandchildren, or even my daughter, who is so much like me that it still confuses me how we aren’t genetically connected, but I cannot bring myself to live for them. Sure, I’ve made an effort, though some would say too little, too late. I just find that I cannot be the person who I would like to be. If I was a better man, I might pack up and leave here in the middle of the night, cut my ties and let those I love begin the process of getting over having known me. I’ve always been far better in theory than in practice, and as a cautionary tale, I’d probably even make a better father. I guess the reason that I haven’t boils down to cowardice, and the hope that maybe I can get it right in time.

I guess that we’ll find out.

The Eyes Have It

No pun intended (this time), but I should have seen this coming. From the time when he was just seven and a half months old and stabbed me in the eye with his very first Valentine’s Day card, David William has had a… unique relationship with vision. We thought that after his spastic attack upon my cornea, that he would be done with eyeball-related crises, especially considering that I started wearing glasses, and for a few years we were right. But he’s always rubbing at them, and half the time we’re convinced that he needs to see an optometrist. Actually, I’m not entirely sure why we haven’t taken him. I should probably ask Flor about that. Regardless, however, it was only a matter of time until karma repaid him for his Valentine’s Day massacre of my right eyeball. It would have been more appreciated if he had been spending time with his grandmother or mother, as opposed to his former victim, but apparently that’s not how karma works. And so it came to pass that after I had gotten not nearly enough sleep so that I could wake up early so that I could get to work by four a.m., and then work four and a half of the most physically demanding hours in recent memory, walked home exhausted, and collapsed onto the bed to watch a little Netflix, he jammed his grubby little finger in his eye and deprived me of my chance to unwind a little. Come to think of it, I’m almost positive that he might have done it on purpose.

Shortly after I got back home this morning, he decided that it would be okay to run around the house and drag his knuckles on the kitchen floor while hiding beneath the kitchen table. And when I say drag his knuckles, I mean crawl around on all fours because I told him that he couldn’t drink his sister’s juice (which his mother wound up giving to him anyway). About ten minutes later, back in the room, after kicking up some dust, he ground his filthy little fingers in his eye to relieve the itching, and immediately exclaimed that his eye was hurting. We rinsed it out, and I took a look to see if it was an eyelash or other foreign body, but the only thing which I could see was a strange affectation of the eye which he had contaminated. The best I can describe it as is if he had a blister on his cornea. It was yellowish and translucent, and seemed to have collected toward the bottom of his eye. I’m not ashamed to admit that I may have freaked out a little. If he had hurt himself almost anywhere else, I would have felt comfortable enough to triage him to determine how much I could take care of here, or if we truly had to pay a visit to the clinic. Eyes, though, are not my bailiwick. Give me a fever, a cut, a sprain, and I am gorram Doctor House. Present me with damaged optic organs, and I am running to the nearest doctor’s house (not really their place of residence, I just liked the symmetry- bite me!).

I had already changed into my pajamas (because reasons!), and he hadn’t actually changed out of his, so it was a hectic dash to get us both properly dressed and out the door in timely fashion. Someone has been letting him leave the house in his pajamas because they don’t want to have an argument with him, and now he thinks that that’s okay. Which it isn’t. Because if I have to put on pants, he has to put on pants. I managed to get us both dressed fairly quickly, all things considered, and we were almost ready to run out the door, when David informed that he couldn’t find his other shoe, and that his eye really hurt. This, of course, was all that was needed to summon Lecture Dad (TM pending), who shimmered into being right where I’d been standing and informed David that if he left his shoes in the same spot every time he took them off (we have one of those hanging things of pouches for footwear adorning the inside of our bedroom door), he would always know where to find them, and that if he would wash his hands occasionally and quit picking at his eyes, he wouldn’t have gotten himself into his current predicament.

“This is the worst day ever!” he informed me. “Today is not going in my diary!”

“Be that as it may,” Lecture Dad (TM pending) replied, tired of his son’s shenanigans, “We’re going to the doctor, and they’re going to check out what’s going on in your eye.”

“But I want to play Xbox!” he began to whinge.

“Then maybe you shouldn’t have jabbed your bacteria-laden digits in your eyes!

“But I don’t want to go to the doctor!”

Lecture Dad (TM pending) was having none of his son’s excuses, “Neither do I, but since your eye looks freaky, and you did it to yourself, we’re going.” I tossed the missing footwear in David’s direction, and said, “Here. Here’s your shoe. Put it on your foot, and let’s get going!”

“Okay, Dad.” David wiggled his foot into the remaining shoe, pulled on a jacket, and we finally managed to leave the apartment.

As I may have already mentioned these past few weeks, money is kind of tight. I mean, let’s face it: I didn’t get a job doing what I’m doing (for no hours at minimum wage) because the writing has been unbelievably profitable (actually, it has been unbelievably profitable, in that I’ve made $17 in royalties, and I frankly cannot believe that all my friends who said that they would by my stuff when it came out have somehow managed not to do so). So when David started in about not wanting to walk to the clinic (a sentiment with which I could relate, having done more exercise today than in all the six months in which I wasn’t working), I may have snapped at him a little. I was tired, my muscles ached, and I was fairly well and truly chapped in a couple of very tender areas, due to my superhuman ability to sweat normally for three average people, but only in my crotch. So we gimped along the twenty-minute walk up to the doctor’s office. The wind was blowing fiercely (as it always does in the wind tunnel which I’ve come to know as Not Quite Richmond, California), so I offered David my glasses to keep the random bits of debris from striking his already sensitive eyes. This, however, was not apparently enough, as halfway into our walk, he pulled his jacket over his head, and had me lead him the rest of the way as if he could not see (which he couldn’t).

We finally arrived at the clinic, which was filled with kids with stuffy noses and the like. I told the nurse that I needed someone to take a look at David, and, to her credit, she bumped us up to the head of the line. Like every visit, they checked his height and weight (it seems he’s not growing all that much), his blood pressure (perfect, according to the nurse), and temperature (within human norms), and then led us to a room. Normally, when the waiting room is filled like it was today, they make us go back out until it is our turn, but apparently my description of his eye was enough to make them want to keep him away from the other children. Not that it made the doctor see us any sooner. If there is anything I dislike more than having to take David to the doctor, it’s having to sit with him while we’re waiting for the doctor to see him. Look, I get it: no one likes to wait. What doesn’t help, however, is flipping out every fifteen seconds because it seems to be taking a little while for the doctor to arrive. Lecture Dad (TM pending) reminded David that if he had put his Kindle Fire to charge last night instead of leaving it upon the kitchen table, he would have had it ready to bring along with him when we went to see the doctor. Whinging Boy (TM also pending) did not seem to believe that point was relevant, but in an extremely high-pitched and aggravating manner.

Finally, the doctor tapped upon the door, and it was time to get down to business. Before I go any further, however, I need to share a minor point: I’m not sure how horrible a person that the following revelation makes me, but I tend to get a little skittish around doctors with a German accent. I know that there are medical schools in Germany (well, I don’t know, but I assume), and that to practice medicine in the United States, he has to have been able to prove that he knows what he is doing (in theory), but there is something deeply unsettling about an older man with blond hair and blue eyes, thick German accent, lab coat, and a stethoscope talking about medicine. He seemed to know what he was doing, however, as he agreed with my assessment of the situation entirely, and prescribed antibiotic drops for the affected eye. While he was preparing to send over the prescription to our nearest Walgreens, he took a page from the playbook of Lecture Dad (TM still pending), and told David William to make sure to wash his grubby hands with more frequency than he seems to be able to manage now, and to stop jabbing his filthy fingers into his eyes. I thanked Herr Doktor, and we were on our way.

As it turns out, those words of gratitude may have been uttered a tad prematurely, as by the time we’d made our way back to the pharmacy (narrowly escaping the Crazy Dude who’s been roaming around the city for the past several days, screaming at passersby, and trying to instigate a bout of fisticuffs), nearly twenty minutes later, the prescription still hadn’t been sent. Almost an hour later, with both David and I pushed to the limits of our patience, we finally picked up his bloody eye drops, and made our way back home. While we were waiting, I also picked up some more Children’s Claritin, in the hopes that maybe it was just a case of allergies which had inspired my son to endanger his vision, and therefore, I could protect his eyes from further damage with five millilitres of liquid loratadine a day. We got home to an empty apartment, and I informed my son that it was time for me to administer his medicine, the same medicine that I had previously advised him that he would have to have, and which he agreed to receive without throwing his standard-issue tantrum.

There are few things more damaging to the well-being of a parent’s psyche than the child who refuses to take his (incredibly important) medicine. It’s not one of those cases where you can just give into his fears, and not give him what he needs. I tried for nearly fifteen minutes to get him calm enough to sit still for the one drop of medicine which I had to put into his eye. I tried explaining it. I tried showing him what it would be like by squirting a dose into my eye. I attempted bribery and threats. He still refused to tilt his head back so that I could do what I had to. Finally, I had to hold him down and launch several drops down toward his eye (in the hope that at least some of the medicine would actually reach its target), all the while fighting off his flailing limbs and screaming in my ear. It reminded me of when he was just a little baby, and we took him for his vaccinations. The look of absolute betrayal frozen on his face as I had to hold him still while the doctor pierced his skin is still burned into my mind. He broke my heart today, just as I’m sure that I broke his, but at least his eye is now feeling better, and I’ve even seen him wash his hands a few times since we’ve gotten back. Presidenting may be hard, but it’s nothing compared to parenting.

I think I need a nap.

The Job That Could Have Been

For exactly one day, my wife worked a second job. You remember the one? Where she just walked in off the street and picked up a waitressing job? Yeah, so it turns out that the type of job you can pick up almost by accident isn’t really the type that you really want to keep. Most places are slightly harder to get into, but offer at least the minimum number of federally mandated benefits. But, every little bit helps, and she thought that if she could bring in a little extra, well, we might wind up okay. As it turns out, I was right to have my suspicions, though it wasn’t as bad as I had been expecting. Let’s just say that the idea of my wife working at a Pool Hall/ Mexican restaurant on the late shift didn’t do anything to calm my paranoia or the thoughts of… experiences from a different life that nearly killed me the last time around from bubbling up and staining my psyche. I believe that my wife would never do anything to hurt me, but I don’t know what to think about drunk idiots who like to flirt, having been one myself at one time or another.

After spending a fun-filled day with David and the little boy of some friends who we’re looking after, she got ready for new job and headed out the door. I’d managed to get home in time so that she wouldn’t have worry about leaving the Minkey at home. We’d agreed that I would go to meet her at the end of her shift so that she wouldn’t have to walk back home alone after midnight. So, while she was walking to her second job, I laid down in my bed and fired up the Netflix to help me while away the hours. At least I had only had to be at my new job four and a half hours, and that was at noon, so I wasn’t worried about exhaustion, but it’s been awhile since I’ve had to suffer through an involuntary television marathon. At least it wasn’t daytime programming. Anything to help me not think about all the terrible things which might happen in the alternate reality that exists within my head. Every now and then, I tried to send her text messages to see how she was doing, but she never got back to me. I just figured that she was busy.

The evening passed without incident, and I managed to finally get David to sleep. I still hadn’t got any response to my text messages, but her phone has been acting up a little, so I figured that I would give her a hard time about it when I met her at work. I left home a little bit before midnight, figuring that it would take me several minutes to get there, and hoping that I wouldn’t leave her waiting in the cold. Ironically, it was me who wound up waiting in the blowing wind and sprinkling rain. I’d also brought my Kindle (on the chance that I might have some time in which to finish reading the seventh Harry Potter book), but as I looked around and took in the scenery, I decided that it might not be the best idea to take out anything worth more than a pack of cigarettes. As the hour kept ticking by, with no response to either text or call, I began to worry just a little bit. Flor had told me that she might have to work a little extra, if it was real busy, and I didn’t want to barge in there and look like the jealous husband who has come to disrupt the business.

So I walked up and down the street, smoking cigarette after cigarette, and trying to keep myself from freaking out. Everything that might have gone wrong began to swim before my eyes. As one o’clock in the morning came and went, I popped into a corner store for an energy drink to battle back the boredom and as soon as I had drained its contents down my gullet, I could feel a little stabbing pain from somewhere in my chest. It turns out that I probably can’t keep chugging caffeine and chain chain-smoking cigarettes. I pushed thoughts of my mortality to the back of my mind, and walked back to the Pool Hall/ Mexican restaurant to see if Flor was done yet. As I was walking back, she finally answered her phone. She said that she would be leaving soon, and that I should be ready to come get her. It was another half-hour before I was to see my wife again, and when I did, several of my worst fears had been confirmed. At least, my worst fears from reality, and now the scary place which only exists within my head.

She’d worked for over seven hours without being able to take even a single break. Her feet and back were killing her. She’d been harassed by drunken idiots, and had chosen to remain as close to the kitchen as possible so that she might avoid them. Her shoes weren’t quite the right size, and she’d dressed too warmly for the kitchen, and too lightly for the night outside. Seven hours she worked without a respite. So, as we were walking back home, she informed me that she wouldn’t be going back. I couldn’t blame her. I can barely go three hours on a really busy day without being able to sneak off to smoke a cigarette. So she didn’t go into her new job yesterday, and she didn’t go in for her shift tonight (which I thought was actually better as she worked at McDonald’s this morning). We were going to be relying on her one job and my one job to try to see us through. I’d hoped that I would get bumped up to full-time before too long, or nudged into a promotion (or at least a raise). And then…

As we sat eating dinner, I asked her if she’d gone in for her money. It was a clever question, as I wanted to spend time with her, and also go for cigarettes. We walked up to the place, Flor inviting me inside for the first time (she had insisted that David and I remain outside when she went in to ask about the position), and spoke to the woman who’d given her the job. It turns out that the woman responsible for keeping her from taking her breaks in on her way out, and it was done to haze the “new girl.” After about twenty minutes, and receipt of her pay for the time that she’d worked, Flor somehow talked her way back into working Friday and Saturday nights. She now has permission to take her breaks when she needs or wants them, and might have talked herself into a raise (after having not shown up for her second day). I just cannot believe the pair that woman has. I mean, she seriously makes me feel testicularly challenged on any given day. It’s a good thing that I have my snark and wit to fall back upon.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is always a strange time of year for me. I have not had the best relationship with mine, and I always feel a little weird when refer to my wife as a mother. It’s not that she isn’t, it’s just that it’s weird to think of her only as someone else’s mother. I don’t even think of her as just my wife. I mean, she is so much more than can be fit into just one single box. She is my wife, her children’s mother, sister to her siblings, daughter to her parents, and someone else who exists just for herself. I was drawn to her because she was one of the first women who I’d met that seemed complete within themselves, and yet still wanted something romantic with me. Normally, I’m drawn to damaged people, pulled in by the vacuum of their negativity, as they were drawn to mine. But with my Wildflower it was something else entirely. She saw the best in me, despite the fact I warned her otherwise, and took a leap of faith into love with me. One of these days, I should probably apologize to her for not running in the opposite direction, and sparing her the pain of dealing with me all of this time, but I’d like to wait until I am successful, as a thank-you mansion helps ease the pain more swiftly than pretty words.

With my own mother, things get a little bit more complicated. I’ve had countless people tell me that I just need to put the past behind me and move on, but I cannot help but wonder how my life might have diverged were it not for her interference. Throughout my final years as a teenager, and into my early twenties, I heard nothing but venom from her regarding my life choices. Interesting then, that had she chosen not to interfere with plans of compromise forged between myself and the school district, none of the events which she felt obligated to speak down to me about, would have ever come to pass. As a minor, I required her permission to attend Seattle Central as part of the Running Start program. Had she not revoked it at the final hour, I would never have met one of my “friends” that year. I would not have been there when she was kicked out of school. I would not have been there when she was kicked out of her home. I would not have stood firm in my promise to be there for my friends and given her a place to stay. When things finally fell apart between my mother and I, I would not have been able to call upon this friend to return the favor of sanctuary, and would, in turn, never have met her mother.

I wouldn’t have been staying at that house when my friend and her little brother went off to Eastern Washington to stay with their grandmother. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to fall in love with… her. We wouldn’t have started dating, and I wouldn’t have been there when she fell back into a pattern of drug abuse. And if I hadn’t been there, who knows if my friends would have been there either. We wouldn’t have gotten caught up in all of that. The hardest substance which I’m likely to have tried would have remained some LSD. From there I cannot even think how much my life might have diverged from the one which I wound up living. Maybe I would have been writing sooner. Maybe I might have published something which reeked of youth and inexperience and the arrogance of knowing everything. Maybe I might have sunk to the bottom of a bottle and never come up for air again. But I wouldn’t have met Flor. And I wouldn’t have helped create the Minkey. And I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to try to get right what my father never could.

Are there things that I would change in my life right now if I could? I’d like to be living a little bit more comfortably. Other than that, I don’t know. Pull one string, and the whole damn thing unravels. What frustrates me is that I didn’t get to make that one decision. Everything I’ve built, everything I’ve done, has been built upon a foundation of reaction, of me trying desperately to shore up the what-might-have-beens and try to figure out how to go from there.

When I was nineteen, I wasn’t speaking to my mother. She’d shared her judgement of my girlfriend (nineteen years my senior) with me, and done nothing to hide her vitriolic disapproval from the woman with whom I was in love. So I severed ties between us. I told my mother that until she could get over herself, that I refused to be a part of her life any longer. That from the moment when she kicked me out (though, believe me, I was more than ready to have gone), she had renounce all claim to motherhood. If she wanted to still have me in her life, she’d have to ditch her failed attempts at mothering, and come to interact with me on an adult basis. It took her about a year to realize I wasn’t bluffing, and then she relented, and things were tolerable again. But I don’t think that she could ever see past the age difference, and when the woman and I finally parted ways (after a couple of trips to the hospital on part for nervous breakdowns), she could not conceal her joy. To this day, I still hear nothing but venom though her clenched teeth if that time in my life happens to be discussed.

But all of it, down to the tiniest little detail, could have been completely avoided were it not for her decision in early August of 1996. She’s told me that I’ll feel differently when David blames for screwing up his life. Maybe. Or maybe I’ll accept that I failed him, and try to minimize the damage. I’ve been through all of this before, hopefully I’ll still be able to recognize some of the landmarks along the way.

I cannot forgive. I cannot forget. I am the Center of All Bitterness. It is this rage which drives me forward, still attempting to prove all my critics wrong. Maybe I have my mother to thank for that. Actually, I know that I do. But I don’t think that I can do that today. Maybe next year. Maybe never.


I knew this day would come, but I didn’t expect it to take so long in its arrival. I knew that I wouldn’t really start to get going on what I wanted to write until I had no time left to do it. It’s not really a surprise then that everything seems to be blowing up in my face just as I am on the verge of actually getting something accomplished. Not a full-length novel, mind you, but at least something that isn’t just the blog, something that I might be able to convince people to purchase. I thought the day would come sometime back in January, but it seems the gods of apathy had other things in mind for me. Whatever. I’m still going to finishing working on it, and then I’m going to see what I can do to try to make a little money. It’s taking all my will to keep from falling back down into the depths of despair, and every ounce of ego to tell myself that I should keep working at it. A lesser (or smarter) man might have given up by now, with his entire life snowballing into ruin. But not me. I’ve been putting this off for decades, and I don’t think that I’ll ever muster up the courage to try again if I don’t follow through this time.

I asked my wife before I began this little adventure of mine, if she believed in me, if she thought that I could do it. I know that rough Spanish translations are a poor substitute to showcase my abilities, but it was all I had to work with. Even then, she told me that she believed, and for the first time in what seemed like nearly forever and a day, I almost thought that I could do it. I just wish that I had managed to get back into form a little sooner. And that I had socked away some money back when I was making it. I know that I can pull this out (I have always known it), but I cannot seem to adequately explain it to my wife. We are both stressed out about what the near-future holds, and the best that I can offer her is that I’m pretty sure that everything will be okay. I mean, I have a track record of always landing on my feet, but the cynic inside me says that only means that I am due to finally taste the sweet agony of complete and utter failure.

Maybe it’s just a side effect of my mental illness, this delusion that I should, or could, do this for a living. I mean, who’s to say that this isn’t just a particularly deluded fantasy of mine which might better be relegated to the status of a hobby? Except that I have known down to the deepest part of me since I was just a boy that it was going to be this path or nothing. In school, while I saw everyone around me plagued with doubt about the lives they were desperately trying to decide between, I floated by upon a cloud of certainty that I knew what I was doing. Maybe this is my greatest sin of all: pride. Or self-delusion, whatever you want to call it. I have to be right, and more often than not, I am. But now is not the time for me to learn that I am fallible. Or maybe it’s the best time, philosophically, but I can’t let myself think like that. There will be plenty of time to learn that I am just as capable of committing errors when the stakes aren’t quite so high.

On a happier note, if I was forced to guess my progress with the story I am working on, I’d probably have to say that I am almost halfway done. I shot past the roadblock that had been causing me so many problems, and now it’s just a matter of finishing up the flashback and trying it all together with the ending of the story. The only thing that is giving me problems now is the massive tonal shift in the original. I liked the juxtaposition then, but I’m not sure if I can make it work this time. To be fair, I like telling myself that something is impossible when I’m fairly certain that it’s not so that when I finally pull it off, I can pat myself on the back and feel like a miracle worker. I’m relearning how to write fiction again, and I should have started with that from the very beginning, as the odds that someone would read the random things I write about here on the blog and decide that they wanted to pay me to do it for them were always nonexistent. But at least I’ve gotten faster at transferring thought to page, which has helped me with writing in general.

To tie everything back in together, I guess what I’ve been trying to spit out is that I know that the majority of the work that I do when I am writing is nearly indistinguishable from just lounging about. But I am always mulling over what my next move is, or distracting myself from focusing directly on the problem so that the answer comes to me more organically. When I’m reading, I’m actually taking classes in advanced creative writing. When I’m watching television, I’m soaking the interplay of characters and themes. When I’m listening to music, I’m… well I’m usually just grooving to the music, but putting myself in the mood is also important. But none of this is making me a dime, at least not yet. I have nothing to show for my efforts aside from a crumbling relationship and the looming threat of a nervous breakdown. I need to knuckle down and become the little writer who could. I’m pretty sure that I can do it. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen if I’m wrong?


I feel a rant coming on, brought about by a growing sense of irritation. The blood within my veins has begun to boil, and if I’m not careful, I’m going to blow my top. This has obvious advantages, of course, over the general state of listless melancholy in which I’ve been immersed for the past few… let’s say months. Anything to distract me from the handful of sand which is emptying itself rapidly into the bottom chamber. I’ve been forbidden by my wife from going into detail (she doesn’t want me starting a civil war within the confines of our tiny apartment), but let’s just say that I am at a loss for civil words when it comes to this. I don’t want to claim more credit than I’m due, or for that matter, even the credit which I may claim without exaggeration. But I have managed to be there for someone when he had nowhere else to turn (actually, a few people, but I’m focusing on just this one right now), and when I could use- no, not even a helping hand, simply the fulfillment of his obligations. Instead, I’m being treated to childish insolence and petty power games because it has been shown that I apparently do not hold the power to carry through on ultimatums.

In any other circumstance, he wouldn’t dare to do this. No other landlord would accept this level of disrespect, and yet there’s nothing I can do to remedy the situation because it’s all tied up in family politics. You can’t just bail on a lease with less than two days until the rent is due (no matter if the landlord has given a three-day grace period for payment), and say that you’re just “waiting to see what happens.” You want to leave? Fine. You let me know right now for next month and when that final date has come, you get the hell out of my house. I don’t care if you are an “also ran” upon the lease to which we all signed our names, you bear the same responsibility to this legal contract as the rest of us. If I told the landlord this very day that we were bailing on the place, there is not a chance in hell that we would get our deposit back (to which this person contributed absolutely nothing), and our landlord would be well within his rights to take legal action on the whole merry lot of us. And if we thought that we could wait until three days until after the rent was due, and have half a chance of leaving our stuff here while we were moving because some sort of baby situation had popped up, we would be financially responsible for a month of rent on an apartment we were leaving, and if we didn’t put the money up, our belongings would confiscated and sold off to defray the costs we had incurred.

I wish that I could say that I was going to be the adult with all of this, and help gently guide the next generation toward wisdom of their own, but I’m fairly pissed off about this whole ordeal, and sometimes scorched earth can be a learning moment. I’m probably just overreacting, or possibly not nearly enough: it’s hard to tell with passions running parallel with commercial airlines at cruising altitude. My wife was right when she told me that I’ve let people walk all over me. When I was the boss (at both locations) at my last job, I did my best to take care of everybody else first, and even put the good of the store before myself. I’d learned that style of management from people I’d admired, and seen firsthand the horrorshow that came from a lesser style. But those people have long since burned out (myself included), and what do they have to show for it? Grey hair, no hair, failing health, or a complete abandonment of that career. And yet that was the only option which I could have taken. Sure, I was fool, but at least I was an honorable fool.

And now I seem to be drowning in a sea of irritation. Everything these days seems to piss me off. I know I’ve mentioned that depression is just rage turned inward, but after weeks of beating the living crap out of myself, it’s nice to share the torment with others, especially when I’m right (which seems to be a rare occurrence these days). Both my wife and brother have barraged me with the same advice (with which I don’t know that I agree), and now it looks like I will have to swallow what little pride remains and follow the advice of another person. Which makes me doubly pleased to be able to come down with righteous fury on someone more deserving.

If I stopped to think about it, and to tried to be more reasonable, I suppose that I could find it within me to be slightly more accommodating. But, in addition to safeguarding my own family, I am still trying to help my grownup children learn life lessons they will need once they have left the nest. With us, the only true risk which they might face is a dressing down, But in the real world, there are consequences which cannot be ignored. I know this because the lesson was hammered into me during the excitement of my twenties. Back then, I was single and childless, and failure simply meant resetting the clock back another seven years. I have since tested my ability to cheat the inevitable (to surprising success- more than I’m sure that I have merited), but even those heady days are soon to pass. The next job which I take will be the last which I will work within the borders of the United States. I was hoping to have a little better luck with writing so that it might not come back to working for The Man, but it looks like my timing was off by a year or so.

Thank you for bearing with me, and I hope, at least, that I have been informative in my excoriations (I know that I feel better now). Have a good evening, everyone!

Here, have a picture of some stupid bird:

Pictured: Some Stupid Bird.
Pictured: Some Stupid Bird.

The Comfort Of Bitter Laughter

Someday I will be capable of looking back at all of this and laughing. Normally, this isn’t an impediment to getting an early start, but I’m not sure exactly what the punchline is this time. I’ve always said that failure is a better teacher than success, but I have no idea what’s going on right now, and I can’t think of anything in particular that I am doing right. Sure, I’m inflicting my words on literally tens of people on any given day, and my beard had regrown to a respectable Ewok-Wookie hybrid length, but I’m also much more massive than I was before, and I seem determined to push the limits of just how far mopiness can take me. If I were forced to commit to a metaphor to describe my life, I would have to say it feels like a fairly unfunny sitcom before the laugh track has been added. Everybody is just waiting for the laughter which they hope will come, and praying that they don’t fall flat in the moment of truth, yet knowing that script just isn’t all that funny. It would be okay if this was just a pilot, but we’ve just begun our tenth season, and it really feels like we should have worked all of this out by now.

Batmart judging Batmart. This should be amusing.
Batmart judging Batmart. This should be amusing.

Have you ever woken up and felt like you might have slid one dimension down while you were sleeping? It’s hardly noticeable, but there’s just that sense that something just isn’t quite right. On the good days, if you can call them that, the differences are more pronounced, and it’s easier to believe that you might be a pilgrim on his voyage through the looking-glass. But on mornings such as this, with only five hours separating the moment of slipping into slumber and final surrender to the alarm which rings out to shatter the wall of sleep around you, there’s nothing at which you can definitively point to make your case that this is not your world, beyond a nagging sensation just behind the bags beneath your eyes. It’s either that, or I read entirely too much Speculative Fiction, and have lost the ability to view the world as anything but a metaphor for my internal struggles to find my place among the stars.

I suppose that if I had gotten into Westerns, I would be prattling on about cattle rustlers and a Frontier Spirit, and if I’d somehow been caught up in Romance novels, I would be able to describe this crisis as the irreconcilable difference between the billionaire who wanted me to be his trophy wife (thereby providing for my ailing, widower father, and the son I’d had with my the love of my life who had been claimed too early by some exotic disease he’d caught from treating underprivileged patients in the third world), or my secret, burning desire for the rough, lower class day laborer who loved with a burning passion which I never could resist, but couldn’t hardly provide for himself, let alone my son and father. And if that seems mean, please keep in mind that I have been subjected to telenovelas, on a near-daily basis. I used to be able to ignore the soapy melodrama altogether, but as my Spanish has improved, my ability to just tune it out has plummeted. That doesn’t mean that I am mocking those who indulge in romantic fantasy (any man who has that many Star Trek novels is in no position to judge another’s tastes in literature), just that I find that particular genre unappealing. Now if you’ll excuse me while I reverse the polarity, adjust the Heisenberg Compensator, and make the jump to Hyperspace.

Maybe I should get to work on a telenovela; it’s not like I don’t know the formula by now. I’m just afraid that this hopeless romantic poet will fall in love with the characters he’s written (especially the villainess), and be unable to return to the real world. Leave it to me to be worried about creating not the perfect woman (who exists fully within herself and yet compliments the best things about me, so that when we join together, there is no power in the world which might stop us), but the perfect nemesis: someone perfectly crafted to dig deep within me and destroy the best parts of me. I’m sure that it speaks volumes about me, but there is nothing more alluring than woman who wants nothing more than to destroy you. Yeah, I’m guessing that I’m not nearly as well-adjusted as I thought I was, and I wasn’t really confident in even that.

Truth be told, I’d love, one day, to be the hero. Not somewhere buried in the written word, but in the life I live. I’d settle for being remembered as fair and just man, but I would love to stroll into a situation where hope had long ago been forcibly extinguished, and discover that the key to fixing everything had been forged in the crucible of my suffering, and filed down by bitterness and blindness to hope itself. My ultimate dream, of course, would be to do all of that, but somehow die in the process, thereby elevating the mundane muddling of my existence to a burning light which would withstand the bitter winds of time. Hey, to each his own.

Sadly, I have an amazing wife (who I’m fairly certain I do not deserve), a son capable of moments of sheer brilliance, a daughter so much like myself that I find it difficult to believe that we share no D.N.A., and a grandson who is so full of love that sometimes I think that I may just break down in joyful tears the next time he embraces me. And I’m about to have another grandchild. This time it’s going to be a little girl. I don’t stand a chance. I’m going to wind up beaten down by all the love around me, and, if I’m not very, very careful, wind up a happy person. Who then, I implore you, will make sure the neighbor kids know the rules regarding my lawn? A sad day, indeed. I’ve spent my life carefully cultivating misery, only to have it tossed to the wind every time I see the love in the eyes of those around me. And then I remember just how lucky I truly am, and how far I’ve come, and the anger builds again because they’ve stolen my bitter tears from swollen cheeks, and left me with laughter in their place. How am I supposed to be complete if I’m not completely inconsolable and an utter killjoy?