Simple Gifts

September 22, 2010
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Simple Gifts

When I sat and thought it through there were very few cherished moments with my dad (father #2) but there were some and, perhaps, that’s why they’re so striking in my memory. There are chunks of my childhood that defy detail but those scant few moments where my dad and I are actually interacting in an affectionate or meaningful way are like billboards of the mind. These, by all reason, shouldn’t necessarily be joyful accounts because of their scarcity but sometimes we take what we’re given and can either rail against their ineffectualness (which I’ve done thoroughly in this...
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Mildred’s Gauntlet

September 15, 2010
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Mildred’s Gauntlet

From the age of 6 to 11, my adolescent after-school care-taking was done by Mildred, an older woman with a reasonably large family right around the block from our house. We met as a result of my befriending her son, Glenn, and after my mother met Mildred, they worked out a financial agreement where she watched me until my parents came home from work. Also, early on there would be weekend stays because of my dad’s out of town magic shows but most of it boiled down to the weekdays. A part of me, the part that wanted a...
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Castle on an Island

September 8, 2010
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Castle on an Island

Male role models were in short supply around my house and what’s been detailed so far in this blog sums up the vacancy…but I was always looking. I used to study men that I admired and imagine what sort of upbringing brought them to the point where someone like me looked up to them. Nothing about the paternal guidance of my childhood was really very valuable at all, other than as a cautionary tale. I hadn’t gotten a glimpse of what men could aspire to, only what they were capable of failing at and, frankly, it was depressing and...
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The Virginia Hall of Fame

September 1, 2010
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The Virginia Hall of Fame

Virginia was the bad girl…the junior high bad girl who occupied a special niche in school culture. There could only be one Virginia because it took such unbelievable balls to be  the junior high school bad girl, so nearly all the other girls fell back into their familiar roles of ‘unpopular’, ‘popular’, ‘pretty and knew it’, ‘smart and knew it’, ‘fading into the woodwork’, ‘quasi-normal’, etc. But the position of ‘bad girl’ meant that you had to be a complete amalgamation of all these standard roles and then top it off with ‘daring’. Bad girl ‘daring’ incorporated such bravado,...
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Father’s Day: The Sequel

June 20, 2010
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Father’s Day: The Sequel

It’s odd that on this particular Father’s Day, after feeling the short-shrift the majority of my life, I’m strangely released from the sadness of my paternal upbringing (if you can even call it that). Maybe I’ve just hashed the living prose out of it so much that I’ve set free some of those demons that have tagged along behind me. Goodness knows, there’s plenty of accounts in this blog to document the history. Yes, this Father’s Day felt different. Even realizing that as an adult you’ve got to make certain choices in your favor and learn what wasn’t given...
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Still A Stranger

February 17, 2010
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Still A Stranger

With each passing hour, I get more protective of my time and, more precisely, how other people sometimes waste it. I do not like this from anyone but from dysfunctional family members it nearly turns me criminal. Time wasted dealing with the narcissistic, selfish meanderings of knee-jerk, neurotic control freaks is taking its toll in a way that, stopping short of jail time, will have me, at the very least, ignoring their existence for the rest of eternity. I don’t really care what these emotional vampires do with their lives as long as it doesn’t involve the manipulation of...
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The Sliding Scale

February 4, 2010
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The Sliding Scale

When we’re young our thought processes don’t include much personal maintenance. Youth doesn’t have to think about eventual degradation because, for the most part, every thing’s in working order and body parts can still take a fair amount of abuse without something falling off and rolling across the floor. This is the magic of youth and it’s the same way we feel about a new car…what could go wrong? It’s new, it’s hot, it’s clean and ready for a long and distinguished run. Why even think about it? At 58, I’ve got an entirely different perspective on things and...
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Stranger in a Strange Land

January 8, 2010
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Stranger in a Strange Land

For the most part, I do not understand any families that I’m associated with. They often seem like foreign countries with agendas and a language that is, well, foreign to me. They hide things from me that they think I shouldn’t know or create attributes for themselves that they don’t possess so that they might appear noble. They do this in the name of St. Coping; patron saint of head games. But all it does is cause me confusion because their actions do not, like a badly dubbed Japanese film, match their language. I see their mouths moving but...
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Speak, Pal, Speak To Santa!

December 18, 2009
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Speak, Pal, Speak To Santa!

By the fourth grade I should have known better. I should have known that I was going to take my lumps for hanging onto Santa Claus the way I did but, damn, I’m nothing if not dogged in my point of view and that pretty much brings up another associated problem at the time. My dog was involved in the entire mythology of Santa and if I was going to still believe in Santa I was also going to have to buy into Santa’s otherworldly ability to talk to animals and that meant accepting my dad’s (father #2) assertion...
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