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Thursday, June 25, 2015

What to do on Father's Day (sans a father)

Father's Day was a non-holiday when I was growing up.  Heck, I don't even remember it being discussed, pretty much ever.  Of course it needs to be noted that, if I added up all the time I actually spent with my father as I was growing up it might add up to a day or two.  Mostly the encounters were short affairs of a half hour or so, taking place in some flop-house hotel or at one time or another in a bar.  As a side note it's amazing how smells have a memory all their own; to this very day I remember that smell of beer, cigarettes and poorly circulating air.  But so I digress.

How exactly does a young man even process the above?

That's an actual question, by the way.  I really don't completely know how I processed it at the time.  I do know that growing up I was, at times, both angry and deeply saddened that I didn't actually have a functional father.  The anger never represented itself as any kind of rebellion, instead it was just this kind of gnawing reality that sat inside my head.  There was a dose of self-pity in the thoughts back then, although that kind of acknowledgement only came with the benefit of older age.  In a broad sense I am grateful, for far too many young men who have grown up without fathers probably did engage in far more open forms of rebellion.  Me?  It mostly created a desire on my part to be a good father, the kind I didn't have in my own life.  My children can weigh in on my funeral...a long time into the future.

On to the present.  I can tell you that, in a spirit of complete honesty, I don't actually process this kind of stuff these days.  In fact, outside of recollection needed for this posting (the bulk of which was mostly written on Father's Day), I spend no time thinking about it.  Actually I spend virtually no time thinking about the past in general, which has been a revelation of sorts over the past few years.  Or at least I aspire not to.  Learning that the past really is just a series of prior "nows" is actually comforting.  Yes, I do  try and learn from the past, but unless dwelling on it serves a purpose for the present then it's simply not worth the caloric expenditure.

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