You’re Lucky Your Father Is Alive

Some of my friends would yell at me if I told them how angry my father made me last week. They’d say I should remember how lucky I am because father’s don’t stick around for as long as we hope they will.

Sometimes they contract terminal illnesses and die younger than they should, they get hit by buses or are murdered.

I have friends who lost their fathers in all of these ways so none of those examples are being used because they make for a better story.

Hell, a better story would be to talk about how they are all still around and that the other stuff was a bad dream, but the thing is that is not true.

They are all gone and unless something crazy happens none of them are coming back here any time soon.

So I am lucky to have a father who managed in under two minutes to make me about as angry as I ever get.

Fortunately there weren’t any doors or walls close by or I very well might have tried to tear them down.

No, I am not exaggerating, dad managed to move us both back in time and instead of just rolling my eyes or ignoring him I saw red.

What Happened To Your Thick Skin?

Most insults roll off of me and unless you are one of a small number of people I don’t care what you say or think about me.

Did I mention that the person who is most likely to be able to pierce my thick skin in 30 seconds or less is my dad.

It has always been like that and even after all these years, the damn man can manage to do what almost no one can.

Maybe it is a good thing we don’t fight all that much, doesn’t mean we haven’t gone at it because we have.

It is like screaming in the mirror and about as effective. I hate fighting with him.

Fortunately fighting is something that we do much, never did. Always been close and with few exceptions we have managed to get along quite nicely.

The funny thing about becoming a parent is realizing that the father you've become sounds like your dadClick To Tweet

Just steer clear of a couple of stories, you know the ones that your parents never let you forget about because for some unknown reason they feel obligated to never let them die a natural death and all is well.

Most of the time that is, there are those moments where they…aren’t.

Moments like the one I referred to above where I wonder how he has managed to do it again and I promise myself that my children will never say anything like this about me.

But those are few and far between.

Ask me to describe my dad and I’ll tell you I learned everything I know about being a father from him and my grandfathers. I’ll tell you about how I learned he was a superhero and how I learned that he was just a man too.

The funny thing about becoming a parent is realizing that the father you’ve become sounds just like your dad. Sure it is your voice speaking but the words that come from your mouth sound just like him.

What Can A Father Teach You?

When I was a wee lad I thought my dad knew everything because he could answer any question I asked him to.

I am not sure when I realized that his knowledge was limited but I also knew that he and mom had provided me with the key to learning anything.

It was all in books and the folks made sure that I learned that the public library was a friend and trusted source of information.

They lit the fire for my love of reading and then sent me to the library so I would never run out of kindling.

BooksAsk me what I dream about and I can promise you I’ll tell you about owning a house that has the kind of library that makes the ones on this list seem like a joke.

Share a moment with me and I’ll talk about overstuffed chairs and couches that are built for reading. I’ll tell you about having nothing but time to read and learn and then I’ll sigh and talk about how I wish I could live to a thousand.

There is never enough time to do all that we want, at least not for me. There is so much to do and to learn.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle, Metaphysics

Dad is the one who I battled the most with about thoughts and ideas. He is the man who pressed me to account for my actions, to defend thoughts and ideas and to not give in.

He is also the person who made it clear that a smart person doesn’t listen to both sides for the sake of fairness and equality but because it is part of how you figure out what side you really want to stand upon.

Don’t take this to mean that mom wasn’t involved or responsible for who I am, she just played a different role.

Not better or less, different.

There are some things that only a father can teach a son and well…dad did that.

Now it is my turn.

What Kind Of Father Are You?

Many years ago I asked my dad and grandfather if they ever compared themselves to their fathers and they laughed.

They said yes and told me not to waste my time trying to measure up against anyone but myself.

It is good advice and most of the time I follow it.

The world I am parenting in isn’t the same one my parents had to work with.

You can debate and discuss whether technology and the economy have made it harder or easier but it doesn’t matter because we are not going to go back in time.

It is the kind of narishkeit that might make for a good book but doesn’t serve any other purpose for me.

You’re Lucky Your Father Is Alive

I am lucky my father is alive, but the truth is that if he hadn’t almost died this blog probably wouldn’t be here.

If he hadn’t spent all that time on life support I wouldn’t have needed a place to vent and scream so this joint probably wouldn’t be here.

But that is a whole different discussion.

All I know is that I am grateful to have my father in my life and that I hope never to piss off my kids the way he did with me the other day.

Dammit, how does he still do it after all these years.

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  1. Jamie November 19, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    My dad’s been gone three years this New Year’s Eve. It’s been only recently that I’ve cried, really missing him. Or should I say wanting to spend time with him, wanting to talk to him. The younger man — who was a great look-at-the-ironies of life humorist. He was very controlling and never truly wanted to think of me as older than 12. I loved him terribly and knew he would give his life for me — but as his health failed he was more depressed and more harsh than not. So very very complicated. I’m trying to think as you are with my mom who now lives close. Knowing that she too will be gone and how awful that will be.

    • Jack Steiner November 20, 2015 at 9:31 am

      Three years already, wow. I remember you posting about it.

      Time goes so very quickly. I am paying close attention to how my parents age in part to see if there are things they are doing that I don’t want to have happen to me. 🙂

      I suppose age and experience will always have an impact upon us and we’ll keep changing as we grow older.

  2. Larry November 18, 2015 at 8:18 am

    May he be able to get under your skin & share the story for many years to come.

    BTW, while my father and I have our simarities, I think I’m a different father than he was.

  3. kat November 18, 2015 at 5:06 am

    It’s the people who we love the most who have the greatest ability to get under our skin. This is because we actually give a damn about what they think. I disconnected from my mother years before she died this year and not much she had to say had much effect on me but my ex-husband (who I’m still friends with) can reduce me to tears in minutes if chooses to. For the record, he usually doesn’t choose to but it has happened accidentally a few times. Any unkind words from my kids have a very similar effect. There are very few others who can do that to me.

    It’s not surprising that you hear your father in your words to your kids. Our parents’ influence on our lives is a profound one – for better or worse. It’s our job, though, to either embrace their lessons or learn from them. This is how we grow and evolve through changing times.

    • Jack Steiner November 19, 2015 at 11:34 am

      You are absolutely right, we care about their opinion and that is the difference. It is obvious, but I forget it sometimes.

      I think about that influence and try hard to make sure that whatever I am passing along to my kids is a good thing as best I can. Hopefully in the years that come that is what they will have to say about it.

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