Got Another Tricky Day playing in my ear and memories of listening to The Who while sitting in the back of a bus in Jerusalem.
The usual parade of images and characters flow through the mental mind map and I see multiple moments where I ignored my parents’ advice and or entreaties.
They are intermixed in between a ton of other moments where I was the model child as well as visions of exchanges with my own children.
It is too bad you can’t hear the words or see some of those moments because they are Oscar worthy, but that’s ok, my job is to find a ways to compensate for the lack of Super 8 footage.
Step inside the empty cavern between my ears and watch the movie playing and you’ll see scenes that probably look familiar to you too.
Because even if you aren’t a parent you are a child and chances are you can relate to listening to your parents and or ignoring them too.
A couple of days ago I shared thoughts aboutÂ The Hardest Part of ParentingÂ not because I thought people could relate to it but because I needed the clarity that comes from writing.
I needed to clear out the weeds that were obscuring my view and to give myself a chance to gain some perspective.
Because that teenage boy I call Steiner the Minor was in the midst of an extended moment that was making me want to tear out my hair and stick needles in my eyes.
I needed my own moment to regain clarity and remember who I once was and to see who I am today.
Too many days of burning the candle at both ends and a double dose of extra stress made me lose sight of the shore.
But the benefit of being a Taurus is being built to deal with the crazy and the chaotic. I may be a dreamer but I am also rooted to the ground and given a chance to find my center I always find my way.
Once I located it I found the right words to reach Steiner the minor and managed to get him to agree that sometimes father knows best.
It is too bad that is not recorded for posterity either because that has to be among my finest work.
Don’t ask if I rose to the occasion or if dumb luck made the moment happen because I don’t care and it doesn’t matter.
“Dad, I know what you are thinking. You are smiling because I listened to your advice and decided to try it your way.”
“Listen carefully and you’ll hear grandpa muttering something about payback and laughing. Sometimes I wish you didn’t inherit some of my finer traits.”
He rolled his eyes, muttered something about being his own man and walked away.
I am lost in thought, got Glen Campbell singing Wichita Linemen in my ear and damn if that doesn’t make me hear a voice or two.
Watched the Republican debate and made a point to pull the kids in to take advantage of the teaching moments it provided.
Somewhere mid-debate my daughter catches me rolling my eyes and asks me why. I tell her I am not enamored with any of the candidates from either party but explain the importance of knowing what is going on.
“We are a part of society and we have an obligation to participate in it. I won’t throw a vote away by not voting and neither will you.
The candidates are speaking and I am staring at Steiner the minor trying to figure out what the world looks like to him.
He’ll be 18 in a few more years, draft age and if I listen to some of the fearmongers I know the draft will be reinstated and he’ll be sent to war.
The warmth I felt from the small moment of victory I felt earlier, the proof that Father knows best is slowly seeping out of my veins.
It is not because I worry about whether he’ll be drafted but because sometimes I can’t believe how fast time has gone.
Is It More Dangerous Now?
Sometimes the guys talk about whether the world is more dangerous now than when we were kids.
I am not convinced that it is, just that it’s different.
Maybe it is because I lived through a chunk of the Cold War and signed up for Selective Service when people still talked about what would happen if we went to war with Russia.
In my day the Soviets were supposed to be the reason why Red Dawn and War Games were scary.
I partied with guys the night before they shipped off to Iraq for the first Gulf War and drank beers with them when they came back.
Flip through the pages here and you’ll find my memories of 9/11, of watching the Towers fall while Steiner the minor played with blocks in front of the television.
“Proof” That Father Knows Best
Bob Dylan is singing Tangled Up In Blue and I am not wasting any more energy trying to figure out if it is safer to be alive now or not.
It doesn’t impact my responsibility to raise my children to become productive members of society or to do what I can to help make the world a better place.
Dylan moves from singing aboutÂ colorsÂ to Knocking On Heaven’s Door and now I am stuck somewhere between 1985 and now.
I see me at 20, full head of hair and a body that appreciates the three hours it spends each day in the gym.
He waves at me, asks me to explain what happened but before I can answer he fades away.
The kid I was couldn’t stop time any more than the man I am now could.
That’s ok, I am focused upon the present and living in the now remembering that for one brief moment I proved that that sometimes “father knows best.”
Something tells me that won’t be the last time I get to try.
Larry March 4, 2016 at 1:26 pm
Good start – memories of listening to The Who while sitting in the back of a bus in Jerusalem.
For me it was a Springsteen song.
The fact that some very bad people might have access to nuclear weapons is scary as heck. I agree different dangers but these seem worse.
Jack Steiner March 6, 2016 at 12:19 am
Springsteen, one of my favorite poets.
Might be worse, might be equal. Hard for me to spend much time comparing, life is too short, but it is definitely scary at times.