Sunday, June 18, 2006

I am my father's daughter

And darn proud of it. I walk, talk and think like him. That isn't always a good thing, but I have learned to live with it. Family dynamics notwithstanding, I am the first born. You would never know it by the behavior of some members of my family, but that is their problem.

The first three and a half years of my life were golden. I was able to read by two and a half and have never looked back. After my brother was born, it was the only thing I had that was mine and I made the most of it, enjoying worlds where my mind could explore what the world was telling me not to. My dad had this policy that you could talk about anything you wanted as long as you were clear, didn't cuss or cry. As you might have guessed, politics was a favorite subject between my father and I.

He raised me to be independent, think for myself and to not let people push me around because of an accident of birth. Then I developed the full frontal mammary glands and all bets were off. All of a sudden I was a girl who was
expected to get married and have babies. It didn't appeal to me at all. I wanted to be a doctor. Even after I was accepted to UCSB he refused. I couldn't afford it myself, so I ran away from home the day I graduated high school. I joined the Army to see the world and get an education. That worked okay for a while, then I got married. Boy was that a mistake. Unfortunately for me, that is where the remainder of my family prefers to remember me to this day. Not that I ever repeated the mistake, I very rarely do.

The last time I saw my dad was on Father's Day in 1991. I had gone home for the weekend, which I did every other weekend for many years, and we had a great time. I cooked, just like I usually do, then we sat around talking politics and drinking margaritas. My dad was one of the most liberal people I ever met, something you would not know by looking at him. People tend to be afraid of us because we actually mean what we say and do. Blowing smoke up someone's rear is a complete waste of time unless you want to get ahead on something besides your own merits. I could care less.

Both dad and I are the type of people who would rather be by ourselves than put up with someone else's crap, something that very few people remember when dealing with me and then they wonder why I can't be bothered to do what they want. I would rather be dead than submit to power for its own sake. Might does not make right. Logic (real not emotional) works well with me, dictatorial bull and an overbearing attitude doesn't. Neither do threats. It fascinates me that some people keep trying to manipulate me in ways that have never been known to work, but they keep at it.

Dad would have loved the internet. He would have been one of the first bloggers and been very good at it, but statistics got in the way. There is a reason that a black male's life expectancy is not as high as others and he disregarded the evidence. On July 4, 1991 at 5:25 in the morning my dad died of a massive heart attack (overweight and a two pack a day smoker) at the age of 60. I was in Santa Monica trying to watch the fireworks but it was so foggy all you saw was multi-colored fog. They finally blew up all the fireworks at once and I thought all the windows in the buildings were going to blow out they were rattling so hard. The time was 5:25. My boyfriend said later that it was my dad saying goodbye. I like that idea, it makes me feel better.

I miss him more than I thought possible. I wish he was here, my mom would really appreciate it. Some people miss the lessons of their parents and my family is no exception. To my brothers I say this: Time is short and you are wasting it. Quit having a temper tantrum and call your mother before it is too late. She's the only parent you have left.

Happy Fathers Day.

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