Those Who Don't Remember History...
As I found myself in the basement yesterday, pounding on the heavy bag, my mother-in-law upstairs driving my wife nuts, it was hard not to draw comparisons.
I remember being a kid, and my grandmother, who drove my old man nuts, living with us, and his going to the basement to escape, wrapping, taping the wrists, and beating the shit out of that canvas bag. It was hard to understand where that anger came from, how he could harness such fury. But I was a little kid. What did I know about the disappointments of a life not turning out the way you imagine?
I was 40 when my first kid was born; my father was a little older than 20. Big fucking difference. When I was 20, the last thing I wanted or could've dealt with was a kid or family. Hell, I couldn't keep a job or a girlfriend at 30. At 20? Shit, man, I was playing Whiffle Ball with Jimmy Soyka, cutting classes to buy CDs or get bailed out of jail or hang out with the band on my way to being a rock 'n' roll star. I had zero responsibility, and no one depended on me to pay a goddamn bill or feed them.
But like pitcher and hitter dominance, these things are cyclical. Maybe Holden will rebel by moving into a trailer park and having seven kids before his 21st birthday. Justine took him to the zoo the other day and he got an elephant tattoo on his shoulder. Without his shirt, you could sort of see this happening.
Then again, maybe my boy will be...remarkable. I mean, obviously, he's gifted (http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/01/22/17-gifted-children/). He's already doing tons of neat tricks. Not even nine months, he's climbing stairs. Like the other day for instance. Holden had a Tupperware top and I was upstairs in the kitchen. And he started climbing with his Tupperware top, and Justine was like, "Oh, look, he's got a present for daddy." And so I went to greet him, and I was, like, "Do you have a present for daddy?" And I picked him up. And then he hit me in the head with his Tupperware top. See? Mutherfucking gifted.
That's the joy in having a kid, isn't it? You don't know how it's going to turn out for him. I mean, chances are he's going to end up like the rest of us, with everything he dreams of right in front of him, unsatisfied. Then again...maybe not. He's got his whole life not to mistake the mistakes I made, and I'm going to give him every advantage I can. I'm not going to mock him or beret him or question his manhood so he has to compensate by lifting really heavy things, and I won't scream so violently that he develops a life-long anxiety condition. I am going to support him, tell him he can be anything he wants to be, and even though I generally think that advice is a load of shit, ala http://youtu.be/wIP8lFWa_mg, in this particular case, I believe it with all my embittered, jaded heart... I will squelch my natural propensity to say Why bother?, and only do good good good.
At least, that's the plan...