Well, another fathers day has passed, and this year was fun. We played, ate, and generally did all the things fathers and sons are supposed to do. But as the day progressed, I got to thinking. A parent rarely lets their child into their world. How they are feeling, what they like, dislike, what they do right, what they do wrong. A child may be able to realize these things over time, and a parent may talk about it, but probably not quite the same way as they would to someone else. So, should they read all these things I write someday, which I hope they do, maybe they will be able to get a good idea of just who I am, or was.
Hi guys! It’s daddy. I imagine it must be a little strange for you guys sometimes, having a mommy and daddy so far away from each other. I guess we never really formally sat you guys down and tried to make sense of it all. I think we just figured we would play it off, and things would work themselves out. I’m sorry, we shouldn’t have done it like that, it wasn’t fair at all. Weird huh? One day you guys are jumping into bed with mommy and daddy, and the next, there is some strange man where your daddy used to be. I’m sorry for that too, I mean, I know you would get used to it, and by the time you understand this well enough, you will most likely be more than ok with it.
So right there my sons, is my first lesson to you. Often, things will not work out the way you expect them to. This is not to say that things will go badly, not at all. But just be prepared to make adjustments, because even the best laid plans often go awry. So, plan carefully, proceed with caution, and never fall in love with a game plan. But stay optimistic about it, enthusiasm does wonders for improvisation.
Second lesson, make sure you are taken care of before you attempt to take care of others. It’s quite simple boys, you can’t bail water from a sinking boat with a punctured pail. The other part of this lesson is this, stay the fuck away from sinking boats. Now daddy isn’t saying not to help people, giving others a helping hand is wonderful and rewarding, and you should do so. Just be sure you are doing so for the right reasons. Not to please anyone, or anything else, and not expecting any sort of reward or reciprocation, whether it be material in nature, or spiritual. But always remember the pail boys, daddy has made this mistake, and more than anything, I hope I can impart to you how unwise it is to not take the time to please yourself, before attempting to please anyone else. Also, as far as pleasing others, try and remember this as well. There are very few people you truly have to please, figure out who those people are, and do your best. Everyone else needs to mind their own fucking business.
Daddy curses, a lot. But not all the time. Lesson three is, there is a time and a place for everything. Sometimes, you have to modify the way you speak at certain times, and how you behave. In time, you will get an idea how this works, hopefully I will be around enough to slap you guys into good social shape, as that is my job to do. If you are in a new social setting, or you are meeting people for the first time, try and keep this as a rule of thumb. Always speak to them as if you were speaking to your abuela. First impressions are crucial, and if you go spouting off like a truck driver because your buddy is around too and you speak like that around him, well, then you are a fool. I do not want fools for sons, so do not disgrace yourselves, and be damn sure of where you are, and who you are talking to before you get casual.
As a side note, remember this rule of thumb as well. If I catch you cursing, or should you get the notion that you can speak to me, your mother, (grandmother, etc. etc. you see where this is going) in a similarly disrespectful manner, be assured that I will ensure that sitting will be a grueling task for about a week or so.
Lesson four. Avoid slang. Sure boys, slang can be fun. You hear it all the time, probably blasting from the radio more often than not, and that’s ok. But some people, think it’s ok to speak like that all the time. Those people should be ridiculed/avoided at all costs. It is not cool to sound like a blasted idiot. Do everything in your power to speak properly. How you speak, and how you write says much about your level of intelligence, and often speaks volumes about your character as well. Should this concept ever become confusing to you, call your abuela, or your “lolo”. Listen to them speak for a few minutes. For those who are unaccustomed to their unique brand of english, it can be a bit of a task to figure them out. But they try, as they always have, to try and speak this language properly. It is because they respect the language of this country, and they respect themselves, which should tell you something about those who are born speaking “american”, and yet do their very best to butcher it on a daily basis. Please note that I used american to denote the english language, because at the time of this writing, it has deteriorated to such a degree that it can barely be referred to as english anymore. By the time you can fully grasp and appreciate this, it may well be completely dead, replaced by spangish/ebonics/hick-trash speak.
Lesson four. Find a healthy hobby. Sure, as a kid, all things are fun, you could throw a ball against a wall for six hours and have a hoot. Although these days you would probably be doing it with a joystick. No matter, the point is, as you get older, it will get harder and harder to find something fun, and healthy that you have genunine enthusiasm for. That sort of thing generally has to be cultivated. So find that thing, and make it a part of your daily life at all costs. Get your routine, and do NOT let anyone change it. Should you choose to do so then fine, but ask yourself why you are doing so first, if there is someone else involved in your decision to stop doing something fun that makes you feel good, and is good for you, then you need to hold your ground and apply a firm, but polite NO.
This one is a no brainer, but it needs to be said. Look, I will love you either way, but I do hope you two like girls. But that really isn’t the point. Use condoms. I don’t know what future birth control will look like, I’m reasonably certain you guys will have more choices, and probably better ones too, but in case you do not, use condoms. In any case, and I mean ANY, just put it on first. Let me be perfectly honest here boys. I didn’t set out to have kids so early in life. Later on, it will be nice to still be relatively young while you boys are starting to go out and do cool things, but now, and before, well, it’s tough. Real tough. Hindsight is 20/20 (thats lesson five, I’m getting ahead of myself), and I am so happy I have you, and I love you both more than anything else on this little spinning ball of mud, but I will not lie to you, I didn’t mean for it to happen so soon, but I’m glad for it.
Lesson cinco. Daddy speaks spanish, not only that, he reads and writes in spanish as well. Ok, that isn’t lesson five, but it’s a fact. Ok, but this is lesson five, hindsight is perfect. Better than 20/20 if that is even possible, which I believe it might be. There is nothing wrong with looking back and seeing where you might have made improvements on things, and events in your life. But limit how much you do so. It will consume you, and eventually rob you of your future. And please boys, don’t ever listen to people who try to convince you “everything happens for a reason”. You will see that it is most often uttered after a disasterous event of some sort, as a kind of consolation. Do not allow that foolish conclusion to band-aid your thinking. It is way more honest to simply say, shit happens. Sometimes it’s good shit, and sometimes it’s bad shit. Bear in mind that I speak of things out of your immediate control, the things you truly had no ability to affect. Everything does NOT happen for a reason, and unless otherwise posted, or unless you are given a “plan” to read and follow, there is no grand scheme. You blaze your own trail, reap your own rewards, and make your own mistakes. Some people around you may try to pretend otherwise, assigning credit, or blame to a god, or another person perhaps. Ignore those people.
(please note that a “plan” to read and follow does not mean you should blindly follow some other idiots idea of how to live. that is generally referred to as “organized religion”. try and learn everything you can about these systems, how they work, and why they work. it will be important, probably more so in the future than it is at present)
Which brings us to lesson six. Think for yourself. Blind anything is generally a bad idea. Blind dates, blind racecar drivers, and most importantly, blind faith. Ask questions, always. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Please remember that “right” has no definite value, it is different for everyone, so if it twists in your gut, you need to sit down and start learning. Boys, it all starts here, with me, and your mother as well. As your parents, we are the ones who help shape your ideas about faith, and god(s). We are the filter which you use to interpret any, and all foolishness that passes your way. Daddy had a very catholic abuela and lo-lo to deal with. Yet, after many years of questions and learning, I figured it out. I hope I can shorten the time for you. You are master of your own destiny, never let anyone tell you differently.
In high school, daddy wrestled. For years a certain boy would beat daddy again and again. It was so frustrating, I would make it all the way to the finals, only to keep losing to the same boy. So one year, daddy shaved his head, and woke up every morning at 5am, and worked out before going to school. Daddy watched the boy when he was out, he had a pretty girlfriend, and he was a happy well-liked individual. In retrospect, I wanted to be like that too, and I wanted a pretty girlfriend too. But I did not have the confidence, so instead I focused my anger, and I used it to fuel me, especially on the days when I felt too tired to get up, I thought of how happy he was, and how unhappy I was, and I shot up with energy. Finally, it was tournament time again, and there we were, finals again. It came down to the last few seconds, but I managed to turn him onto his back, and I could hardly believe when the whistle blew and my arm was raised. The other boy stormed off and cried, I looked up and then made the sign of the cross. I was overjoyed. Later on that night, a team-mate dropped me home, but before I got out of the car he said something to me I will never forget. He had his nemesis as well, on the same team, who like the boy I beat, would always thwart his attempts to win a championship. He told me, “John, I’m really proud of you man, you finally beat him, I’ve been trying to beat my rival for years and I haven’t been able to do it.” I opened the door, and he said, “Wait, listen, I’ve been watching how hard you worked all these months, and at the very end there, I saw you thank god, it was you John, that was all you, don’t forget that.”
He may not even remember saying those words to me, but they stuck like glue. I hope they guide you boys as well.
I could go on, and I will in time, but for now, read this, and try to understand it as best you can. And above all, question it. Question me, ask me why. I have many flaws, and biases that may be hard to comprehend from your smaller vantage point, take nothing at face value, even from me. This is not to say that you should not trust. You should, but do not ever be afraid to ask questions, those who have nothing to hide fear no inquiry. Should you offend someone with a reasonable inquiry, that should demonstrate to you quite clearly that most likely it had some, if not all, its basis in fact.
So, with that said, I will once again re-iterate the hope that you one day see this, and that by the time you get all this, and it can be of any real use, you dont think I’m a complete shite-head.
I love you boys so much.