A blog post from one of my favorite bloggers about finally disposing of her dead dad's ashes, which she doesn't even know how she came to possess, triggered a memory.
She wrote about her father playing craps and hitting someone with a hammer. Which of course triggered a fatherly memory buried in my dusty vault, about my dad's friend.
I'm sure you can relate to that.
Unless you don't actually have a family story about someone hitting another human being with a hammer. I don't know your life.
Did you watch the TV show, Mash?
If you watched, you know.
There's an episode where Hawkeye's richy-rich stuffy bunkmate, Charles Emerson Winchester III, tells Hawkeye with jealousy, that Winchester had a father, but Hawkeye has a dad. That always stayed with me. I didn't have a father, I had a dad. Most of the time I felt more like I had an old man. This is a "my old man" story.
I've written a little about my old man, but I did it right after he died, so it was all tributary and what a great guy. And for the most part, he was. He stuck around, paid bills, the works.
He was also ... a character. Let's say.
Where your dad might have taught you how to catch a baseball, my dad taught me never to bet out of turn at the poker table.
You never check the bet and then raise the bet. I literally cannot repeat what that makes you when you do that.
Another Fun Fact:
You also play what you called, NOT what you have. It doesn't matter what you have, you called 3 of a kind. I separated these not for emphasis, but so you can remember. You should pin this to your Good Life Decisions pinterest board, it could save you a fist fight depending on who you play poker with.
You know, that kind of thing. Good advice. Look for my sequel to "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" called White Trash Dad.
So...this story takes place when I was 17 years old. I had just graduated high school. I was living with my parents, working part time and going to community college part time. I was paying for my own classes, books, etc.
This of course did not make my father happy or proud in any way. He kept telling me I needed a 'direction' in my life, to get a life, to start a life, yadda yadda old man dad stuff.
He thought surely by age seven-teen I should be off on my own, married and shitting out kids like a Pez dispenser. I mean, that's the dream, right? Why didn't I want that? I wasn't about to swing that way, and don't call me Surely.
He would have been very happy if I lived in a trailer with tons of kids, or some shotgun shack built out of sod, or in the military off at war, or whatever just as long as it wasn't under his roof.
Since I was clearly a total deadbeat to him, my old man took upon himself to 'help me out.' And by out, I mean out of his house. That is literally all he ever wanted for me and my younger brother. And really, all I ever wanted myself. We had no idea what his motives really were, or just how quickly and urgently he wanted us out. This is not the time to get into all of that. One day. Not today.
Anyway he had this awful drinking buddy, Dwayne. My stomach clenches just thinking about him. I think maybe they met in one of my father's more legal attempts at making money, selling meat door to door. Or maybe they just did that together, coming up with scams like,
"I'm going to get fired if I don't make a sale today." My old man pulled that one on my sister, at the time a young mother struggling to pay her own bills. It worked.
Anyway, Dwayne made my dirty joke telling, whiskey bottle hiding father look like a fairytale prince. He explained to me that Dwayne's girlfriend worked for a 'computer company,' said with the tone of someone who is talking about a Ponzy scheme. My dad wasn't a fan of non-traditional jobs. If you couldn't buy a mug for it? It wasn't necessary.
To my old man, these are real professions:
and for women,
To him, THOSE are jobs. Anything involving a computer, or technical jobs that came about after say 1970, that he didn't understand was just a waste of time to my old man. You would have better luck talking to him about tricking people into meat sales, than software engineering. Take from me, one of the first girls who went to school for such nonsense.
This company he wanted me to work for had a full-time opening with benefits, so that was good enough to get me out of his house. My old man told me to go to this company, Dwayne's girlfriend arranged an interview. They were looking for a receptionist, and they wanted someone 'pretty' so I needed to look nice. I know, I can't even.
The day my father got the idea that I should work for this company Dwayne was at our house. Somehow it came up that shouldn't Dwayne be in court that day. Someone (not me) had the nerve to ask him,
"What did you do?"
"What do you mean, what did I do?" He replied lawyerly.
"To have to go to court, what did you do?"
"I think I hammered a cop." Was his response.
"You think?" I'm sure we all replied. At least mentally.
"Well, I don't remember but that's what they said."
The Prosecution rests.
I don't remember what happened court-wise, whether he got 100 years probation or still has a warrant for his arrest to this day. I just remember the hammered a cop part. That's the kind of thing that stays with a kid. I asked my brother, who had the misfortune of living with my father, and for bouts of time Dwayne the infamous walking whiskey bag, but he doesn't remember that particular court case. There were a LOT.
This is a man who got run over walking drunk on the highway and lived to mumble about it. Dwayne was addicted to pain pills among other things, so he probably didn't feel a thing.
Point is, Dude had adventures. Like the alky Forest Gump. You read all these articles about vegetables, vitamins, drinking water and whatnot, and then here is this guy. Basically a human booze-soaked ashtray and on and on he lives.
I do remember one thing that happened after this, but my husband says this post is already way too long and should be split into 3 pieces. Sooooo.....
TO BE CONTINUED
For quick reference, here is the next part of this story:
Here's the post that triggered this memory if you like. I highly recommend it. She's much more funny than I am. Real talk.
Oh, and you leave us hanging like that? No fair. It's so true, alcoholics apparently have bodies made of rubber and just bounce off anything that hits them. Even speeding cars. "I'm fine, but you shattered my booze ! Not cool, man!"ReplyDelete
Also, "shitting out kids like a Pez dispenser" may be my new favorite descriptor ever.
Well, my husband was ready to throw my laptop out the window reading the combined story, so this is probably for the best. You may have a good theory about boozers, they're so relaxed from being drunk maybe that's the key ?Delete
Yes, that does paint a pretty image doesn't it? My old man thought that was the only purpose for women: Having babies. He was raised by a pack of really stupid, old-fashioned wolves.
The "alky Forrest Gump" and "human booze-soaked ashtray" made me laugh so hard I peed a little. In my own family's white trash tales, there's no one who hit a cop with a hammer, but a couple of brothers having a fist fight were broken up by their white-haired momma wielding a 2 x 4. One of their wives (obviously new to the family) called the cops. By the time the cops got there, everyone was BFFs again and sitting together having a nice cuppa tea. One of the cops said that if they got called out there again, he'd haul them all in. And then he pointed to the mother and said "Even you, old lady."ReplyDelete
2 x 4, nice! hahaha I love the cop's response. I'm guessing it wasn't their first call ? I have a good story of a dumb kid who called 911, like an idiot. Then they came, saw everyone had pot & busted everyone. Over an argument.Delete
I also have a story about my dad's sister hitting her husband with a frying pan, she used to do it when he was passed out drunk. Then he would wake up and she would tell him he had a bad dream. True story.
"shitting out kids like a Pez dispenser", will go down as a classic!ReplyDelete
Damn, I was just getting into that and then it ended.!!
This is why I love you, Lily. When my husband read this? He said what he always says,Delete
"It's waaaay too long." I'll have the next part up at the very latest Monday. Life just keeps getting busier. I kind of can't wait to be old and looking for things to do.
OMG, I can't wait!!!! Dwayne is a National Treasure, no lie.ReplyDelete
hahahaha I almost wish I paid more attention to that asshole. I could've written a book just about HIM. Youth is wasted on the young.Delete
How much do I love you? So much, so very much. And your stories make me LOL, for real! I am seriously anxious for part 2. Human booze-soaked ashtray. This is description taken to the level of awesome. And I am laughing all over again.ReplyDelete
The feeling is mutual, Ms. Pattie. I'm glad you liked it. I wanted to capture just how disgusting of a 'person' he was, but I really couldn't put too many words into it, for fear I would never stop vomiting.Delete
Holy awesome. Crazay as hell. We had the same father. I'm positive. Can't wait for the rest. :*ReplyDelete
Was your dad 4 feet tall and missing a bunch of fingers?Delete
hahahaha it does seem like we had the same dad, and we're both pretty awesome in spite of our "old man" stories!
We have many many clients like Dwayne.ReplyDelete
We also keep a hammer in the office that is labeled "reality check."
That is awesome!Delete
I am so, SO SO GLAD you still write. I love your writing. I love hearing about your mixed-up life and knowing that YOU have come through it all as such a very awesome person, still. :)ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you still read it! It's been a great struggle to form coherent sentences, and no time to promote but I always get a HUGE SMILE when I see a comment from Lizzi! If you were the only person that read my blog I would still write it!Delete
And P.S. my brother and I always marvel at how much worse we could have turned out :)Delete
LOL you're family sounds a lot like mine, so much so that it's scary. I didn't even know my real father until I was 17 years old, not only know him but also know of him until then. We were brought up thinking the screwball my mother was with at the time was the one and only, but boy were we wrong. Awesome piece my friend, hilarious.ReplyDelete
Really? Must be why we're so great, we had to survive the weirdness. I hope that is a thing of the past, where parents choose not to tell their kids what's going on, and then one day you just get the news that you've been living your life as a lie. It seems much easier to just be honest. Thanks for reading.Delete
Oh, I can't wait to hear the rest of this story! Seriously, if you could have looked into the future and known you would be a blogger you could have been writing this stuff down. One of my favorite things about you is your ability to take such dysfunction and make it flipping hysterical. Love it!ReplyDelete
That is is classic survival technique. We learned in Alanon that families tend to take certain roles in stressful situations, the older ones take nurturing roles, and I took the Class Clown approach. Ever see the TV show Friends? The Chandler character did the same thing, and in one episode where the gang is fighting against each other, he turns into a complete jester, dancing at one point. I am still semi-programmed for this. Sometimes my jokes are very inappropriate to some, but it's that whole "laugh so we don't cry" approach. Thanks for reading, Sandy. So true of all of us, if we only knew WHICH things in Life we were supposed to be taking notes!Delete
Ohhh my god that's insane.ReplyDelete
My dad taught me to throw a baseball AND open a bottle of wine (when I was in single-digits) AND how to pour it. AND how to throw a bunch of shit in a pan and make dinner. He was a versatile dad.
Bruce the shark voice:Delete
"Now THAT is a father!"
That explains why you're so awesome.
Wow!! You went through some serious shit!! Off to read part 2 now!ReplyDelete
Thanks for reading, Roshni.Delete
YOU. Are. Awesome. Reading part 2 now.ReplyDelete
I knew a lot of guys like your dad and a few like Dwayne. That was mostly the previous generation, though, but the nut doesn't fall far from the tree in many cases.ReplyDelete
I like your poker advice, but have yet to play with someone I need to beat up. One of the guys had too much beer and lost a lot more than we thought any of us should so we limited our limits a little more so it wouldn't happen again. Kind of benevolent game.