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.