If I just stay in here and never come out, maybe the graduation won’t happen and he’ll still be my little boy . . .
Notes from the Golden Orange
EppsNet Archive: Fathers and Sons
We’re in Berkeley for Casey’s graduation tomorrow . . . we got a text from him earlier this week saying “I just took my last two college exams.” Thus ends a journey that began 17 years ago on the first day of kindergarten, which I feel like I remember too vividly for it to have been 17 years ago, but it was.
Now what? I don’t mean for him . . . he’s got a job lined up in San Francisco. I mean for me. I’ve had the milestone birthdays — the ones where your age ends in zero — that seem to depress a lot of people . . . they didn’t bother me at all. But my boy becoming an independent person in the world is really disorienting me . . .
[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]
Greetings from the underworld!
I just read about a father and son teaming up to punch out the son’s high school basketball coach because the teen wasn’t getting enough playing time.
What a heartwarming story! A lot of young black men don’t have a male role model in their lives.
See you in Hell . . .
On this date 21 years ago — July 28, 1993 — our son Casey was born.
On his first birthday, we took him to Chuck E Cheese. On his 21st birthday, he’s in San Francisco having dinner with his girlfriend so we have to wish him a happy birthday over the phone.
“I remember the day you were born like it was last week,” I say. “I was an integral part of it.”
“Yeah, so was I,” he says.
Right, but he doesn’t remember it like I do. And I don’t want to mention it on his special day, but he didn’t really do anything either. His mom and I did all the work and yet he gets all the glory and recognition. Think about that.
“Happy birthday. I love you.”
Thanks for pushing me and always preaching to me, “You could be someone special, if you really work at it.” I took that heart, pops, and look at us today.
I grew up in Orange County as an Angels fan. They were a team of losers at that time, but I went to a lot of games with my dad and had a good time watching them play.
Jim Fregosi was my favorite player, usually the only good player on a typical Angels roster.
RIP Jim Fregosi.
Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. “Stop!” cried the groaning old man at last, “Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree.”
It is hard living down the tempers we are born with. We all begin well, for in our youth there is nothing we are more intolerant of than our own sins writ large in others and we fight them fiercely in ourselves; but we grow old and we see that these our sins are of all sins the really harmless ones to own, nay that they give a charm to any character, and so our struggle with them dies away.
Joe Bell, 48, was walking cross-country from Oregon to New York to memorialize his gay son, who killed himself after being bullied.
Bell’s journey began April 20 and ended this week on a two-lane road in eastern Colorado, where he was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer whose driver had apparently fallen asleep.
I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you.
A commercial for Cox Communications comes on the TV, the gist of which is that no one knows what the young woman in the ad likes. A sushi chef, for example, serves her an oddball concoction that she doesn’t like, and I forget the rest, but you get the idea.
“But here at Cox,” the ad goes on to say, “we know what you like.”
I say, “She likes Cox.”
My kid gives me a look.
“C-O-X. Cox. Come on, man.”
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
“If it’s not your tail,” he told me, “don’t wag it.”
When my sons are grown up, I would ask you, O my friends, to punish them; and I would have you trouble them, as I have troubled you, if they seem to care about riches, or anything, more than about virtue; or if they pretend to be something when they are really nothing . . . And if you do this, I and my sons will have received justice at your hands.
The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways — I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.
My son (age 19) and I are driving to Staples Center to see the Lakers take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, listening to the pre-game show on the radio. Because the Cavs are basically a one-man roster, and that one man is Kyrie Irving, there’s a lot of talk about Irving on the pre-game.
One of the analysts offers up his opinion that Irving is as good as he is at such a young age (he’s 20) because Irving’s dad was hard on him as a kid and pushed him and didn’t let him take breaks.
As always, when the topic of someone’s dad bullying him to greatness comes up, the boy gives me a melancholy look to say that my lack of abusiveness as a parent is the reason he’s not a professional athlete. “You let me take breaks,” he says.
“You know,” I say, “I think for every guy who says, ‘My dad wouldn’t let me back in the house until I made 100 layups with each hand and now I’m in the NBA,’ there’s 900 other guys whose dads tried the same shit and these guys got nowhere and now they’re extremely angry about it. You just never hear from those 900 guys because they’re nowhere, as I just said.”
My boy, a college sophomore, and I are watching the Lakers play the Charlotte Bobcats on the TV . . .
“Did you know,” he says, “that I’m a full two months older than [Bobcats forward] Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?”
“Hmmm . . . really?”
“He grew more than me.”
Kidd-Gilchrist is 6’7″, 232 lbs. He turned 19 in September.
My kid calls me out for wearing white socks with black sneakers . . .
“Thanks, Mr. Blackwell,” I say to him.
Then it occurs to me that a 19-year-old is not going to get the Mr. Blackwell reference.
“FYI, Mr. Blackwell was a flamboyantly gay fashion critic.”
My boy and I are buying sodas at the Chevron station . . .
I notice they’ve got the place plastered with breast cancer donation stickers . . . donate a buck to breast cancer research and you can put your name on a 3×5 sticker with a pink car and a Chevron logo and they’ll stick it up on the wall.
I object to that. Let Chevron donate their own damn money instead of shaking down the customers.
“Would you like to donate a dollar to breast cancer research?” the attendant asks.
“No,” I reply. “Shouldn’t Chevron make their own donations? They’ve got more money than I do.”
It takes the guy a few moments to pick up on my theme, but as we’re wrapping up the transaction, he grabs the ball and runs with it.
“Yeah,” he says, “and the price of gas keeps going up.”
“It does, although I have to admit it’s down a little bit in the past week.”
“They bounce it,” he says, “but in the long run, it always goes up. It’ll be five dollars, then seven dollars. And they control everything so there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“You’re exactly right,” I say to him.
When we get outside, I say to the boy, “Chevron should fire that guy. Not a good company man.”
The author, a Russian, displays great heart and insight in this philosophical novel, but at 900+ pages, he needs to learn how to get to the point.
I look forward to his next project, perhaps with a better editor.
“Where’s John Wall-do?” he says.
Ha ha. I get my comeback opportunity a few minutes later when his game player passes to a teammate, who scores, but his player doesn’t get credit for an ssist.
“HOW CAN THAT BE ANYTHING BUT AN ASSIST FOR ME?!” he shouts in disbelief. “That’s bad programming.”
“Oh I doubt that,” I say. “The people who program video games are a lot smarter than the people who play them.”
I picked up a red striped T-shirt on sale at Old Navy. My son saw it and it seemed to me that he chuckled a little bit.
“What’s funny?” I asked.
“Where’s Waldo?” he said.
After this debacle of a basketball game, my son, a college freshman, says to me, “I should have gone to USC. I could probably walk on to basketball and make the team.”
“Are you kidding? You could probably walk on and start,” I said.