EppsNet Archive: Fathers and Sons

EppsNet at the Movies: The Accountant

17 Oct 2016 /

The Accountant

The Ben Affleck character is at the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum, which means, among other things, that he has no social skills.

I also have no social skills. It’s exhausting just to be polite to people most of the time, let alone trying to be fun and interesting.

I’d like to be diagnosed with something that gives me a medical excuse for not having to do that.

The Ben Affleck character also has some cool and useful skills that he learned from his dad, whereas my dad never taught me anything except how to hold a grudge (not always useful).

Rating: 4-stars

The Accountant

As a math savant uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities and the body count starts to rise.

Director: Gavin O’Connor
Cast: Ben Affleck Christian Wolff
Anna Kendrick Dana Cummings
J.K. Simmons Ray King
Jon Bernthal Brax

IMDb rating: 7.8 (14,258 votes)

Good to Great

31 Jul 2016 /

Browsing a bookstore with my son . . . he checks in to say that he was skimming through Good to Great.

“Have you read it?” he asks.

“No, and I’ll tell you why . . .”

“Because you’re satisfied with just being good?” he interrupts.

Dad vs. Stupidity

14 Apr 2016 /

I overheard one of my colleagues saying to another, “My dad is really opposed to any kind of stupidity.”

I passed that along to my own son: “If you want to describe me in that way — ‘My dad is opposed to stupidity in all forms’ — it’s okay with me. I mean, you don’t have to if you’re not feeling it but I can think of worse ways to be remembered.”

Harper Lee, 1926-2016

25 Feb 2016 /

28 Sep 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird

I took my son to the bookstore to buy To Kill a Mockingbird for his English class. They had two paperback editions available — one with a fancy binding for $15.95 and another one for three dollars less.

I pulled the cheaper one off the shelf and my son asked, “Why are we getting that one?”

I said, “Because it’s three dollars less for the same book.”

“I like the other cover better,” he said.

“Gimme three dollars.”


23 Oct 2008

FATHER: Would you take out the trash please?

SON: Are you KIDDING?! I’m doing homework! I’ll take out the trash if you read To Kill a Mockingbird and tell me what each chapter is about.

FATHER: I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird. You want to know what it’s about? ‘Racism is Bad.’ Now take out the garbage.


RIP Harper Lee

Lover of Life, Singer of Songs

27 Dec 2015 /

I know the lyrics to a lot of songs . . . not current hits so much but if we’re listening to an oldies type of radio station, which we, the Epps family, are doing in the car right now, I pretty much know every song they play.

“I should be a singer,” I announce. “I would have a tremendous repertoire of songs.”

“But you can’t sing,” my son says.

“Hmmm . . . that’s a legitimate point that I don’t really have an answer for.”

I Am Identified as the Worst Father of All Time

7 Nov 2015 /

I noticed a significant uptick in traffic to EppsNet in the past week . . . a check of the referrer logs indicates that it’s coming from Reddit, specifically from a series of posts on the hapas subreddit (here’s an example) identifying me as the worst father of all time and an overall despicable human being.

The worst

(If you’re as much in the dark as I was about what a “hapa” is, it’s a person of partial Asian or Pacific Islander descent. My son, for example, would be a “hapa,” which is how the hapas subreddit took an interest in EppsNet.)

Ironically, the posts cited on Reddit as evidence of my awfulness are — to me, anyway — either pretty obviously not intended to be taken at face value (some are attributed to an imaginary author named Hostile Witness, to make it even more obvious), or completely on point, or both.

Examples include:

And of course Why Asian Girls Like White Guys and Why Asian Girls Like White Guys II, which are among the most popular posts on the site, right behind The Blog of Anne Frank.

I’ll say this about my results as a parent: Unlike the population of the hapas subreddit, my son is not a whiny twit with no sense of irony, humor or perspective. He doesn’t invent labels for himself and seek out discrimination where there is none.

That being said, thanks for visiting, hapas, and additional thanks to the 40 or so of you who also picked up a copy of my book while you were here.

Women’s World Cup: USA 5, Japan 2

5 Jul 2015 /

I turned on the TV just as the announcer was shouting “2-0, USA!” so I thought they must be showing highlights of the game against Germany. It’s only 4:06 p.m., the match probably hasn’t even started yet.

Then I sent a text to my kid, “This will teach me to tune in to soccer games on time.” I sent a second text saying I thought when the announcer yelled “2-0, USA!” they must be showing Germany highlights.

Then I sent a third text, “My god in the time it took me to type that they scored two more goals.”

e e cummings wishes you a happy fathers day

21 Jun 2015 /

e. e. cummings

my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height

this motionless forgetful where
turned at his glance to shining here;
that if (so timid air is firm)
under his eyes would stir and squirm

newly as from unburied which
floats the first who, his april touch
drove sleeping selves to swarm their fates
woke dreamers to their ghostly roots

and should some why completely weep
my father’s fingers brought her sleep:
vainly no smallest voice might cry
for he could feel the mountains grow.

Lifting the valleys of the sea
my father moved through griefs of joy;
praising a forehead called the moon
singing desire into begin

joy was his song and joy so pure
a heart of star by him could steer
and pure so now and now so yes
the wrists of twilight would rejoice

keen as midsummer’s keen beyond
conceiving mind of sun will stand,
so strictly (over utmost him
so hugely) stood my father’s dream

his flesh was flesh his blood was blood:
no hungry man but wished him food;
no cripple wouldn’t creep one mile
uphill to only see him smile.

Scorning the Pomp of must and shall
my father moved through dooms of feel;
his anger was as right as rain
his pity was as green as grain

septembering arms of year extend
less humbly wealth to foe and friend
than he to foolish and to wise
offered immeasurable is

proudly and (by octobering flame
beckoned) as earth will downward climb,
so naked for immortal work
his shoulders marched against the dark

his sorrow was as true as bread:
no liar looked him in the head;
if every friend became his foe
he’d laugh and build a world with snow.

My father moved through theys of we,
singing each new leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing)

then let men kill which cannot share,
let blood and flesh be mud and mire,
scheming imagine, passion willed,
freedom a drug that’s bought and sold

giving to steal and cruel kind,
a heart to fear, to doubt a mind,
to differ a disease of same,
conform the pinnacle of am

though dull were all we taste as bright,
bitter all utterly things sweet,
maggoty minus and dumb death
all we inherit, all bequeath

and nothing quite so least as truth
—i say though hate were why men breathe—
because my Father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all

— e.e. cummings, “my father moved through dooms of love”

Thoughts in the Shower

19 May 2015 /

If I just stay in here and never come out, maybe the graduation won’t happen and he’ll still be my little boy . . .

Now What?

15 May 2015 /
Sather Tower (the Campanile) looking out over ...

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

31 Jan 2015 /


[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.

Basketball duo

What a heartwarming story! A lot of young black men don’t have a male role model in their lives.

See you in Hell . . .

Happy 21st Birthday, Casey

28 Jul 2014 /

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.”

You Could Be Someone Special

27 Jul 2014 /

Thanks for pushing me and always preaching to me, “You could be someone special, if you really work at it.” I took that to heart, pops, and look at us today.

— Frank Thomas, induction speech at the Baseball Hall of Fame

Jim Fregosi, 1942-2014

15 Feb 2014 /

Jim Fregosi


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.

It Is Hard Living Down the Tempers We Are Born With

30 Nov 2013 /
Gertrude Stein

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.

— Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans

And So it Goes

16 Oct 2013 /

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.

Joe Bell

Happy Fathers Day

16 Jun 2013 /

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.

— Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

We Know What You Like: Cox

8 Jun 2013 /
Cox Communications' "Digeez" mascot

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.”

Advice From My Dad

1 Apr 2013 /
Taking a nap

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.”

Socrates’ Apology

17 Mar 2013 /
The Death of Socrates

The Death of Socrates

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.

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