One of my best friend’s dad died. So I’m doing the only thing I can do before I throw The Child in the car to head to my hometown: I’m eating Oreos straight from the bag. I may have just done a shot of whiskey. Don’t worry, parents. I have a couple hours before I get behind the wheel.
I was certain for at least half my childhood that Mr. C didn’t like me. We were all convinced of that fact at one time or another. It’s quite an effective strategy when it comes to keeping in line the young men around your daughters. Some of these guys–fathers themselves now–are still afraid of The Father. He was an attorney and an athlete. And he was very quiet until he wasn’t. Which is what I imagine Boston feels like. Sporty, argumentative, smart, and crass as hell. It is fun to note that one of his three daughters now lives in Greater Boston, long after I imagined The Father to be that city.
The Father perhaps was the origin of the expression “out of fucks.” He gave zero fucks about what people thought of him, or how he did his thing.
Of course, actually giving zero fucks complicates things. For example: drinking Big Gulp sodas and chowing down candy when you’re a borderline-then-eventually-blind-on-dialysis diabetic. I guess that’s a pretty big example, and explains, in part, why I’m having to write this.
Of course, this isn’t entirely true that he gave zero. Humans aren’t usually one thing or the other. He did care about the people in his Circle of Trust (Revelation: Must have grieving family over to watch “Meet the Parents”). I was one of the people in the Circle. I’m not sure if I won him over, or he just stopped caring about how mouthy I was. But in my later teen and early adult years, he would surprise me by asking my about my life. And listening. And laughing.
He also could tell a joke. And a story. And most of them were blue. (Again: Boston. And also Michigan–which is where he got his J.D. [Parenthetical to my parenthetical: his toast at his eldest daughter’s wedding–where half the room was British–was, simply, “Go Blue.”]) Maybe his propensity for blue humor is why I didn’t hear much out of him until I got old enough…
I’m still in denial he’s gone, even though he’s been leaving for years. And I’m angry and sad for myself, and on behalf of the family he leaves behind. It was time, and all those other mumbled words of comfort. But this time sucks.
In recent years, I’d visit and he’d ask about The Swedelock and The Child. The last time we sat together he was beyond tired. I think he had just been to dialysis. But he still wanted to tell me about the day my mom ran down the alley to tell them that I was pregnant. It wasn’t the first time he’d told me about that day. But it still struck me that he gave so many fucks about how giddy my mom was, and how happy that made him.
I’m going home to talk with his family about the other fucks he gave. Now that I’m out of Oreos, that is.