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Monday, August 14, 2006

Reflection on My Father...

I started this blog in order to write about my father. It seems the more I think about what I want to write, the less writing I do. There were things about my father that I never understood things about him because he was already an old man (45 years old) by the time I was born. I never quite realized while he was still alive those things about him that he was unable to change or adjust for me. I mean, not that I expected him to change anything for me but I suspect it is inevitable to be forced to change some things when you have a child. To his credit, he quit drinking alcohol when I was born. I was told he wanted to set a good example for me. Later as a teenager, I suggested to him to stop smoking. He was not happy about it. He somehow connected his ability to do some things with his manhood; smoking was one of those things. I remember that at my suggestion he exploded responding that if he quit smoking he might as well become a homosexual. I didn't understand what he meant by that until much later. To him, smoking was part of his manliness, as drinking had been, and for him to quit it was a step away from his former self. And his former self--that whom he was before I came along--was the thing that he wanted to hold on to. I certainly do not blame him for this. It is unfair for me to think that a person has to change because of this and that. Moreover, knowing as we do today about personalities, etc., it is totally understandable for him to want to retain a certain aspect of his former self, a defining trait. It is sad that it was smoking what essentially killed him. Knowing rather well what the consequences were, he went right ahead and smoked away. Which brings me to the ultimate crux: in choosing between life and death, he chose manliness. I interpret it that way because I wish to retain that romantic idealism I always crowned my father with. The John Wayne effect. He died with his boots on. Whatever it was that he considered manhood, that was what he chose.


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