53 years ago this week, I opened my first eye with dread. Today I would be inducted into the Army. I had a massive hangover (as usual) and realized I was out of cigarettes.
I pulled on my cranberry iridescent dress pants and slid a yellow, wine stained ban-lon shirt over my head so I could go out to the kitchen and mooch a Herbert Tareyton regular off my mother.
My father was home for some strange reason. The only time you would find that guy home on a weekday was when my mother was having another baby. Which was 10 annual occasions.
Right now, I’m a wreck. I’m running late, I can’t find my shoes, kids are screaming, I got a fucking hangover and I have to ask my father to lift his legs so I could see if my left shoe was under the couch.
All the while he’s hissing behind the newspaper about what moron I am. My mother is hysterical over me possibly getting killed in a war that’s being played out every night on CBS news. “Bob, she said, “he’s going away, he could get killed.”
“Awww for chrissakes, it’ll make a man out of him” he groaned. I hated him for that. I was his namesake first born and he thought I was a goddam fool.
And I was, as I would soon find out. The next few years damn near killed me in more ways than one. But it grew me in ways I never would have if I missed that opportunity to serve the country.
As he used to say, “I’m your father, not your friend.” I’m glad now he was so tough on me. I still feel his presence every day.
Especially when I’m trying to find my shoes. :).