My dad’s birthday is tomorrow, his 56th. Long live the king. Another day older, another day wiser I guess you could say. We’ve haven’t always seen eye to eye but there has always been a mutual respect between us. His understanding of the world is obviously a whole lot different from mine because of the different times he grew up in. He knows how to use a computer obviously, but there is still many other technological things that would be a mystery to him, like smartphones and tablets. I’m seeing him more often than ever since my parents split, nearly every day now, which is a good sign that our relationship will start to strengthen more over time.
So the story of how my dad met my mom is a fairly simple one with no fancy frills or bells and whistles, but the way it has been told to me can be fairly confusing because various parts of the story always change. It involves a newspaper ad, a boxed lasagna meal, a mustache, dog, and some rather business like ideas. Just like the show’s nine seasons, a real life journey to meet the mother of the eventual children in question has a lot of twist and turns and ultimate choices that impact the outcome. And sometimes the eventual outcome is bittersweet compared to the crazy adventures beforehand.
Now, unlike Ted from the show, my dad never really had a rich dating life before he met the Mrs. to be. Shortly after he graduated from university, the groom to be put an ad in the newspaper looking to find a match. It was this blind date service and this was way before online dating was even a thing, like 1985. The bride to be answered the phone number provided there and got a hold of the person on the other end.
Now the guy in question, my future dad, didn’t know how to cook so a box of Stouffer’s ready made lasagna was substituted for a homemade meal. No one could tell the difference though, not even my future mom, not even his mom.
My dad sported a big mustache back then and always wore a suit coat and tie and carried a briefcase. Well, one day while he was out to meet my mother’s mother, he hung his expensive suit coat on the stair banister. That seemed like a swell idea until the dog named Putzie went and lifted his leg and peed on it.
What followed next was a cruise and some other details.
Denny’s really did a dumb thing today and now they are in for a talking. They did something that has made me question the integrity of their operation as a whole, at least the one I was at.
For my dad’s 55th birthday today, we went to Denny’s for breakfast AND a second time for lunch, followed by Finley’s. Since he is at the double nickel age, he gets to order off of the senior menu that includes meals at a discount price. Reaching that section of the menu is quite a monumental thing because it means you are on the last leg of your life. It is the final stage of the menu, located on the back. You start off as a kid ordering tiny meals off of the kiddie menu that is provided. Once you get around 12 years old, it is time for the main, adult section that includes meals fit for any big appetite. That will go on a long time until it is time to finally graduate to senior status.
The birthday meal consisting of the four of us went very well until it was time to pay.
Getting up to pay after a hearty meal is not always easy. I feel so full that I can hardly walk, feeling my stomach bulge.
The cashier/manager asked me how my meal went. I of course said it was delicious. He then asked if I would like to leave a tip on my credit card. I simply said “No” because it would be left on the table. I had paid my bill with my credit card and received the receipt. I was getting ready to leave the restaurant with my parents when the waitress said behind my back,”Do you want to have an iced tea to take out?” Of course, I was confused at this. Why would she say that? I had had an iced tea to drink with my Biscuits and Gravy meal; one of them I finished, the other I didn’t, so maybe that was the reason behind this. Still, it was strange because she didn’t seem to realize I was walking out of the building when she asked, and it was asked in an offhand matter, with she not even looking up. She also sounded out of it.
That was just the start of the weirdness that ensued.
As we were leaving the restaurant and going to the car, the manager of the restaurant stepped outside, in the freezing cold, and said that one of us hadn’t paid their bill yet. It was eventually me he was referring to. He seemed rather nervous and panicky. We went back inside and tried to sort out this bit of confusion. It seemed as if the waitress had gotten the receipts mixed up at the table and one of us paid for the wrong thing. They accused me of walking out without paying, which was definitely false. An argument broke out among the waitress and the manager, trying to fix everything. This isn’t the first time an issue with the bill has occurred.
Anyway, my dad was going to call the corporate office and complain about this inconvenience. The manager should not have to step outside of the restaurant and demand we all come back in. That is just rude and disrespectful. He tried calling but no one was available, so he was going to try again tomorrow. I believe it is a little too much to call up the corporate headquarters in Spartanburg, South Carolina just to complain about a minor issue like this. Sure, it may be discriminating and singling someone like me out who can act a bit peculiar at times, but it is done and no one is hurt. I’m still proud that he sticks up for me like that.
Tell someone you’re proud of just how proud you are.
Christmas is all about miracles. To be able to change someone’s life for the better or at least give them hope is the best thing this season could offer.
So I am freed from a 1000 year imprisonment of my own lamp, like Genie in Aladdin? And I am asked to choose one person to grant the proverbial three wishes to? Well, after a short thought process, I know who I would choose.
To my dad, who I’ve known since day one, I grant him three wishes that are intended to be used to:
- Ask for regular, organic hips (getting rid of the artificial ones) to be able to walk and run freely again for the first time in a long, long time. This would surely help him get in shape and be healthier and happier.
- Get the job he always wanted with that top notch university degree of his. He always wanted to be a medical biller but has gotten sidetracked in life.
- Rise above the people who control him and be able to make his own decisions.
Daily Prompt: Generous Genies
Remember those lovely genies who grant wishes? Well, you’re one and you’ve just been emancipated from your restrictive lamp. You can give your three wishes to whomever you want. Who do you give your three wishes to, and why?
I definitely like to say that I’m not like my dad, who is so square he could be pass as a building. Stuck in his ways, unable to do anything new. His clothes have stayed the same, his haircut has stayed the same. He was in the marching band; I wasn’t. He had a dog as a kid; I’ve had nothing but a clowder of cats.
The world also revolves around him, as far as he’s concerned. Getting mad at pedestrians for crossing the street, flipping the bird at a driver who cuts him off, and then proceeding to put on a “I hate the world” look for the rest of the day. He also doesn’t know when to not text, sending one about his work schedule every week, sometimes in the middle of the night. It’s the same thing and I don’t really care. He’s been listening to the same music for as long as I’ve known him, the oldies station going back to when it wasn’t known as the oldies station, but something like “new wave” or “new rock”. Flipping through the stations and coming across a catchy Katy Perry or Maroon 5 song, I know it won’t stay on there long. And, flip, I’m right.
On the bright side, he loves hockey and has been going for the Red Wings ever since they were called the Dead Wings. I remember when he used to tape the games on a VCR (sad nostalgic tear), getting it programmed to automatically record the primetime game on the channel, while he was away at work. He would watch the game later, with a bowl of sherbet in his lap and usually shirtless with a hairy dad body, now enjoying having the power to speed through commercials and get to the good parts of the game. As a little kid I would sit down on the couch and observe the game, he occasionally shouting out a random swear word, yelling at the TV everytime a call didn’t go the Wings way. I didn’t have much interest in sports back then like I do now but I tried to watch and understand the meaning of the game, getting that these red suited guys skating up and down the ice and crashing into other players, trying to put a little black rock into a net, was a very special thing to my dad. He still love the Wings to this day, now going down to the Michigan Theatre to see them compete in the playoffs. 24 straight years now, every year since my birth. They don’t always win but they sure put up a fight. I’m not a big fan of hockey like him though. I love football; he only watches it occasionally.
I have realized I’ve inherited some of his self-centered attitude. I do think about myself a lot and am very private with my thoughts. We both can be quieter than a calm sea at times and go off into a corner with no one realizing we’re there. We’re both highly intelligent and have a way with crunching the numbers and strategizing, especially with board games like Clue. He’s very crafty at that game and has a religious passion for it but I’ve since caught up to him in skill after years of trying to figure the game and his sneaky strategy out (some cheating probably involved). He is a good father though who has been through some tough situations in his life, like having to have artificial hips implanted and not being able to enjoy the freedoms of running and excessive celebrations, in fear of misplacing his hip plates and possibly having to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Which would only add to his pleasure of having people seek pity for him.
My mom, on the other hand, can be a bit of a dim lightbulb. She has a limited education and can say some derogatory things without knowing exactly what’s she saying. She is also absentminded and always forgetting something: wallet, keys, charger cord, driver’s license, library card, credit cards. I like to joke that she would forget her head if it wasn’t screwed on tightly. She not very good with vehicles either, every car she’s owned being broken down and the victim of wear and tear as well as a chronic messiness of bills, wrappers, cans, bills, bottles, crumbs, bills, candy canes, and more papers.
If there is one thing we have in common, it is probably our forgetfulness. I have left behind a couple of possessions in my lifetime and am always misplacing things like my wallet, phone, and those tiny memory cards that like to flip across the room and land in oblivion, being found a year later when things are being moved around. The charger cord extension for my Handycam was left behind in a hotel room last December, forcing me to charge it by plugging it into the computer with its short cord. I’ve gotten along nicely so far, having used the camera to take shots of full moons, the blood moon coming up in a couple days.
There are some similarities between me and my folks, such as the way we look (people are always saying my dad and I look alike) but I like to have some separation in terms of personality and style, even staying away from getting into the same jobs, just to say that I am my own unique person. I love my parents, but sometimes they can do the stupidest and most embarrassing things (please don’t pick your nose, dad, and touch the chips we share) that make me want to never totally end up like them. A good way to be, I say.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I’ve Become My Parents.”
Do you ever find yourself doing something your parents used to do when you were a kid, despite the fact you hated it back then?
Remember when you said you wanted to read my blog and I gave you the web address to it? I told you the name, spelling out the letters since it is a funny word that you most likely wouldn’t understand, but apparently you didn’t register it completely and said you would come back to it later, maybe when you had more time. I could have written it down but that would have made me seem a bit pretentious, a bit needy. Well, you still have not gotten back to me on this, haven’t informed me of your decision to check out my work. I know you have been busy as of late with your surgical appointments and trying your best to get by at work with your predicaments, but I would be feel greatly appreciated if you had, in the back of your mind perhaps, the future intention of visiting my blog, had it as a priority to see what your son has been cooking up for the last few months, to see how much thought and practice went into turning this little project of mine into something worthwhile and central to my identity. You would no longer be in the dark with this hobby of mine, the mystery would be lifted, you would understand my reasons for doing this better than ever, would change your mind about it being an irrelevant time waster.
As of now, you are in a hospital bed at MacLaren’s resting after just having surgery to realign your artificial hip joint. I hope your surgery went well and you are doing fine, though word from Jack and posts on Facebook seem to confirm that you made it through alright. I know it is not easy being in your position and life gets tougher for you as these problems with your hips resurface after ten years, 2005 being the last time you had to get hip replacements. I know your job at the Dollar General is not the most ideal for you and the people you work with are not your biggest fans, since your disability does make it difficult to stand all day and to move at the speed strictly required for this job. I can only imagine the stress and pain you must feel after about an hour of continuous standing behind the cashier counter, unable to use a stool because it wouldn’t look good for business in the manager’s eyes. You are being very mistreated at this job, a cruel deal of them cutting back your hours to basically fit one full work day, making barely enough money to pay for gas on a weekly basis. Finding a job has been difficult for you, application after application going through and coming back with a big fat “Rejected” stamped on it, and landing this one at Dollar General was basically taking whatever you could get. I hope you are welcomed back with open arms when you do eventually return to your job, but I assume you and I are going to take that with a grain of salt since the history with your fellow employees has been rocky.
If the right time comes around and you do take the opportunity to read my blog someday, I hope you realize the budding talent I have nurturing here, what amazing experience I have been partaking in for the last year and a half. I would love for you to get a glimpse at some of the most inner, personal thoughts I have always had on my mind but never shared with you or anyone else for that matter. I would really love to make you proud, to see a smile form on your face, to have something to share with you that we could then converse about over an afternoon lunch, or when we are in the car alone. My biggest hope for this blog was to have people be interested in reading about events in my life and being inspired by the thoughtful pieces I have written. It soon turned into a place where I could mediate through writing, could explore different ways to interpret ideas, play around with different genres of writing. It soon led to a place where I could share pictures, showcase my growing talent for photography. Photography soon led to developing the poetic side of my mind, being able to express ideas creatively with artful prose. When I started this blog back in June of 2013, I really had no idea where this would lead me and it didn’t start off that smoothly. I spent a lot of time writing my very first posts, meticulously checking them over, adding and deleting bits I found interesting or just redundant, but they just didn’t appeal to anyone, being completely ignored for the most part. It wasn’t until late September 2014 that this blog truly took off, reaching heights I had not seen yet, sparking a brand new fire inside myself, opening up the door to new and exciting ideas that had always eluded me. If you looked back on the early months in the life of this blog, you would see that I started off writing epic long pieces that tried to include as much detail as possible in order to impress a potential gracious audience. But the trouble I ran into as time went on is that I had no plan set in motion for this blog, was not aware of the many things I could have been doing to improve my blog beyond a jumbled pile of words and pictures.
When you get out of the hospital, there lies a hope inside me that you will witness a sort of “rebirth”, a new sense of hope being introduced into your life. I really want you to look at life differently from now on, to approach things differently. By taking a trip to my little corner of the web, I truly believe you will learn so much more about your own son that you had never known before and will greatly enjoy what you see.
Your immensely talented son, Matt
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Audience of One.”
Daily Prompt: Secret Santa
Never quite made it
Never quite reached it
Was inexplicably halted
Dealt a bad hand
Could have grown tall
But God was against this
And when metal replaced hip
That was pretty much it
Immobility became his enemy
Life’s dream sabotaged
Backed in a corner
My gift to dad
Is to cure him of his ailment
To walk big strides
To seize the moment
To run against the wind
To be unrestricted
To live again
With unlimited freedom
And chains unbound
Run, run away from the barking problem hounds
It’s a gift with no price tag
Something that can’t be bought
What I would call a magic miracle
Because this would change his life a lot