Not A Chip Off the Old Block

Super Nintendo photo nintendo_zpsjva4vure.jpg
I am a fan of the Super Nintendo like my mom

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?

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Don’t Look In the Dresser!

When was the last time you were embarrassed? How do you react to embarrassment? 

embarrased

How about “When was the last time you were really embarrassed? I mean, just ran out of the room face red as a beet and never wanted to speak to anyone again? Didn’t even want to think about the moment.

I have a very well kept story that has never been told on the Internet, basically because I’ve never found the appropriate place to do it. Well, here in the ever polite and caring world of WordPress, I can speak my thoughts without feeling too concerned about what people will think of me. Here I go again, searching through the cobwebs of my memory…

I was 9 years old at the time.

One day mom was putting fresh laundry away in my dresser when she yelled out my three names: “Matthew Robert Hammell!” I was out in the living room, in my boy scout uniform and getting ready to go to a meeting that night at the elementary school. I immediately looked to my room down the hall and mom putting clothes in my dresser. She had found my private stash. The one I begged no one to find. The dirty magazine collection along with other stuff I had collected over the last few months. I immediately ran out of the house and up the slide in the backyard, burying my head in my arms just like you see in the image above.

I still don’t know if was normal for a kid at that age to have a morbid curiosity about the mysteries of the human body and sex. My curiosity had been peaking at an all time high and I didn’t feel like there was anything wrong with it. I discovered my very first Playboy magazine in the cabinet of a computer desk at my uncle’s house. I remember him saying “Don’t look in there” in a kind of joking/serious tone, but of course that only added fuel to my fire. I secretly took the magazine, folded it up in a tube, stuffed it down my front pocket, concealed it under my shirt, and went into the bathroom. There, I started tearing out the pictures I liked the best, stuffing them in my pocket and discarding the magazine behind the toilet. When I went out, everyone was curious as to why I was in there so long. To this day, I still don’t think they ever put two and two together but I suspected it.

And so I brought those cut out pictures home and created a “private” collection of pleasurable things. But it didn’t stop there. I even hand drew a picture of a naked lady on a barstool from one of the magazine pictures, the one that was a real embarrassment for me when mom and dad found it and showed it to me later on. And since I had a minor crush on a girl my age who lived in the house in back of us, I wrote a very inappropriate poem about her, that got thrown away immediately by my mother. I am hoping against hope that the girl never was told about it. Because maybe that would explain why she ran away from me at my graduation ceremony, the first time I saw her in years.

The most embarrassing of this moment is when mom and dad sat me down one night and had “the talk”. Oh god. How I still remember dad and his drilling stare, mom looking very uncomfortable indeed. “He’s only 9 years old,” she said, wanting dad to back off and not be so harsh, back off on the hard pressing questions of what led me to this. When he showed me the picture of the lady I drew, I could hardly look at it, totally ashamed of myself.

The next day, my parents did a little more investigating. It all seemed to centered around that picture I drew, which was very well done I have to say. They asked me why I drew it. And so I made up an elaborate lie of saying a kid at the school, a big kid named Lance I thought was in the fifth grade and typecast as my ideal bully, forced me to draw it on the playground table or he would beat me up. Oh, wow. How stupid could I have been?

So my parents went over to the school and talked with the teachers, trying to hunt down this imaginary bully of mine. I was in the third grade at the time and this was way over my head and a number of the adults as well. I was kind of hoping they didn’t pick anyone out in particular, because that would only be more embarrassing for me and kind of weird to the suspected. No, they never did find anyone, and figured out I was lying through my teeth and asked why I lied. I couldn’t ever say, but it was my fear of telling them about my raging curiosity of the female anatomy.

The rest of the story involved mom and dad never wanting to speak of this incident ever again, eventually trashing the evidence just in time for my grandma to come over and have dinner.

So I’ll end this story here with a link to a mother’s similar story about the perils of raising a typical red-blooded American male, this one being 13 years old. I was ahead of the game.

Photo credit: harmanlaw.com


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Isn’t Your Face Red.”

WPC: Reward

Happy and bright with love,
The ones that looked above,
Thy inventor of me,
Together at Christmas;
And above all else,
The reward in my life,
Is still having two people
To fall back on
When all else fails;
And when my world seems
To be crumbling before me,
These two are still there
To give me hope and inspiration,
Keep me on the path to my dream,
My never ending journey


Weekly Photo Challenge: Reward

If I Had Never Known My Father

If I had only met my father just today, I don’t know what I would say to him. Would I shake his hand or give him an awkward hug? Casually greet him with uncertainty or shout with joy at how excited I was to finally see him? For one thing, I know his outlook on me would be totally different than what is has been. He wouldn’t know about my faults and would be less likely to judge me. I believe there would be more conversation and not so much of that ‘icy wall’ between us. We might be willing to share more of our well kept secrets than we normally would have if I had known him for my entire life since it would not be so embarrassing.

On the other hand, it might be harder to relate to him because we both have difficulty starting conversations and having anything interesting to talk about. Our relationship would be rather awkward at first but eventually I believe we could be great friends, just on a less intimate level. I know I would be calling him by his first name for a while because there wouldn’t be that commanding respect between us right away and I could know him on a more personal level. That would be quite appropriate for a relationship in the early stages of development; a newly seeded plant sprouting up from the ground for the first time; a pillow still fluffy and fresh; a brand new book just opened with pages that feel like air and ink as crisp as night.

My dad would likely want to do more fun things with me, more father-son activities such as going to sporting events, fishing, or even nights out on the town. He does have artificial hips and can’t do a whole lot of strenuous work but he could at least try to go more places with me and participate in certain activities, knowing that he is trying to be a good father. I believe there would be more of a will to get to know each other and not just forcing it. There wouldn’t be any grudges between us, other than the fact that I had not known him until now.

It would be shocking at first to know that we share some of the same traits both mentally and physically. Other than hating the fact that I have things in common with my dad that are not quite up to par with what other people believe are ‘normal’, I would embrace these things because a connection would be formed between us. There is a bit of love between us right now, but if I had only just met him today I believe that would be amplified. I would want to spend as much time as possible with my father to make up for all the lost time that we could have spent together. It would be more mutual and honest; we wouldn’t hold anything back; the relationship would not be stunted and crippled like it is now but would grow into a tall, healthy, and impressive looking redwood. That would mean more than anything to me.


In Response to the Daily Prompt: Delayed Contact