Sunday, June 20, 2004

For My Dad- "Dad,"
Congratulations On Successful Parenting for 25 Years!

Instead of sending a card or a puppy, I wrote this touching comedic essay on specific moments throughout the years, and their relationship to something completely unrelated and/or strange thereby developing an unsubstantiated hypothesis disguised as a sudden unexplained ending.

Plus Golf Tips!

And so it arrives, this day set aside to thank the Y chromosome in my developmental processes for unleashing his characteristics all over my gene pool, forcing me to be spat out into this world and then, luck of all luck, to exist. And exist I did!

But not without the help of a little thing called... um, those early years seem to be kind of a blur. Ok, I definitely recall being carbon-based and multicellular. And small, though photographs would indicate a large amount of baby fat in the cheek area. I was probably spending most of my free time developing basic motor skills and allowing my cells to divide and conquer my small-ness at a rate since unmatched. (Though it's entirely possible I was simply overcompensating for my hefty cheeks.)

It wasn't until I conquered what French psychiatrist Jacques Lacan defines as the "mirror phase" (the discovery of "self" by the ability to distinguish between "self" and "other," or "self" and "mother," or "self" and "shiny object." this theory is based on the structuralist tenet- lacan being a linguist on the side- that our "self", or in language "the signifier", cannot exist without the recognition of "the other" or the "signified." it's all one giant argument for the presence of context, which I shall return to at a more opportune moment.)when my life really began to take off. For one of the most recognized "others" was my father. And, as though I were giving linguistics the big thumbs-up, I promptly uttered the phrase "da."

Or was is "ball." (ba) I know I was one and my brother the other (not THAT other, silly) but since it is I- not he- penning the tribute essay I shall recall that my first shout out was in recognition of dad. And it's highly unlikely that my first utterence to the world would refer to an object used primarily in sports, unless I had an unusually early grasp of irony.

Instead of using this newfound communication skill to yap endlessly to anyone in earshot about things I saw, what they were called, and my basic grasp of "noun followed by exclamation point" sentence structure, I chose to instead quietly observe my surroundings, letting everything mull and only talking when absolutely necessary. Sources say I was a quiet child, only excited over select events. One of these events was Dad's return from the office, an event marked by the roar of one dark green Toyota known by some as the "mean green riding machine."

I did not coin that particular nickname.

That was one cool car, though. Orange leather-ish interior, cracked to perfection. A faint gasoline-like odor emerging from some unknown realm..these are not amenities you find on a car available (legally) in today’s market.

Some might go so far as to say that my reluctance to let go of my own aging toyota was an attempt to replicate the mean green riding experience. Some might also say that I just made that up just now. Some would be right.

My father also fostered an early love for harmony-monging singer/songwriters of the far east, being that the only piano songbook I had to practice from prior to age 6 was a Korean version of "The Best Of Simon and Garfunkel."

Now I shall transition flawlessly to a second-grade semi-independent study of art history, primarily impressionist Claude Monet. Having selected him for depicting nature with the same blurry ambiguity formerly reserved for my own mental canvas, I was finding it difficult to transfer Monet's image from my art book, through my head, and onto the canvas. i.e. every time i tried to copy one of his paintings (which, I should mention, was part of a grander project involving note cards and a washingmachine box) it turned out looking less like impressionism and more like some postmodern jab at high-concept refrigerator art. On the verge of abandoning my fake artistic endeavors in favor of fake domesticity, I had all but painted myself into a blue period when, with no prior training in watercolors, Dad joins me in my studio (basement) and our combined art-forgery-talents made Monet looked like Monet, on cardboard, on everything back before the basement was carpeted and nintendoed.

And though I can't say I completely understand the appeal of spending Saturday mornings running until you fall over or are told to stop, I can certainly think of worse ways to get from point A to point B. I would like to offer my gratitude, Dad, that you developed a taste for running, while staying away from such activities as porcupine-wrangling or...ok I can't think of anything worse than porcupine-wrangling. My point (of this paragraph, anyways) is that even though I spent many a Saturday gasping for the sweet breath of life after completing the grossly misnamed "fun run," at least it was 100% free of the deadly quills of an angry porcupine.

There are numerous other vaguely amusing antecdotes, happenstances, reversals of fortune, races against the clock, award winning musical numbers, crime-fightingscapades, and general life lessons involving the central figure of my father’s day celebrationessay, but I am going to refrain from going into any more detail.
Rewrites are already forcing the final draft closer and closer to deadline- a deadline which has, strangely enough, forced the cancellation of any rewrites.

Dad, I have been trying to think of some useful golf tips I can give as parting words of wisdom. I feel my 9mph golf cart rampage that one time has given me special insight, insight which must now be shared:
-Golf is actually a complicated blend of sport and science. Learn the precise combination of this blend that makes the golf ball go into a tiny hole far into the distance and you are sure to score some points.
-Sandtraps to an average golfer: not trapping anything. Sandtraps to a premium golfer: traps any living creature that dares venture towards it.
-Every time you miss a shot, shake your fist skywards and rage at the heavens. Chances are your teammates will slowly back away from you and victory by default is yours!
-Keep in mind that golf is extremely slow-moving and dull. Try not to accidentally lapse into a coma while waiting for your turn.
(with apologies to the onion for stylistic ripoffs)

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Congratulations on a quarter-century of quality me!

(and yes, I am actually sending this to him as he does not read this site)