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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Hot Toddy's Dad

If you met my father, you would have a hard time believing that we share the same genes. Physically, I suppose, we are similar. At 6'6", I'm just two inches taller than he is. The similarities end there.

I called my parents in Texas this weekend. Auburn Pisces has encouraged me to speak with them more often. "Someday they will be gone. Enjoy them while you have them here," she tells me.

So, I called them, and it wasn't as painful as I feared. There are two reasons I rarely call my parents. First of all, I don't want to hurt my mother by discussing certain aspects of my life that disappoint her. She isn't comfortable talking about my sexuality or my politics or my spiritual beliefs. Weather is a very safe subject with her.

My father is also difficult for me to talk with, because he has no tact and is very critical. A couple years ago we were talking about my cousin, who spent time in jail and dealt with a serious drug habit. My father said, "Well, son, you have done a lot of things to disappoint me, but at least you were never on drugs." He meant it as a compliment. He tries. I know he does.

I was explaining to my housemates that the reason I always apologize if I forget to do the dishes or if my music might be too loud is that I grew up being reprimanded on a daily basis. I was scolded for eating too much or for NOT eating my bread crust or for having friends that were too loud. I was scolded for not turning my dirty socks right-side out when I put them in the laundry basket. Other people dealt with much worse things than that, I know. I have a friend whose father burned him with cigarettes, so I'm not saying I had it all that rough. But my father definitely contributed to my constant worry that I will inconvenience another person. It's almost as if I apologize for existing sometimes.

My father and I have so little in common:
1. My father has a confederate flag in the rear window of his pickup truck. The only flag I own is Swedish flag from my trip to that country.

2. My father's truck has a horn that plays "Dixie". I played baritone horn through high school and college.

3. My father's handle on the CB radio was "Cowboy". The first boy I kissed was dressed as a cowboy on Halloween. Ew. The Freudian implications of that statement are freaking me out. Let's move on.

4. My father can't stand Barbra Streisand. He says she screams when she sings. I am gay.

5. My father loves Anita Bryant because she kissed him on the cheek during a USO tour when he was in the Air Force. I am gay.

6. My father's two favorite meals are Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast (SOS) and Ribs. I am a vegetarian.

7. According to my mother, my dad supposedly has a great singing voice, but I have never heard him sing. My friends and I sing karaoke often, and I sometimes do musical theater.

8. When I was growing up, my father wouldn't go to church with us. Last time I went home to visit, he was disappointed that I didn't want to attend church with them now that he goes regularly.

9. When I was younger, my father sold glass pack mufflers to make extra money. Until recently, I thought my car had 6 Horsepower.

10. My father drinks PBR. So do I, when I can't afford Maker's Mark.

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