This piece was supposed to be ready Father’s Day weekend. I was simply incapable of dealing with the emotional content at that point. It was also supposed to be ready three days ago but I was involved in a six-day production that I did not know would involve exclusively 19+ hour days. Both of these things ended up working to my advantage because they provided me with more perspective for the topic I’m tackling. I want to talk about my dad.
If you regularly read this site (or ComicMix or even The Beat) you probably are aware that my father died just over two months ago. I didn’t write anything that week. That was primarily because I was so stunned and so hurt that I didn’t feel like I could properly do the subject any amount of justice. Then there was the overwhelming amount of touching words written in the immediate aftermath by all sorts of wonderful people. I didn’t want to diminish their wonderful words by covering them with the immediate primacy that being the son would give me. This is the most diplomatic way I could come up with of saying that I was afraid of being buried by my esteemed colleagues here.
It was the day after Father’s Day that crystallized my perspective. As I mentioned a little while ago I am in the process of moving. Past the struggle of finding an apartment I finally signed a lease this month. Then they found a gas leak in my apartment. I was stunned and my first instinct was that I needed to call my dad. That’s when I got what I could talk about that no one else could. You can read what an amazing friend he was, what an exemplary husband, how smart he was, and how funny. No one else can tell you what it was like to be raised by him. To have somewhere around half of my entire worldview to be shaped by a guy like dad. It was completely amazing and I’d like to talk a little more about it right now.
I think the quality that most defined my relationship with my father was how interested he would be in me being interested in something. He was a gifted researcher and a conversation on even the most mundane topic would often be followed up with a series of links in my email following up. When I saw The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca in short order and remarked about how much I enjoyed Peter Lorre I had a DVD of M in my mailbox by the end of the week. When I moved to LA, he started reading the Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly and was constantly sending me links about fun things happening around town or profiles on local personalities I was interested in. You’re reading that right, my father was more connected to the city I live in than I was.
He was always there to solve problems for me. If I needed to know how long to cook a casserole or how to clean a specific article of clothing or what to do if questioned by the FBI he was the one to talk to. The last one never actually came up for me but I remember the answer to this day (take a card and say, “my lawyer will call you back”). That’s why I was taken aback by not being able to ask him about my gas leak. Even though the immediate answer there was pretty obvious (call the landlord) I missed him telling me what to look out for and where all the scams would come in. Not because I was worried that I was naïve or that I couldn’t deal with a situation like that on my own, he prepared me very well, but it was so comforting to hear stuff like that from him. I miss that every day. I miss my dad.