Sunday, July 23, 2006

And all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity

I spoke to my Dad earlier today. He's back in Omaha, having been sped astonishingly quickly through his "outprocessing" procedure at Fort Benning. He's tired and out of whack, time-zone wise, but otherwise just fine. It sounds like our old chocolate lab Jester, who is 13 and sadly on his last legs, perked up at my Dad's return.

Dad's supposedly safe from being called back up by the Army for at least another six months, possibly a year, he's not sure exactly, but then after that he's fair game again. It was about three and a half years between the time he got called up to Afghanistan and this time, so maybe that will hold true again. I wish I could say that maybe things will be quieter in the world in a few years and there won't be such a need for our Army, but the way things are going in the Middle East (and with our doofus boy-king at the helm of this country), that's not looking too darn likely.

I started figuring out in my early twenties that my Dad and I didn't really agree on many political issues. It was a bit of a shock to me, because I've always looked up to my Dad and been proud of him (and still do and am), but then I guess it's always hard for kids to individuate from their parents and proclaim their own identities.

My Dad and I can talk about pop culture - movies, comedians, food, TV shows, music, all that stuff with absolutely no problem whatsoever, and our tastes are much the same. We both cackle at reruns of Monty Python and MST3K, we both like to slather hot sauce on a variety of unlikely foods, and we both believe that The Who circa 1969 could play rings around the Rolling Stones of any era.

But I'm afraid my Dad is a bit of a Republican (although he would probably describe himself as Independent, I'm guessing). He voted for Bush both times - mostly because of his ideas about money and taxes, I believe, but also because of his pro-military stance and aggressive foreign policy.

I still remember a telephone conversation we had when he was working as a Medical Director for an insurance company that was affiliated with a Catholic hospital system. Part of his job was overseeing the approval and denial of claims, and since it was a Catholic hospital, no abortions or birth control were covered by insurance. I asked him, "Well what are the women supposed to do, then?" and he said, "Well, I guess they shouldn't be having sex." and I was sort of flabbergasted by how unrealistic that was.

And I guess I shouldn't be surprised when it turns out we think differently about other things, too, but I still am, somehow.

So when I mentioned to my Dad today that the neighbors had sold their house to a development company that was going to put up condos, the way I phrased it was, "We've had some bad news." and then I told him what was going on. And he said, "Why is that bad news?"

And I just thought, "Wow."

I've been majorly, honestly depressed for the past two days since I found out about this whole thing. I've been working on fighting it, too, doing research and printing out flyers and talking to neighbors, but my overall mood has been one of near-despair. Kind of like the first few days after you get dumped by a significant other. You wake up in the morning, and for the first few seconds everything is fine, and then you remember, and you go, "Oh yeah," and the crushing black void descends on your vision. Like that.

So my Dad saying, "Why is that bad?" just made me stop and go, "Maybe our viewpoints are so different that I should just not even try to explain this to him." So I didn't.

Partly I felt like a chicken-shit, like I could have made him understand if I really tried, and partly I just felt like "Eh."

He's home. He's safe. Now we can continue to talk about meaningless trivia and silently agree to disagree on the things that really matter. Just like any family.

Thanks for reading.


Adams said...

"we both believe that The Who circa 1969 could play rings around the Rolling Stones of any era."

What the fuck?! My mind? She is blown.

Blown, Aphrodite!

thptpth said...


You prefer the Stones?

zachdb said...

Ah yes, welcome to the world of parent-child meat-of-the-matter avoidance. I'm intimiately familiar with this land, though less for political reasons and more for personal ones. It's actually remarkable how much of a conversation can be filled with talk of weather, movies, or tv.

Electric Mayhem said...

I have to wholeheartedly agree with Adams on this.

Adams said...

It's not so much that I love the Stones ( I do) and don't particularly care for The Who (I don't). It's that in the time-honored tradition of hoary cliches, WE ALL KNOW THAT IT GOES "there are two kinds of people in the world: Stones people and Beatles people. What kind of person are you?" And then the hipster fucking loser you're talking to says "Neither. I'm a Kinks fan," and then you get into a fistfight. The Who don't even come into it! You are fucking with my paradigm in ways I am not comfortable with, Hova.

thptpth said...

I purposely left the Beatles out of it because the Beatles are in their own category. They can only be compared to themselves.

And I like the Stones! I do! They kick ass! The Who just kicks more ass. (And I'm ashamed to admit I didn't know any Kinks other than "Come Dancing" [how sad is that?] until I met KB - he's a Kinks fan.)

How can you say The Who don't even come into it? Have you seen Quadrophenia? You have? Go watch that shit again. Then watch Gimme Shelter again and report back to me.

This message will self-distruct.

Adams said...

I was going to say something more about this, but I read your latest post about how you're fighting the good fight against "the man" and I am too filled with admiration for your energy and civic commitment and shit.

thptpth said...

Can I use that at the hearing tomorrow?

"You should deny this variance because I am filled with energy and civic commitment and shit."