I created this profile to warn the others about you. I'm here to portal words through a screen.
I'm a terrible musician without a band, a loud fool without humor, and a weak martial artist without a master. I can't make anyone laugh or dance, let alone, protect them.
My social media experience extends from AOL to Wire-Club. I've never owned a smartphone or taken a selfie. I've never chased a woman or been on a first date.
Tell me you're bored so I can avoid boredom. Share a photo that naturally makes me skeptic. Express some truth I have no concern for.
Life on the internet has naturally made people delusional. I don't know what an adult is nor have I seen one in decades. I share no care, interest, or concern for who you think you are.
So, come as you are, leave as you be, just don't expect me to believe.
I am the man men don't want to be. I am the man women don't want to be with.
I'm just an A.S.S.H.O.L.E. (A Self Serving Hard On Lacking Empathy)
WaterThief: One night I picked some friends up in my hand-me-down 1994 Nissan Sentra. I recently passed my license test and was already on the prowl on a school night. We’d park in the dark corners of various parking lots, roll up weed on a stolen Burger King tray, and try to fog the car up so we couldn’t see each other. Losing track of time and discovering several missed calls from my mother was my cue to drop everyone off and clean up the car before rushing home. I bought a few gallons of gas, drove through the wash, and spent the remaining change on holding the nearest vacuum hostage. I’d make sure before pulling into that driveway that my car would be able to pass any border inspection. The interior clearly showed no sign of company. No indication of spilled sodas, fallen fries, and torn blunt wraps. My mother would warn me at the door that I’m lucky my father had already fallen asleep. So there I thought, I made it pass go, got away, once again, guilt-free.
The next morning I was woken up by a few rapid knocks on my door. It was my father. As soon as I saw that hammering look in his eye I anticipated the first line of questioning to follow. Instead of asking what I was up to last night, he presented me, between his thumb and index finger, with one tiny seed. He already knew. If he already knew, any question thereafter was only to interrogate how creative I’ve become at lying. He asked where I went and I told him only to Royal Palm Beach. He sternly reminded me with a twisted brow that Royal Palm Beach isn’t thirty-five miles away. This made me aware that my father knew where to look in the car, as any former cop would, for clues of foul-play. It also told me that odometer mileage was nothing his memory could feign and something I should begin paying more attention to. My mother may have been relieved that I made it home safely but my father was the type to be more considerate of what I was doing out so late in the first place. I didn’t realize until now that what I thought was accusations, harassment, and invasion of privacy, was my father showing concern for a young boy given the responsibility of his first car.
During my early twenties, I crashed at a friend’s house after a party. I woke up to a flat tire on my Chevy. I was too embarrassed and way too hungover to wake anyone else up and ask for help. I didn’t call my parents the night before to let them know where I was staying. Already, I mentally prepared for the scorn. I ended up walking about eight miles. What felt like a walk in the desert under a scorching sun was due to an asthma attack that lasted to my doorstep. My mother was at work but my father was home. I told my father what happened, about the party, the flat tire, and the asthma. To my surprise, my father didn’t lecture me this time. He grabbed his keys and said “Come on, let’s go fix that tire”. He could tell that I was puzzled by his willingness to help. Did he care about my safety or was he more concerned about bringing the Chevy home? I’ll always remember him saying “Son, if you’re not going to ask these so-called friends of yours, who else is gonna help you?” That was the first time I felt like my dad was on my side.
I remember one day when our friend Ira came up to the gas station. He’s always creating some unique craft or vehicle out of bits and pieces of wood and metal. He’s the Elon Musk of Briny Breezes, you can say. Ira, getting out of his truck with childhood joy, was excited to show my father some new contraption he just finished building. I told him he could find my dad in the garage. All I know is that I saw Ira walk into that garage like some lit-up birthday cake and only after a few seconds, he walked out like a deflated balloon. I started grinning because I was eager to hear what my father said about his toy. Ira looked at me with forlorn disappointment and said “Darryl, your father is a very difficult man to impress.” Something, I’ve come to understand my whole life.
Throughout my young adulthood, I failed to realize that my parents were always going to be there. Waiting for me to get home safely. They were always going to love me in their own way no matter how negatively I’d receive it. Even today, it’s difficult to accept that the people who care about you, who love you, can only do so in their own way. For me, there was never ill-intention. They never tried to keep me down. They’d only want me to flourish through health and ambition. For me, it was tough love. I was given one piece of rope at a time. If I wasn’t going to learn the hard way, their way, there’d be no lesson for me to learn.
I ran away at age fourteen. After stealing my mother’s credit card to purchase a Greyhound bus ticket, I ended up in Georgia, at a girl’s house who I had previously talked to on AOL. If I didn’t leave a letter behind, my parents would have never arrived at her house the very next morning. I never thought about the long road they scurried hoping to reach me in time before losing their only son to child services. That’s what I now understand as devotion.
Once, I overdosed on xanax. I don’t recall the details of the next day outside of the relief of climbing back into my own bed. It wasn’t until later that I learned that my father was ready to stab my trachea because I stopped breathing. It became frustrating for me to imagine how he carried my entire body to the car to streamline to the nearest hospital. After saving my life I saw him under the light of a hero.
Recently, a few years ago, I discovered by accident that under my steering wheel, my father hid a GPS tracking device. He was clever enough to learn from his first mistakes, something I can’t say for myself. Although I was outraged, humiliated, and fueled with distrust, it’s only now I can look back and realize that he just cared. It was his way of protecting me from a distance. I hung out too late at night, with people who didn’t know my name, in places that weren’t too popular. I began lying to my parents about meeting up with friends when I mostly spent time alone. Something I believe my father later caught on to. I’ve been in two car accidents by now even when I wasn’t at fault. It seems that my father wanted me to have my independence as long as he knew where I was because, who else is gonna help me? Again, he was on my side and I was too stubborn and naive to notice.
My mother has always been patient. Being a nurse, she supplied me with brief lessons in compassion and understanding. Mostly, she was concerned for my health and happiness. My father, being stoic in his understanding of the real world as a former police officer, was only concerned about my safety, independence, and self-reliance. Those lessons flipped on his coin of what was simply right and wrong. He never focused on what I wanted as much as what he knew I needed. He gave much thought when investigating the profile of someone’s health, appearance, and first impressions, though.
My father was never my friend. As I grew older, he may have been the only experience I’ve had to that of an elder brother. He may not have always been the dad I wanted but he was certainly the father I needed. He remains the only man in my life to know me better than I know myself. Sometimes, I felt that he wanted my respect for him much more than my love. I always wanted his pride, love, and support more than anything. But it had to be earned after breaking his trust multiple times.
I secretly admired my dad. Not as a husband or father, but just as a man. As I grew older, I couldn’t deny the fact that I’ve gained some of his idiosyncratic ways. The way we’d stare at people and listen to how they spoke. The way we’d respond with outrageous questions and philosophical insight. The way we’d immediately offer advice where it wasn’t required. The way we’d both tacitly look for one small excuse to exploit our martial arts skills onto some other tough guy just as practice to impress ourselves. The way we would laugh at our own flaws in wisdom.
When I was younger, I tried everything to avoid looking like him, thinking like him, and acting like him. It was uncool for me to end up as someone’s “Junior.”. Usually, I’d end up in self-disappointment that I could never be him. I felt like I disappointed him because I was different in a way that he wasn’t too happy about. We didn’t grow up in the same environment under the same circumstances. I’ve struggled my entire life to discover what kind of man I’m becoming. I am my father’s son but I will never be my father. Sometimes, I resented the fact that he was so comfortable in his own skin. He had a radiant confidence that could knock down walls with a calm demeanor. But I grew fond of how musical and care-free he really was. A matter of life and death was his only priority outside the ignorance of nature’s bliss. My respect for him quantified over the multiple moments where I’d witness how hard he’d labor under his breath when covered in oil. There was no problem his hands couldn’t solve. Usually, he could fix anything with one hand while a cigarette nested in the other. He could teach himself anything but became very deliberate on his few selective passions. He was a man that knew exactly what he wanted in life and experienced the turmoil of earning it. What I also admired most, was the effect he had on those around him. He was seen as somewhat of an unspoken alpha male. The kind of man other men wanted to be. Someone, who could lead from behind. He always had his own crew. Whether they were cops, fishermen, or mechanics. He was usually hard on those who he had a mutual respect for. I’d think if he wasn’t yelling at you it’s because he didn’t care enough about you. He was great at what he did but may have been able to convey his own experience clearly to others more as an inspiration than as a teacher.
I’ve wasted most of my past trying to please my parents, making plans to become the kind of man that would make them proud. Trying to make up for all the unnecessary worries, traumatic let downs, and lines of stress caused on their face. All the times I became upset wasn’t towards them because they were right but because I was fully aware that I was wrong. I never thought of myself as being a good son. Not even good enough for them. Going against my father as a teen is where I picked up my anti-authority. Although I could never be as tough as my dad I always pretended that I was. We’d always try to out clever each other which probably explained all the heart-breaking moments where we’d argue to the point of almost swinging at each other.
I can’t explain what my father meant to me in words. If I had the words, perhaps, I’d be able to understand my grief. Maybe, I would’ve been able to understand him better. I’m at the age where I have a recollection to sort through all the times it must’ve been difficult raising a son like me. I wonder if being such a trouble-maker influenced him to become a much stronger father. If I have to make one sore attempt at what he means to me though, I could sum him up in one word. The same word I’d use for each member of my family. “Everything”.
What I’ll miss about my father is when he allowed me into his world. He never watched me play my drums, didn’t ask for me to share my writings, and didn’t go to a show or concert with me. I regret that I’ll never have that experience of having a beer with him at a bar. Instead, I’d be the one to make an effort to do what he enjoyed. It was the only way I knew how to bond with him. To get close to him. Maybe, to open him up a bit. If he asked me to do something I started saying yes. I was always secretly jealous of how much of himself he would reveal his childhood to his own peers, let alone his children. I suppose that most parents, especially fathers, will remain somewhat of a mystery to their kids. I thought being interested in his passions would make him happy doing what he probably wanted me to learn, the way he did. And for the most part, yes, it did. I bought a gun so we could go shooting together. I got up early, learned how to trail a boat, bait and hook fish. I learned how to change oil and tires on cars. I didn’t learn these things until my thirties because he didn’t have the time at work to teach me when his main responsibility was returning a customer’s vehicle that same evening. I won’t just miss what he tried to mentor me in during his latter years but I’ll miss all the small details in life that turned out to not be so small at all.
I’ll miss watching kung fu movies with him where we both criticize what’s effective and what’s just plain ol’ fancy looking. I’ll miss him watching survivor shows where he yells at the screen about how stupid people can be when they lack common sense among nature. I’ll miss him nudging me in the shoulder when observing that the last customer was pretty and seemed to be into me. You gonna talk to her or what? I’ll miss sharing a deep fear I have about the events in my life where he’d raise the corners of his lips to show that I overthink and blow almost everything out of proportion. He had this smirk, this grin, that could ease my worries, allowing me to realize that everything will be alright. I’ll miss the road trips we would take where we’d end up getting lost together. I’ll miss hearing him repeat the same advice because he understood I was too stubborn to listen the first time. I’ll miss hearing him sing in the morning while making coffee, taking a shower, or feeding his cat. I miss hearing his take on the world. How he was capable of bulldozing most of life’s bullshit out of the way to offer clarity. I’ll miss how safe and secure I felt around him. If anything went wrong in the car, in the boat, at home or at work, I knew that he would be able to fix it.. I’ll miss feeling lucky when fishing with him. I’ll miss feeling like a badass when he showed me how to properly use a weapon in self defense. I’ll miss his charm within his brevity. I’ll miss his humor which usually commented on the absurdities of truth. I’ll miss him calling his friends dumbass because they couldn’t do something the way he did. I’ll miss how strangers who underestimated him feared the strength of his fortitude. I’ll miss his childlike wonder. How he was filled with endless amounts of wisdom in history, philosophy, nature, animals, and science. I’ll miss the boy trapped inside my father. I’ll always miss him.