The Bruce

My father called me and I picked up. (Sometimes I do.)

He wanted to talk about his book being made into a movie:

“There’s a group that seems re-eal-ly interested.”

“What kind of group?”

“Well, I don’t really know, but I hired an agent in Chicago who seems to be taking this thing very seriously.”


Typical Dad. Completely out of touch of reality.

He ignores the fact that out of all his friends and family, only one person has actually managed to finish his novel. He ignores the fact that, thus far, he has poured thousands into costs for sketchy publishing and promotional services (but not, unfortunately, editing services) and has get a dime back. When family and friends suggest that  maybe he should just take pride in his work for it’s own sake and not expect to make the New York Times Bestseller list (really, Dad?!), these words go out the other ear.

That’s Dad. Never listening. Always pursuing the next pie-in-the-sky-instant-mega-wealth-sure-fire-to-succeed-scheme – never settling for more practical options and rarely considering others opinions, emotions, and needs.

The second part of the phone conversation involved another common theme – his intention to leave Aberdeen, Washington. (For the last ten years or so, he has been saying as much.) The last time this came up, my older sister refused to speak with him for a number of months months after hearing his plan to leave the (younger) kids with their mom and bail to Nicaragua.

Newest plan: Take his son, leave his daughter. (“I don’t know where we’ll go – Mexico, maybe,” he says dramatically.)

Justification: His ex-wife is dating somebody new.

At the point where he starts to describe his second wife’s “abandonment” of the family, he gets a bit choked up and muses: “I don’t know, maybe some part of this is my fault.” I bite my tongue. What the hell am I supposed to say to my father, who is so obviously upset? Like most decent humans, I generally believe in providing encouragement to loved ones, right or wrong. (This was not a value I learned from my father.)

What I want to say: Actually, Old Man, every bit of this is your fault. And it was all oh-so-predictable. The mail-order bride you married (after ditching your first family) and treated so poorly (so much yelling, so much discouragement of her choosing to pursue a respectable career for herself) doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life milking your ancient balls? What?!The 23-year-old ballerina you married at 46 (exactly twice her age) prefers today to date someone who treats her like a human being? THAT BITCH!



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