Monthly Archives: February 2018

Creative Writing Challenge: I am not your father

She flinched

He pulled back

I know you’re afraid

“You don’t know me!” she said vehemently.

I know you… you’re me

“I’m nothing like you!”

I used to flinch like that.

“So?”

I used to cry like that.

“So?”

I have scars like that.

“What?  Really?”

He used his belt, and his cigarettes.

“So?”

You miss him?

“…yes.”

I miss my father too.

“Why?”

Because he was what I knew.

I thought that’s what fathers did.

He said he loved me.

“Mine did too.”

I think my father liked the idea of me, and not really me.

I always disappointed him.

“Me too.”

Here’s a tissue.

“Thanks.”

I don’t know how long you’ll be here.

“I know.”

I will love you like my own kids.  You’ll see no marks on them.

“So?”

Give me your hands.

We can let that be our hug.

I’m not my father, and I am not your father…but I can be your Dad for a while.

 

 

Advertisements

Poor Jack

So of COURSE I watched “This is Us” after the Super Bowl.  Those of you who have not gotten sucked into this TV show, this is the gist of it.  Jack and Rebecca are pregnant with (OMG) triplets.  A newborn baby is delivered to a firehouse and abandoned.  One of the triplets doesn’t make it, and Jack and Rebecca take the orphaned baby home with them.  The newborn is black and Jack and Rebecca’s family is white.  The action takes place in the present when all the kids are now 37 years old.  Through the use of flashbacks and narratives, we discover the back stories of all the kids.  We know that their dad dies tragically.  We don’t know how but we’re given hints throughout the season.

Now EVERYONE loves Jack.  He’s wise, kind, funny and smart.  He’s adventurous and optimistic.  Even when we find out he’s an alcoholic, we forgive him and care about him.  He adores his kids and will do anything for them to make sure they become great adults.  Rebecca is also wise and smart.  She follows Jack into all sorts of adventures with no trepidation.  She’s brave and resourceful.  She cares deeply for all her kids.  She’s the mama bear you don’t want to cross.  Together they are dynamite!  They are the parents all of us want to be.  EVERY SINGLE ONE of their kids is screwed up.

Kevin is handsome and popular, and doesn’t think he’s worthy of praise and goes out of his way to sabotage himself.  He’s a talented football player that doesn’t work hard in school because he is a talented athlete and then is rude to the recruiter that comes to his house.  His knee then gets permanently damaged and his football career is over before it starts.  Because he didn’t care about his grades, he can not now get into college.  He marries his high school sweetheart, and then cheats on her.  She divorces him.  He realizes that he was stupid and tries to get back with her.  Then, at a reunion, he cheats on her again!  He’s in a very popular sitcom and blows up at the end of an episode because he is incensed that his audience doesn’t mind what he’s saying or what he’s doing as long as he has his shirt off.  Then he quits the show.  He’s in a movie with Ron Howard and Sly Stallone and due to an injury, he becomes addicted to Vicodin and alcohol.  He is honored at a HS reunion and doesn’t believe he deserves any recognition and has a melt down, and loses the necklace his dad gives him in the hospital when his knee was operated on.  He has another meltdown when the woman he had the one night stand with refuses to return his necklace.  He ends up getting and staying very drunk and goes driving with his niece who, without his knowledge, has sneaked into the back of his car.  He is remanded to rehab where, in a mandatory psychological session, he tells everyone what a horrible childhood he had…much to the surprise of the rest of his family.  He’s very fragile.

Kate is a big hearted girl with a gorgeous voice and the most beautiful face and smile.  She’s also 500 pounds.  She binge-eats junk food and convinces herself to hate herself.  It’s just easier to give up and listen to the nasty self talk than to change the self talk.  She meets an amazing guy, Toby, and is planning to get married.  She meets Toby at an Over-eater’s Anonymous meeting, so yes, Toby is also big.  (Shades of Mike and Molly…)  She has a miscarriage due to weight and age and that devastates her.    She’s very emotional and what she can’t handle, she compensates for by eating.  Kate is very fragile.

Randall is the black child in the white family.  Well THERE’S an issue.  But he’s a good kid, a gentleman, deeply caring about his brother and sister.  He’s extremely smart and successful in his work.  He’s always trying to fit in and sometimes tries too hard to please.  He has had 2 nervous breakdowns one of which is just 2 months before he delivers his first child in the living room and he’s cool as a cucumber as he does this!  He is always seeking perfection, and of course that’s not possible.  He is married with two beautiful daughters.  He tends to over-analyze everything and stress over everything.  He had brought his cancer riddled biological dad into his house after discovering him after a long search.  His dad had been a drug addicted, bisexual musician.  (There’s another issue!)  His biological dad dies during this first season.  He and his wife have bought the apartment building where his biological dad used to live, and he’s trying to renovate the place overnight.   Randall and his wife have become foster parents.  They’re taking in the kids that no one else wants–the older ones with problems.  Do you see a pattern here?  Randall is very fragile.

So these perfect parents, Jack and Rebecca, do all the right things when it comes to raising kids.  We all wish we could have had these perfect parents.  So why are all their kids screwed up?  Does that give us hope?  Even though we do everything right our kids might be train wrecks and it’s NOT our faults?  And yet…  Because they lose Jack when the kids are 17, could that be the fly in the ointment?  Well?  They were all showing signs of dysfunction in the flashbacks.  Randall had a notebook where he kept relationship notes not unlike Sheldon in Big Bang Theory.  He’s anxious and too eager to please even at an early age.  Kevin knows he’s popular and well liked and uses that to his advantage, but doesn’t develop well as a person.  For instance:  Kevin knows that his sister won’t get the most popular boy to hold her hand because she’s not thin like the other girls so he bribes the boy Kate wants to get close to with all his Halloween candy.  He feels that his mom prefers Randall because he’s the adopted one, and that Dad prefers Kate because she’s the girl and he feels like he’s on his own.  Kate, on the other hand, gets made fun of by her peers and then jumps in and agrees with their assessment.  She assumes the persona that is put on her by others while in elementary school.  She feels judged by her mom who tries to amend Kate’s fixation on food.  This grows to a feeling of her mom’s judgment on everything she does. All of these incidents happen when the kids are 8/9/10 years old.  So the signs of dysfunction are visible even before their marvelous dad, Jack, dies.

Could this mean that the Dr. Spock books are inaccurate?

Mmmmmmmmmm…could be.

Bubble wrap vs Kylo Ren

Kylo Ren has a problem.

Kylo is a master of the force; he has a big light saber with nasty hand guards that don’t apparently have any function; he has an unnatural fanaticism for his grandfather–Darth Vader; and he has a temper.  Now you have to understand that in the end, Darth Vader killed the emperor/Sith Lord to save his son.  He also gave up the Dark Side of the force and repented his evil ways.  Kylo has murdered the Sith Lord, Snoke, because Snoke threatened the girl he had been having “force initiated” conversations.  Someone called them Forceskype.  He totally wrote off the fact that Darth Vader denounced the dark side, and Kylo prefers to be the all-powerful voice-enhanced, shirtless wonder of the dark side of the force.  He’s all messed up.  Leia and Luke, the people he knew had the force, did not exhibit temper tantrums, and cool Han, the force muggle, didn’t either.  Vader, on occasion, would threaten violence in the form of a force choke hold, but until the emperor, he didn’t destroy property or murder people in a fit of pique.  So how did he come upon this terrible behavior?

My theory is that when he was little, nobody gave him bubble wrap.

“No Kylo, you can’t have the candy, it will ruin your dinner!”

*Popping noises*

“OK Mom.”

“Congratulations Kylo!  You got an A- on the spelling test!” says the teacher

“An A MINUS?!”  

*Popping noises*

“Which word did I miss?  I’ll get it right in the spelling bee…”

“Kylo hurry up!  You’ll be late for your Jedi classes with Uncle Luke!”

I hate Jedi classes, and I don’t like Uncle Luke much either.”

“You want to have control over that force don’t you?”

*Popping noises*

“I guess.  I’ll just get my shoes on.  I’m coming.”

“Don’t forget to smile for your school picture!”

The thing is, there are so many times when if we had bubble wrap, the urge to kill, maim, fire bomb, or sing opera would simply fade away.

“Let’s create a planet killing Death Star!”  *pop pop pop*  “Or not…”

“Let’s destroy this whole village of Resistance supporters!”  *pop pop pop* “or just take all their bubble wrap.”

“Luke, I am your…” *pop pop pop* “What on earth are you playing with boy?  Pay attention to me when I reveal earth shattering news!”  *pop pop pop*  Darth cuts of Luke’s hand anyway.

What if Hitler had had bubble wrap?  “Let’s invade Poland!”  *pop pop pop* “Why am I hungry for loud breakfast cereal?”

Attila the Hun?  “Ok, let’s just take these elephants over the Alps.  They won’t be expecting us from…??  What’s that stuff?  It looks like fun! *pop pop pop*

Demon to Devil, “Oh look!  God has made humanity!”

“Well let’s see how we can mess this up.  Hey Eve!  You want this nice shiny delicious fruit?”

*pop pop pop*

“Eve?”

*pop pop pop*

“Adam?  Aren’t you just a smidge hungry?”

“Yo Eve baby!  You got some more of that divine bubble wrap?”

“Ya hon.  It’s over there by the monkeys.”  *pop pop pop*

Every serial killer ever–

“I feel the urge… the urge to purge!  There’s a like likely victim!  Come here little girl…What do you have there?”  *pop pop pop*  “?  Give me that.”  *pop pop pop*  Little girl skips down the street.

There’s something addictive about popping those little bubbles.  It soothes the soul.  It distracts the mind.  It is destruction that doesn’t leave a mess.  It is noise without pain.  It’s just so darned fun!  Think of the fun they could have at estate dinners!  Think of the summit meetings!  Think of the State of the Union Addresses!  If the democrats had had any imagination, they would have put whoopee cushions in the seats so every time the president got the republicans to stand up, when they sat down…  And the democrats would not have had to applaud, they’d just *pop pop pop* and the president would mistake it for applause.  And if anyone didn’t like a particular part of the speech, they’d just start popping and drown it out.  Think of the UN Security Council meetings.  The Chair recognizes the esteemed representative from the Iranian Empire. *pop pop pop*

“Deputy Director of Operations, CIA, sir…  we have found the terrorists!”

“What have you done?”

“We dropped 300 pounds of the small gauge bubble wrap on them.”

“Do the liberals know?”

“Doesn’t matter.  We dropped 350 pounds of the bubble wrap on them about the same time.”

In conclusion, we can only speculate, but even our worst case scenario would suggest that the final tally would read:  bubble wrap 1, Kylo Ren 0.  Case closed.