I was having some deadly serious dreams. Dreams where I wanted to kill people that were antagonizing me. I am waking up late and still feeling drugged, even though it’s been two days since I took a sleeping aid.
I woke up thinking that everything I thought I wanted to do yesterday was now null and void. I woke up feeling like every choice I will make moving forward is a bad one.
My father, after going back to school at the age of 40 and getting an Associate’s Degree in Computer Science (this was 1981 and this was sufficient enough to get a programming job) decided to pack up his family and move to Missouri. His youngest was not even born yet when he made the decision, and my little brother would only be a few weeks old when we flew to KCMO from Denver.
Years later, I remember criticizing him for the horrible decision. Imagine, deciding to leave someplace cool like Denver for a shitty little backwoods town north of KCMO full of hicks. Except, now I understand. Now that I have a little one of my own, I understand that he was simply trying to make the best decision for his family’s financial future.
Was it the best choice? Did it leave us a happier family than we would have been had he toughed it out as a baggage handler for a few more years before finally landing a dream computer job in the Denver area?
I don’t know. Maybe it wasn’t completely the best choice. Maybe he did what was easy and safe. He stayed with the airline so that he could have a bigger pension (that Carl Icahn apparently would raid later so this became moot but that is hindsight). He knew someone that would be one of his bosses. An easier interview and the same company–that probably seemed attractive at a time when he was putting in odd, long hours and then trying to go and be presentable to some random 80s office douche.
It is, of course, all in the past.
His oldest son would never adjust in the school in Missouri, and was not adjusting much in the school system in Denver. Gus would go on to give a try at being a teenage dad, a solider, truck driver, and whatever he did that ended up giving him AIDS ten years after he was chased out of the house by my dad. His youngest son, the one who was but three weeks old when we moved to KCMO, would die in a car wreck sixteen years later. His second oldest son would leave at the first chance to join the military and rarely come back until finally mostly disowning my dad. I suspect Garry will show up at my dad’s funeral looking for his cut from whatever my dad leaves behind.
I felt the pressure on my head to do something that would make my dad proud and make his efforts not seem to be in vain for any number of years. I tried my damnedest to do everything I could think of that would make me more successful so that he would think that his paying for my entire college education was actually worth it. But gradually, I stopped letting this kind of pressure run my life. I just couldn’t. My dad wasn’t even aware that I was making decisions about career and spouse based on what I thought would make him happy and what would have made my mom happy. I don’t know that he really cares much about what I do, anymore. He is happily trying to date every single woman in a 100 mile radius of him who is roughly his age, and I can’t do much about that.
Writing about my older brothers joining the military made me think about the one time I attempted it. It was really just a flirtation with the idea of being in the military. After years of being humiliated in the gym and weightlifting class locker room, and knowing my own propensity to be pee shy when forced to pee in a trough with a bunch of other guys, I was actually terrified at the prospect of joining the military. I was pretty sure I’d be one of those guys who ended up a statistic–the drill sergeant made his platoon clear that the pee shy guy was the weakest link and needed to be taken care of, and then you hear the story of him accidentally drowning in the pool or getting shot when it came time to crawl around underneath live rounds of ammo going off overhead.
I mostly just wanted to rebel against my dad because I wanted to impress my older brothers and show my parents that their adoptive and biological sons were not that much different. I held this notion for many years before I finally realized that I was my parents’ child, and I was not much like my adoptive brothers at all. It left me shaken and unable to know who the hell I really was.