Judge, Pops and Me: a tiny slice of family history

Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder-_The_Seven_Deadly_Sins_or_the_Seven_Vices_-_Anger

Pieter Bruegel the Elder-The Seven Deadly Sins: Anger

I had been writing about the shrug, and this came out. I decided it was better to post it as a separate entry, rather than spring it on people unexpectedly who were hoping to have a lighthearted, fun, quick picture-post of the shrug. If you call me to find out if I’m coming to a party, I shouldn’t say, “By the way, Whatsherface died in her sleep today. See you there!” Shit’s not cool. So I won’t spring heavy stuff on you in light posts.

I’m awfully vain. It’s the McRicketts in me. We can’t walk by a mirror without stopping. But the McGee in me is frightfully insecure. Match made in Purgatory. Neither side is Irish, you know. The Blackfolk were owned by Irishfolk, so the story goes. My brother Judge McRicketts-McGee doesn’t believe it. For the record, Pops makes hella shit up. Hella shit. I think he believes 87% of it, but in his defense, he does drink heavily and he is over seventy. But he probably has believed much of it before he got old. He’s just repeated these stories back at himself for so long that they’ve echoed in his head and he’s confused that sound for the voices of his ancestors. Alcohol is a helluva drug. Just because it has calories doesn’t mean it isn’t a drug.

I never really listened to Pops, so I never really believed him. That’s one of the big difference between me and Judge. Judge is a bruised idealist. He believes the world is a good place. It’s just how he is fashioned. He believes in things and then gets let down. He wanted to believe in Obama, for example, and was upset with me when I said he was a politician. So he believed Pops once. And then he found out Pops was built of lies. And he was so disappointed, he lost all trust in him. I never really trusted Pops in the first place. You must earn my trust–even my parents. I’m just a little fucked up that way. He never did shit for me, so why should I trust him? So Judge hates him. He hates him because he loved him once. He wanted so badly to have a father, like everyone else. Still bitter no one played catch with him or came to his games or took him to see the Raiders (Pops had season tickets and never took his son). I just never really had a dad. I don’t feel an absence. I never fell out of love with Pops. I never had expectations of Pops. I just never really loved him. Now, I did use him like a manipulative little shit, let the record show. I wasn’t blameless. But I can’t say that I remember loving him, or connecting that the people on TV were doing what my dad should be doing. They were different animals entirely.

Most people feel disappointed in me when I tell them this, as if I have somehow failed as a child or a human being because I don’t love my dad. But I can’t give him credit for shit that he did not do. He did the best he could with what he had, yes. He was not well-equipped to be a father. But he never made the effort to become a better man. That’s where his responsibility lies, and that’s where I will not let him off the hook. I am not angry with him, but I will not pretend he is Cliff Huxtable when he is not. That’s what he wants me to do. He is an old alcoholic who financially provided for me and didn’t hurt me until he broke up with my mother in a terribly messy way. That’s how I’ll treat him. With loving kindness, but I can’t fake the funk. Believe me though, when I say I’m not angry with him. I pity him more than anything else. He keeps himself from the joy that is human connection. I have absolutely no need to punish him for anything. That’s punishment enough.

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