Tuesday, June 26, 2007
A FATHER LOST
You can never beat the old man, as Texas Bob knows: “I feel just like I did that time when I was 16 and decided I could take the old man several seconds before five fists of lightning flashed into my stomach and face, sending me hurtling into the wall.”
As a kid, I lived up the street from two brothers whose eternal ambition it was to one day take the old man. They loved him dearly, but he represented a physical challenge neither could resist.
The old man whipped them at every attempt. Here’s the glory of the typical old man’s situation: by the time his sons truly are able to take him, they’ve likely grown out of the need to. The old man, God bless him, retires undefeated.
Yesterday at work I was sitting opposite a friend when he took a call informing him his father had unexpectedly died. Theirs had been a fractious and complicated but adoringly close relationship, connected beyond genes by a shared ability for writing. The son is competitive and gifted, and may have sought to beat the old man with his talent for words.
My friend wept, struggling to keep control. Co-workers gathered around him. A car was quickly sought to take him home, to his wife and daughter.
You can never beat the old man. And you can never beat a son’s love.