Friday, August 11, 2006

Taking the Good With the Bad

In a blink of an eye, my father can demonstrate a calm, easy going man, or a raging bull full of chaos. It’s tricky trying to talk to him, because you never know what he’s going to agree or disagree with. On top of that, never, ever, and I mean never…talk about politics with this man. He leans so much to the right that it’s scary. After a few gin martinis, he’ll lean to the left for support. His political views are worse than Hitler’s. Now, what I am about to tell you, please take with a grain of salt. My father’s logic and reasoning is neither sane nor meant for educating our children.

Dad. He’s Archie Bunker, Tony Soprano and Leatherface all wrapped up into one. Lovely, right? I just adore him.

Anyway, here’s the lowdown on each of the following alter egos he has:

Archie Bunker: Very racist, but claims he has many Jewish and black friends. He hires the Puerto Ricans all the time at the homeless shelter, so why would anyone think he’s a racist? Those Mexicans are wonderful workers! Then it gets even scarier. His political views on what Bush should do. First of all, he absolutely loves loves loves President Bush. He believes that Bush should go into Iraq and every ‘Muslim’ country that threatens our nation…line them up…and ‘whack em’. Italian for “kill”. No one wants to hear this. It’s crazy.

Tony Soprano: Arrested for racketeering. The FBI raided our home and took away mom and dad. Traumatic for a 16 year old girl? Naw, that’s when alcohol came into play. Dad has placed lovely souvenirs in the driver seat of his enemies. (A dog’s head.) Every Italian restaurant around here knows dad, because they all went to the same “country club” as he did. (Federal prison)

Leatherface: Dad loves telling stories. He’s not shy. Poor Amy got stuck listening to him go on and on about stories that would make any ‘good Christian’ cringe. There was a time where dad got upset over my sister’s boyfriend for saying he would pull the plug if ever, (God forbid) my sister was sick and in a coma for years. This goes back to the Terri Schiavo case. My dad is very protective over us. His choice of words were something like this, “Dat’s ma’ dawta’ ya bastard! Who da’ f*ck you dink’ you’re messin’ wit’ here? I’ll gut ya like a deer! I’ll rip ya’ heart right outa’ ya chest you f*cking slob! I’ll tear ya ear off and cutya’ jugular!” It goes on and on. He won’t stop until you leave. When he gets mad, it turns really ugly—especially threatening any of his daughters. His face gets really red, and his eyes turn yellow. No shit—yellow. He has hazel eyes that gleam a greenish color, but when he gets mad, they turn yellow.

My father and I are a lot alike, except for the racial and political views among other things. I can’t go there with him. Too stressful. We’re the comedians of the family. We’re entertainers and love to have company over the house. My mother? She absolutely hates outsiders walking into her home. My father and I will do this little skit on Thanksgiving or any given festive holiday involving too much family...and way too much alcohol. It’s how “fuggedaboudit” can be used for absolutely anything.

“That guy is a little light on his feet, huh?”
“Fuggedaboudit!!!”

“You think you can handle that excavating job, dad?”
“Fuggedaboudit!!!”

“What happened? Did mom just yell at you?”
“Fuggedaboudit!!!”

“Do you think you’re overcharging these customers?”
“Fuggedaboudit!!!”

Now here’s where this ‘tough guy’ becomes a big mush. One day, as I was cleaning my upstairs apartment, I noticed something strange happening in the backyard. We have residential and commercial property, due to the excavation business. My dad’s able to hold all his bulldozers and backhoes on his lot. He doesn’t have to rent space from anyone. Our property is ‘grandfathered’ for this.

Well, in one section of our yard, are the tractor trailers and the trailers that are left there for storage. Yes, some would call it a white trash scene, but it’s beautiful landscaping on the other side. We try to hide that little area... Anyway, I see my father walking out towards one of the trailers with a huge Italian hero in his hand. I then noticed the trailer door opening by itself, and then I realize that it was a homeless man waiting for his lunch. He was storing homeless people in his empty trailers so they could be warm and have food. My mother would have never, ever let this happen. If it was up to my father, he would store the homeless in his own house. I’m not sure if that sits well with me.

God. My dad believes that God is all love and that God accepts me, and my lifestyle. My father was so overwhelmingly accepting when I came out. We were both watching the gay parade in NYC on television one day, and he looks over and says, “Can ya believe these fairies??? Look at ‘dem, will ya?” I looked over at him and said, “Dad, you had four daughters. Three of them are with men. Don’t you think one of them will stray the other way?” He was silent for a moment, and then looked at me. I was expecting an outburst of lewd and judgmental remarks.

“You wit’ dat nice girl dat’ comes here all da’ time? Dat’ pretty Puerto Rican girl?”
“Yeah.”
I said…in fear.
“Good for ya! Ya’ better off to tell ya da’ troot!”

And that was that. His issue on God vs. my lifestyle is amazing to me. He believes that God loves all of His children. I’m grateful that he was so easy to open up to. He has to be the most generous man ever—but a lot of times, he gets burned in the end by friends who use him. My dad and I are huge tippers. We love people, and we love giving…without expectations of a gift in return. He’s a remarkable man with a huge heart…just don’t get on his bad side!

Some would call us walking contradictions, and some would call us ‘real people’. Some would certainly say we’re both insane…but all in all, I’m glad that he’s my dad. Life would certainly be boring without him. I'll take the good with the bad, just as he does.

44 comments:

kathi said...

Whatever wrongs he's done, he sure did right with you. Love you, love your dad. It's a 2'fer'one deal.

AWE said...

Sounds like a great relationship to me.

jali said...

Your dad sounds like a pretty cool guy. I like people who are "straight up" instead of the politically correct bullshitters who never express their true feelings.

I'd be afraid to discuss my hatred of the evil regime (Bush and co.) with your dad, but I bet I'd enjoy any other conversation with him - especially when he explained his variety of ethnic friends to me. (good for a smile or two later)

The homeless guy story is touching and I love the fact that your dad is supportive 100% of you and your "pretty Puerto Rican" girlfriend.

Now I'm curious about your mommy.

Karen said...

You're dad sounds like a treasure! Though I'm afraid that if I were to ever meet him, and he started in with those "deese and dems", I'd probably start chuckling, cuz it just sounds, er, reads, so funny!

You're a lucky gal to have such a colorful dad. :):)

Madelene Rose said...

What an awesome father indeed! :D Although he might not be my biggest fan :P

Kellie said...

Great post! I love it when other love their families as much as I do, despite any little flaws!

Tense Teacher said...

"I'll take the good with the bad..." Absolutely. You're lucky to have him, just as he's lucky to have a great daughter. Sweet post.

Grant said...

You're both insane. Unlike me. Although I'm on board with the whole "Whack the Middle East" concept.

Bossy♥'s YOU said...

Gawd I love that man...

he sounds like a hoot girl..

and any man who satyed at the "country club" is otay in my book;)

~Deb said...

Kath: Thanks. Yeah, he can be quite the handful, but so can I!

Awe: It is…

Jali: He’s definitely ‘straight up’, and not shaken too easily…but his political side is something I tend to stray away from. Well, in the past, he was very harsh on how he viewed other people of different cultures. I remember a long time ago, I dated a man from Haiti, and my father’s face dropped. Later on he went on about how I brought “a choice name” into our home. Now, that he has gone into prison and has been exposed to every single culture and lifestyle, ie: transvestites, gays, Jews, blacks, and the Spanish culture—he came home a new man. He totally accepts people for who they are now, and not their race or sexual orientation. It changed him. I should have wrote that in the blog. My mother is quiet, yet behind the scenes she’s very opinionated and has her way. She’s great though.

Vixen: Thanks…His Brooklyn accent is funny. I make fun of him all the time, because he can’t pronounce certain things. It’s hysterical.

Madelene Rose: No, he’s not THAT bad, his political views are though. Otherwise, other people of different races “in his life” is different. I know, it sounds strange. I dated a man from Pakistan who he loved and adored. They were close buddies, and my ex was Muslim. So, he has seen his share of culture through me. I dated his worst nightmares---and he ended up loving them.

Kellie: The flaws are what makes it interesting, right? Dysfunctional families are the best!

Tense: Thank you…(I’m not such a great daughter…) but thank you for saying that! ;)

Grant: Yes, we are both insane and need mental institutions.

Bossy: You had to see that place! It DID have a golf course on there, and it even had a little pond nearby where you can eat lunch. They had better meals than I did at home! I need to engage in white collar criminal activities.

Mike said...

Well...now I know where to get a sandwich anyway. Have a great weekend Fraggle!

Video X said...

awesome. that's what family is about. i love family!

i would, however, probably get along fairly well in a political conversation. i'm one of those who would vote for bush again and i dont disagree with your father's views on what should happen concerning those who threaten our country....okay okay that might be a bit extreme...but i'm not far off..."whack 'em" is probably not a term that would come out of my mouth...still i think it's funny!

i can also see the strain political views have on relationships. we just had a "family" argument about it the other night...AND it involved alcohol as well...haha...my brother and his wife are extremely liberal on a lot of issues...my sister, her husband, and i are more conservative...needless to say...i stopped the conversation...too much stress!!!!!! although i'm not sure it should be stressful for people to discuss what they believe in concerning politics. in fact, it's almost sad...i mean...it should be important and i think it's good when people do feel strongly about it...now i've just gone off on some other tangent so i will go!

have a good weekend!

oh ...but i forgot... LEATHERFACE!!!?!!?!?! now i'm going to have another nightmare! haha.

Casually Me said...

One of your best posts.

Madelene Rose said...

OOOh, yeah, I totally get it. When the people are in our lives we get to know them and not judge them through their nations stereotypes. Awesome. :P Was the Muslim a man or a woman?

~Deb said...

Mike: Was that you in the trailer???

Video: Everyone has their own political views and beliefs and what not. I respect it, but sometimes I just stray away from discussing it all together,...but it is funny when my relatives all get together, and "someone" decides to challenge a political conversation with my dad. It's comical...and scary all at the same time!

Casually: Ha,...my dad puts the fun in anything I guess. Thank you for saying that! He is begging me to write a book about him. Oy.

Madelene: I dated a very special man that was Pakistani when I was 16 yrs old. They were "scared at first" until they got to know him.

~gkw said...

I understand about problems discussing political viewpoints...

My wife and I had our biggest fight ever (before we got married) over the issue of gun control. It almost caused us not to get married. We would have missed out on 3 beautiful girls...

BUT, we decided not to discuss these issues. When we do, we make it a quick jibe and stop. We go to the poles and just cancel each other's vote. It's fun because the girls go with us and laugh at the way we go at each other during the races.. but they split up and go with the one that is voting the way THEY have decided on their own and help us as we vote.

Maddie said...

Well, I can say that "this little puerto rican girl" considers herself very fortunate to be "protected" and thought of in such a high regard. Colorful, loving, funny, accepting, and cracks me up like crazy--are just a few descriptive terms for him. What a guy! And----I'm a pain in the neck to his little girl!!

Lisa said...

It's great that you are so close to your family. Your Dad is quite the character, but right, wrong or indifferent, he loves you, which makes him a great dad. :-)

Anne said...

I love your dad's honesty and not worrying about being politically correct. My dad kept most everything inside, which was a shame ~ maybe I wouldn't have been a target of his hopelessness and rage. I hope you do write that book about your dad ~ it would be a bestseller in a hearbeat!

Anne said...

I love your dad's honesty and not worrying about being politically correct. My dad kept most everything inside, which was a shame ~ maybe I wouldn't have been a target of his hopelessness and rage. I hope you do write that book about your dad ~ it would be a bestseller in a hearbeat!

nosthegametoo said...

I thought I had a "normal" upbringing, until I found out we were are crazy as the rest.

Nothing like a colourful family.

~Dawn said...

What a wonderful "painting" of your father.... Very colorful.

Thank you for sharing.

samuru999 said...

Thanks for sharing that heartfelt
story about your dad!
It was wonderful!
Is it not great when we have love that is unconditional!
Beautiful!!
Have a great weekend!

The Stevo in H-Town said...

I'd drink some beer wityer Dad...

Miss 1999 said...

He sounds like a riot, I have family members just like them- and like you said, you just take the good with the bad :0)

Cinderella said...

I think you described every father/daughter relationship in a nutshell. We all have twisted relationships, but that's what makes them special and unique. It's all about loving that imperfect person perfectly, and you both do it very well.

Very sweet...=)

Big Mama said...

(((((((~deb's daddy))))))) Big hugs to your daddy. He sounds like a lot of fun to be around. I'm a daddy's girl too, but mine is far from colorful....

LisaBinDaCity said...

You guys are GREAT together! I absolutely love it and am three shades of green...

Pyrhonik said...

Y'know. I've lurked here a few times over the past few months, but never felt compelled to leave a comment that I can remember. But this post has such a poignant honesty that moved me. It is amazing how in one breath the generation gap can close and the very next open again.

Cheers,

Anonymous said...

Sounds like my dad! He´s changing sides almost every day. It really annoyes me.

Natalia said...

We all have someone sorta like that in the family. My parents are not racist but they are not as open as I am. They have carried with them some of their Argentinean values for sure. My dad can be a bit of a drama queen, coupled with his hypochondria...it can be a lot of fun!

-N

zingtrial said...

Hi! Its a father daughter thing,But I think he loves you,Wish you well :) .

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Your father sounds like my ex-father-in-law—except your dad sounds more intelligent than he. I developed a rule when dealing with my ex-father-in-law: since I would never be able to convince him that there is another way of thinking besides his fascist way, why waste my time and energy?

JD said...

he sounds like my kind of guy, right down to the political views, lol. and you say he's racist, but would he so readily accept your Puerto Rican GF if he truly was? i think that generation talks like that, they can't help it. it's much more honest than the PC yuppies who lock their doors anytime they drive thru the wrong type of neighborhood, etc. your dad is a prince in many ways, i get that reading between the lines of what you wrote. and he's lucky to have a daughter like you.

JD said...

oh yes, i would've reacted the same way if some douchebag who was dating either of my daughters made a comment like that. in fact, the guy would probably not be able to walk out of my house. it's a father/daughter thing, sorry.

Malnurtured Snay said...

Great post! I was trying to figure out if I should be liking your dad or hating him, then I got to the part where he's a huge tipper, and as I'm a pizza guy, that's totally the thing I'm looking for.

Maybe I'm misreading your quotes, but are you guys from Massachusettsish?

Miss 1999 said...

Deb- Need. Update. Must. Have. Update! ;0)

Saur♥Kraut said...

He sounds interesting! You should write a book!!! But I sure hope he doesn't become a presidential candidate.

├ůsa said...

Deb! My friend in New Jersey has family like your dad – if I didn’t know them I would think this was fiction – something from a TV show! Your dad sounds like he has such a warm heart although somewhat rugged vocabulary. And who wouldn’t want Maddie as their daughter in law! (from what you have told us about her)

Loving this post!

Bossy♥'s YOU said...

u need to look at my mondays post..i left you shit in my will...

:)

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Wow, that's a powerful post.
http://drdeborahserani.blogspot.com
/

CP said...

You're dad is like mine. I love him, but not his points of view.

And we already discussed the neurotic ways of our mothers, right Debdebdebdebdebdebdebdebdeb?

Hehehehe.

CP.

steff81 said...

Sounds like you have a special relationship with your dad...and that is priceless! My dad and I are basically opposites but I love him so much. Wahhh makes me miss him tonight...

MyQuestioningMind said...

I like your Dad's style. My grandpa (Italian) was kind of like that, a real character w/very strong opinions but you had to love him.

Did he really leave dog heads in cars though? My dad claimed he was in w/the mob (he wasn't even the Italian side of the family but he worked w/the union) and tried something like that w/my grandma when he was trying to get custody of us. Except his buddy left it on our neighbor's porch. She freaked out and took us to a motel. Weird. Talk about PTSD.