Sometimes I think it would be interesting to have a mirror that could show the reflection of your soul. That probably sounds a lot deeper than I intend it to so let me expound. How do you view yourself, as a person? Now think about that again without the obvious bias that comes with judging one's self. Would your answer change? I think everybody tends to think of themselves as generally a good person, but how accurate is this really? I'm sure super villains don't sit around thinking about how evil they are. Everyone has their own reasons and justifications for being the way they are and I think everyone (for the most part) would like to believe they are acting for the benefit of mankind. Take me for example. I think I'm a fairly good person. I don't intentionally run over small animals. I hold doors open for strangers, if I can help it, I don't piss on the toilet seat, and I try and follow the old "Do unto others" rule as closely as I can. But something happened a few days ago that made me really take a step back from myself and ponder that age old question: "Am I an asshole?". On that note, lets go off on a tangent. I'm a firm believer in tangents and like to utilize them whenever possible, but stick with me. It will all come together in the end...
Disclaimer: This is going to be a personal post, so if you are not comfortable with that, fucking deal with it.
I come from a broken family. I'm not looking for any sympathy, just stating the facts. My parents divorced when I was around 7 years old, and did not have the most civil relationship for a long time afterwards. They do a pretty good job of getting along now, but when I was a wee lad...not so much. I remember many occasions where my siblings and I were thrown into the middle of an ongoing argument between the two, and were essentially asked to take sides. This is not a comfortable position for a 7 year old to be thrust into, and definitely not one that I recommend. But such is life, and you have to deal with it. I'm also the type of person that doesn't really believe in regret. I think all of your decisions and experiences in life generally contribute to what kind of person you are now, and I'm pretty happy with who Kris is. Things could always be worse. Unless you're living in a ditch and subsisting on bugs and various small mammals. If that is your situation, I think regret is appropriate. As I have two beautiful children, live in a nice apartment, and have lots of family and loved ones around, I wouldn't change anything about my life and how it has played out so far.
Another thing I wouldn't change is who my parents are. I think they did a bang up job in sculpting a fairly well adjusted human being (if not a little conceited with subtle shades of delusions of grandeur) and they should be highly praised for doing so. Let's face it, there's a lot of fucked up people out there, and a lot of kids suffering in situations completely out of their control. My parents always had my best interests at heart, even if it didn't really feel like it sometimes. With age and maturity I have come to realize that just because you don't buy me a new toy every week, you're not the Antichrist. I have really young parents, and there were struggles growing up. But the cupboards were always full, and I always had two people in this world that cared about me more than anything else in the history of forever. Granted, in two separate households, but it was still pretty special.
After the divorce I lived with my dad for a short time. Exactly how long is a tiny bit of information that has been pushed out of my memory banks over the years, to be replaced with such gems as "Which film won the Best Picture Oscar in 1992" and "When did the Boston Bruins last win the Stanley Cup" (Unforgiven and 1972, respectively) It probably wasn't much longer than a year before I moved in with my mom. The exact reasons are a little too personal for this outlet, but it is what it is. So for the majority of my childhood, my mom was my primary caregiver. A lot of my personality traits and behaviors can probably be traced back to her for better or worse. But that's not to say my father was absent. I spent every other weekend with him and I can honestly say I cherish all of the time I was allowed to be in his presence.
My dad is one of the most genuinely caring, kind human beings I know. He hasn't exactly had an easy life, and has spent alot of it being kicked around, both physically and emotionally. Through all of this though, he has put us (meaning my siblings and I) first, and has always made sure that we are healthy and happy, sometimes to his own detriment. He has always had a really refreshing view of life and is always quick to spin off a little bit of wisdom that might not seem to make sense at the time, but always turns out to be insightful and significant. He can (in an instant) go from being the doting teddy bear-like grandfather of 3 grandchildren, to the foul, raunchy joke telling regular guy who is always fun to converse with.
He is a conservative through and through, but not in the preachy "I'm better than you" sense, and has a standard of morals that is hard to match. Even through all of the shit that has been sent his way over the years, he has always believed in turning the other cheek, and I respect the hell out of that. Too many people in this world are far too obsessed with what life HASN'T given them and all of the injustices in their lives, but my dad focuses on all of the great things that he has been given. Don't get me wrong. I'm not an emotionless bastard, there are people out there that have been handed a really shitty lot in life, and are due a little bit of sympathy. But those aren't the types of people I'm talking about. I think we all have that person in our circle of friends who feels the need to bitch and moan about all of the shitty things in his or her life. That individual that is always looking for a little bit of pity. If you are thinking right now "I don't know anybody like that", I've got news for you. You're probably that guy.
My dad enjoys an unending love of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He is hardcore about his beloved Leafs, even being able to boast that he was in attendance at the very first game played in the Air Canada Centre. His love for the Leafs shows how true and solid his character is, because let's face it, it's not easy to be a Leafs fan. It's been a long time since they've had a good hockey team (Hi Dad) so there have been plenty of opportunities for him to jump ship and cheer for a better team. The Bruins immediately come to mind, but I digress. He doesn't care how shitty they are because dammit, they're his team and he's in this for the long run. That loyalty speaks volumes about what kind of human being he is, and I respect the hell out of that too.
Although my dad is far from perfect, he is definitely one of those people that you can stand back confidently and remark about "If there were more people around like this, the world would be a far better place". He isn't a millionaire, but he is the richest guy I know in the currency that I myself value above all others. He is someone that I can truly admire and aspire to be more like. He is a role model of the highest order. Not in behaviors exclusively, but in pure human decency. It may sound cliche and contrived, but if someday I become half the man my father is, I'll know that I've done okay in this world.
If it hasn't been painfully spelled out yet, let me take over the role of "master of the obvious". I love and respect my father in amounts that can't even be measured. That's something that probably isn't said as often as it should be.
So let's tie all of this back into the opening paragraph. I was questioning whether or not I'm an asshole. My dad had a birthday come and go not too long ago. He turned 50. This is a fairly significant birthday. There just seems to be a distinction with 50. A party was in order and was fairly well attended. A great time was had by all. Now let me warn you. The next few sentences may cause a few of you to lose some respect for me. But if that is the outcome, so be it. If I can't be honest here, then what's the point?
I failed to get my father even a fucking birthday card. On his 50th birthday. Not even a fucking card. I feel more twisted and fucked up about this than I have about anything in a very long time. And I have to admit to something else. The fact that I didn't get him a card isn't even the worst part. The worst part is that I didn't even realize how much this hurt him until we had a heart to heart a few days ago. Am I that self centred? This is the type of thing that shakes me to the core, because as I covered in the first paragraph, I tend to think of myself as a good guy. And this behavior is so fucking far from good.
So of course I apologized profusely, but am still feeling really weird about the whole thing. It was the type of moment that really makes you question your motives and tendencies. I really don't know how I am going to make up for this, but it is going to have to be epic. And the amazing thing about my father, is that even though it did bother him, as soon as it was out in the open, I'm sure he never thought about it again. We talked about it, he expressed himself, case closed. That is the very definition of a forgiving nature. But it's still bothering me, and probably will for a long time.
And I think that very point there, is the very essence of what made me decide to post about this. You see, my Dad reads this blog. He's actually probably one of my biggest fans, always telling me how much he enjoyed the most current post. How can I not love this man? So I know at some point he is going to read this, and even though it doesn't absolve what I did, I would like him to realize how much this event has affected me, and probably will continue to affect me for years to come. I think we communicate better than a lot of fathers and sons, but some things are hard to put into words when you're face to face.
So to my dad (and all of you that have been privy to this pseudo father/son moment):
I love you to pieces pops. Thanks for putting up with a son that doesn't really deserve it. And even though I'm taller than you now, I'll always be looking up to you.