Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Took my father to do such and such this afternoon. Rule one: watch out for people whose laughter is disproportionate to the cause. He spent a fair bit of his monologue talking about women and how angry they all are. Perhaps I'm unfair -- it's only the ones he has lived with who are angry. I won't rehearse it. There's just nothing for me to say, to him. He's not capable of hearing it.

People become enemies when you offend their dignity or their sense of decency.

He spends a lot of time talking about his health problems, and about how healthy he is. Now it's prostate trouble. And I'm due for it too, I'm told. It's inevitable, apparently. You know, I'm a pretty decent guy. I keep my ego in check, virtually always. I have pride, but I have a sense of proportion. I find, though, that I'm disinclined to be modest, around my father. So when I hear that my health is due for a trainwreck, I really did have to say, in the context of what he'd been saying, "You've never met a 50 year old like me." It was pure ego, for all that it's true. And guess what he said. He said, "Well you've never met a 75 year old like me."

See what he did? He attacked my area of expertise, and then he made it a competition. What hope could there be, when one of my very few authentic human moments can only lead to a fight?

This is why I literally hardly open my mouth, around him. I know that I'm being judged for this. But the alternative is an argument. I'd rather be badmouthed behind my back, as not having a personality, as being boring, than engage with someone who has a wrong answer for everything.

He gave me $70 to drive him to Beverly Hills. Then he went to his stash and got another hundred and gave it to me. I don't argue. I gave the money to my mother, as from him. I'm not a hireling, you see. But I'm not going to make it a battle of wills.

His place is full of great green plants, and black wrought iron, and tall fountains, and scores or hundreds of iridescent hummingbirds.

The only thing I would have been willing to talk about was my son. He is the best man I know.


No comments: