Wednesday, January 26, 2005

in memoriam

okay, first off, i'm ill again today. now that i have two kids, i should just plan on feeling like shit all winter.

last night, my wife and i were discussing johnny carson, and how much he has influenced our lives.

now, when she initially told me he was dead, i was kinda unmoved. i mean, it's sad when just about anyone dies, but i didn't feel like johnny carson had really influenced me much.

but then we were talking last night, and i remembered that when i was like four or five, my dad used to wake me up in the middle of the night. then we would make huge glasses of nesquik chocolate milk, and a mile-high stack of buttered toast (for dunking in the chocolate milk), and sit in front of the tv in our underwear, and watch johnny carson.

i used to love that. i always cracked up at the swammi routine. not sure why, i guess because even a little kid can appreciate the humor in "may the bird of paradise fly up your nose" or "may the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits".

and since my relationship with my father declined as i got older (mainly because he was no longer the kind of guy who would get his kids up in the middle of the night to watch anything on tv, let alone johnny carson--we were actually discussing the johnny carson times, and he apologized for being such a bad influence on my early years. fucking apologized!!! it was like he pissed on the fond memories that i had of him from before the divorce! ), the fond memories became fewer and farther between. and when he passed (it's been about ten years now), we were barely speaking to each other.

so i lost my dad, and any chance there was of building new fond memories (there are a shitload of less-than-fond ones, and then a double-handful of the fond ones that i guard like a vault lest they somehow become tainted or tarnished by the less-than-fond ones), and now, in losing johnny carson, i have been forced to reopen old wounds and rescrutinize times that were so much fun and ask myself, "where the fuck did that all go!?!" what happened to all of us that changed things so drastically from those glowing memories of watching johnny carson in our tighty-whiteys with the lights off and butter and chocolate milk dripping off our chin? what happened to the dad who, when informed by one of my friends that i had peed in another friends yard, asked my friend, "well, did you fall in it?" the dad who spent 20 minutes swapping "when you were born" jokes with one of my friends while the rest of my little teenage crew laughed so hard we cried? he knew some we had never even heard before--"when you were born, they stuck you in a tub of water to figure out which end was breathing and which end to slap". the dad that used to stand by the finish line of the cross-country course on race day and simply say "son. son." over and over again with his voice honey-coated in pride as i crossed? where'd that fucker go? what became of the guy who was my hero? who i looked up to? fuck that guy, and fuck you, johnny carson, for forcing me to tear out this chunk of myself that i thought i had put away forever and reexamine it like a tumor! fuck both of you and fuck me for sitting here and crying over shit that can't be fixed and can't be helped. fuck us all for the shit we do to each other whether we mean to or not.

i will just go back to enjoying the good times, and dulling down the bad.

but i must close the box titled, "fond memories of dad" as i see that already the edges are becoming tarnished, and the colors faded.

thanks for sitting through it with me.

and johnny--"thank you & goodnight"

darth sardonic

ps. and dad, if you're out there, and can see this, yes, i've got fond memories, more even than i like to admit, and you weren't the worst dad in the world. i just wish there had been more of them. and don't feel offended if i say i don't want to be the kind of dad you were, cause when i say that, i'm thinking of the later years when you no longer enjoyed the swammi routine.


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