I was reading a story over at Father Apprentice about how Chase Reeves started golfing with his father, who himself started golfing since it’s the international language of casual business outings. As I read Reeves’ story, I remembered a couple of pictures I saw on Facebook of a friend and his father after one of his golf tournaments. It really got me thinking about my friends and their fathers – and then to my own father and I. Unless I’m wildly mistaken, we never won anything together or had pictures of us taken after we father-sonned something.
Oh, I love the guy with all my heart. We’ve got a lot in common, and we’re never short on things to talk about. But we just never had a “thing” like other father-son teams have. No sports, no big activities, no common employer. Not even a small business. Nothing to suit-up for. Nothing major that we built together. No pictures of us with fish, targets, trophies, dead deer, awards, model planes. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I’m okay with not having one of those “things” with my dad.
Were we both too liberal-artsy? My father was an actor. You’ve seen him on television if you watched anything between the mid-70’s and 90’s. Then, in the late 90’s, my father re-found his Judaism, and became a Rabbi. Somewhere in the middle of all of that, I was born, grew up, et cetera, et cetera. But I didn’t end up acting. Not even in high school plays. I’m not a Rabbi. I’m technically not even Jewish.
To jump around the fabric of time a little: I played little league, in part, because my dad played softball for a couple of seasons in the 80’s with a little local team of his actor friends. Hated it. My dad took me to the gym with him and showed me how to use exercise equipment. Hated that too. When I was 11, my father and I went to Colorado for a couple weeks for him to film a television show. After that, we went skiing with my uncle, who lived in Colorado as well. I never even made it onto the mountain; I slipped down some steps on the way out of the lodge and called it a day.
My parents divorced in 1989. The Lakers got swept by the Pistons in the NBA Finals. Bad year. That bad year, however, might have been the start of me noticing us having common interests. My father and I had built Lego sets in the past together; pirate ships, space shuttles, crap like that. Later, however, we converted those skills to the computer sciences together – we built his computer from the ground-up. It was bad-ass; 486DX 66MHz with a 250MB hard drive. The thing had Super VGA, dude. SUPER. VGA. Oh, your picture has 256 colors? No effing sweat.
In any event, we really “got into” computers together. We re-built his computer a dozen times, installed software together (64 diskettes of Microsoft Office counts as together-time), and mastered Wolfenstein 3d. We learned Microsoft Publisher together. We really hit our stride with a common interest – but no one was really there to take pictures of us – me, holding a hard drive in place while my dad screwed in the mounting bracket. These days, when my dad’s got a computer problem, he fixes it himself, then e-mails me and asks if I’m proud of my old man for fixing it himself. And I am.
All of this just leaves me wondering what kinds of pictures my son and I will be in together. There won’t be any pictures of us, both in baseball uniforms, holding a trophy. If my son learns how to golf (and he will since the physical exertion is low and the cash prizes are high), I could get away with wearing a matching polo and khakis and holding my son’s trophy. I play Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, so that’s got to be close enough. But chances are we won’t be standing next to each other in hunting gear, holding a bleeding buck by its horns. Not a real one, at least.
As for my father and I, it’s trophy enough that we’ve got a picture of us both holding my son. After all, fatherhood is the most important thing that we do “together” and share. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. What the hell would I do with a metal cup if I had one?