Someone help me – I’m afraid of turning into my father!!!

Unlike The Incredible Hulk who changed immediately, one of my greatest fears is that fate will sneak up on me and I’ll undergo a slow and painstaking transition into a heightened version of my father. Some people might think this is a compliment, but I’m not sure the world is ready for another one like him. To know my father is to laugh because he is crazy and hysterical (even if it is at and not with him), but for people that don’t know my father, let me explain.

This might as well be my father's Birth Certificate.

To say that my father is one-of-a-kind is to do a disservice to unique glacial formations created to bring beauty to the world. My father was actually created in another era from spontaneous combustion. He was one of ten children and called Baby Boy at the hospital. They literally named him Baby Boy. Every time he presents that birth certificate, there’s an issue. I guess if you have ten kids, who cares what you name them after a while, right? It’s not like you can remember all of those names anyway. We all think it’s funny, but The Department of Motor Vehicles never got as much of a kick out of it as we did.

Patience was never his strong suit either. How being the father of five kids that should have been caged and tranquilized at times didn’t teach him patience, I’ll never know. I don’t know how or why, but one of us always did something that would force him to clasp his hands outward with disgust while chewing on his tongue and chanting “You Kids…” For instance, “You Kids…Always go out of the house with a wet head-you’ll be barking like as dog”, You kids…think it grew legs and walked out on its own? “You kids…Always think I’m supposed to remember to come back and pick you up when I drop you off somewhere…”

I will say that my father unwittingly taught me the best quality that I possess: the uncanny ability to laugh in someone’s face. He didn’t teach me that skill outright, but he put me into situations which instilled in me a sense that it was something that just couldn’t be helped. Don’t even get me started on his car either, because it was crazy. It was a Navy Blue Diesel Mercedes that you had to plug in during the winter nights. Imagine how awkward it was to go over to someone’s house after dusk and have to ask them for an extension cord to plug it the car in with. That car was always a very sore topic with him anyway; Hit one gas pump and then two parked cars in the middle of the night looking for alcohol all in the span of one week and he brands you a bad driver for life…



Speaking of that car, anyone who knows my father can see where this is going. One day, my sister and I were sitting in it (more than most likely making fun of him) as he was adding more air to the back tire at a gas station. He was always convinced that it was “riding low” whatever that meant. Don’t you know that as her and I were dancing around and being stupid (No, we weren’t young kids – I was twenty and she was seventeen) my father looked away from the inflating tire to peek into the back window and yell at us to stop horsing around. No sooner did he turn back to the tire before it exploded in his face. BOOM!!!  Seconds later, we were immediately laughing hysterically, and then looking at each other with that knowing glance which said that in his version of this story – somehow this was going to be our fault. All of a sudden, this bald head launched up into my window like a jack in the box and screamed “IT BLEW!” as if we wouldn’t have heard the boom. Talk about thanking God for a strong bladder – those are actually the moments Depends were created for. Needless to say, we were steps away from walking home because he didn’t find it half as funny as the two of us did. His response (with hands were clasped outward and chewing on his tongue “You kids…Think everything’s a fucking joke…”      


My father always says that things aren’t made the way they used to be and he means it; Proof of this being the pair of brown pants that he has worn to every family function since 1978. When I said earlier that patience wasn’t his strong suit, I meant it. Those brown pants are his strong suit! Birthdays, Christenings, Backyard Barbecues, Anniversaries, or Card Games there hasn’t been one function that those pants haven’t been invited to. The OCD part of me likes a good ritual as much as the next guy, but when it becomes a uniform something is wrong. When actually confronted with this query, my father swears that he’s never worn those pants. Apparently, all the pictures from over twenty family functions in the past three decades while wearing the little brown knickers isn’t what he would refer to as “proof.”

This is actually the very first of many, many pictures of my father in the brown pants...

My wife actually owns the pants now, believe it or not. Two years ago, my family did a Secret Santa Yankee Swap gift exchange and my father (never one to be thought of as funny) really rocked the Yuletide Spirit. Not only was he wearing a new pair of brown pants, but he wrapped the classic brown knickers as his Secret Santa gift. My wife opened that box and did everyone a public service by taking one for the team and retiring their number. Now if only I could get her to stop wearing them when we go out…Apparently her and my father are in a sisterhood of the Jimmy Carter pants!!! Talk about a pair of pants lasting a long time! Hit me with an Internet High-Five below if anyone in your family has clothes that are older than you…  

One thing that my father has never been mistaken for is sentimental. One only needs to ask my brother Angelo to repeat the conversation he had with my father in January to illustrate this.

 Dad: “I don’t know if I told you this, but this year was the best Christmas I’ve ever had. Everything just couldn’t have been better”

Angelo: “Dad, I wasn’t even fucking there! What are you talking about? (Angelo was bedridden at home with the flu when we got together)

Dad: “Either way, it was the best one I can remember in a long time…”

He’s never been one to worry about feelings or to not kick someone when they’re down I guess…

I am omitting the incriminating and obviously embarrassing parts of his insanity for everyone’s benefit. Does anyone need me to tell them about my father’s uncanny ability to fart on command and he will do it no matter where or when it is? Your friends are in the house, there he goes. You’re in the church for a christening – oops, he did it again! You get the point – the less said the better. How about I put the next part this way? I’m not saying that this actually happened, but if it did – this is how I imagine his response to be: If he were to start selling illegal cable boxes (I’m not saying he did, just projecting here) and I asked for one to take with me to college, I imagine that he’d reply “That’s 250 bucks – we’re not doing this to make friends!” Shortly after that, I’d find out that he sold one to my friend Annie for 200 bucks. So much for a family discount!!!

How it doesn’t chafe a testicle I will never understand, but the waistline of my father’s pants rides so high that his belt could actually be mistaken for a choker necklace. Upon first glance, you scratch your head because you can’t tell if his shirt collar is sagging or if he just got an atomic wedgie…It defies explanation and just cannot be comfortable. I guess after all these years it must seem normal to him, but Oh God if it isn’t a conversation starter for the people passing by. My wife and I actually have an unwritten pact that if one day she sees me going to leave the house and my pants are pulled up past my nipples like his always are, she will euthanize me immediately!!! People wonder how I turned out to be so crazy – No need to look any further than the chap in the faded brown pants for the answer to that one…

Remove the glasses and jacket and this is my father!

As a postscript for this post, I promise that I will record an audio version as well because a lot is lost in the text. You need the inflection and overall, the insanity translates much better with audio…

How have I not had the shit kicked out of me yet?

As hard as it is to believe for anyone that knows me, I have never actually been in a fist fight in my life. Many, many, many, many times, I really should have had the stuffing knocked out of me, but by some grace of God – I have eluded the fisticuffs (although there have been a few scuffles). I never got to throw even one punch in any of them, but that’s not really the point I guess. Not even when I went up to that girl in The Dark Horse Tavern and told her that her face looked like diarrhea because I thought I was helping her out, not even a slap. Of course, I was drunk and slurring my speech when that happened, but she got my meaning and just as an FYI: if someone is trying to help you, I think you should at least hear them out! 

In Elementary School, I used to incite the girls that I liked so that they’d chase me around and then beat me up when they caught me. I was young and had crushes and besides, I actually liked it when they beat me up. My first love was Elizabeth Taylor (when I saw her in Cleopatra at the age of five, I knew one day she’d be mine), but my next love was a girl in second grade named Jennifer who could run faster than any of the other girls (and most of the boys) in our class. When she eventually caught up to me, and she always did, she would take hold of my hand or my ankle and swing me around so fast like a carnival ride…Granted, she would eventually let me go and I’d usually go flying face-first into a chain link fence or a brick wall, but she did hold my hand for those few brief moments… 

I have three older brothers and one younger sister, so there were always fights in our house growing up. Usually, the fights were between my brothers Angelo and Anthony, but my sister was always the wild card. She was the one who would say “You know, Mommy says you can never hit a girl, right” and I would tell her that of course I knew that and before I could even ask why she was asking me that, she would haul off and punch me in the face. Literally, closed fist punch me in the face. Of course, I was stunned and disoriented and then she would run to my mother saying I was after her which would have my mother screaming at me to leave her alone. That bitch was crazy back then and to this day I still refuse to sit next to her at family dinners in case she has a flashback or something. I mean, this is also the girl who took a razor and gouged the hair and at least ten layers of the skin off of my right ankle while screaming “Wanna shave your legs too” and then ran off while I lie there bleeding. It has been over twenty years since that happened and the hair still doesn’t grow over that scar.     

As a point of reference, I don’t count the time that I got jumped by those three guys on Wellwood Avenue trying to get my wallet, as a fight. My wallet was in the chest pocket of my poncho (no jokes, a lot of people wore ponchos) and the zipper, of course, got stuck on the material of the poncho as I tried to give it over to them. I’ve never been a hero or what you’d call brave – I think the technical term is actually that I’m a Pussy. When I didn’t hand my wallet over, they knocked me to the ground and just kept kicking me in the head, face, and chest figuring any smart person would give them the wallet and let them be off. That whole time, I was trying to get the zipper unjammed and give them the wallet, but I couldn’t get it loose. Finally, I just said “Take the fucking Poncho and the wallet already” and tried to take the poncho off. I don’t know if you have ever tried to remove a poncho over your head while three people are steadily kicking you in that same head at full speed, but it ain’t easy – so it just added to the confusion.

As this was happening, there was a lady who was about sixty years old sitting on her porch swing at the house we were in front of watching the commotion and saying (not even screaming, but just saying at regular voice) “You boys better move that away from here before I call the cops” to which I gingerly replied back at her (trying to poke my head through the barrage of kicking feet wailing at my noggin so she could hear me clearly) “HEY LADY, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU WAITING FOR? – THEY’RE BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF ME – CALL THE FUCKING COPS ALREADY!!!”

Long story short, I couldn’t get the zipper undone and then a cop car drove by (she never did call, the cop was patrolling the area and randomly passed by) and they ran off. As I tried to get myself up off the ground, she just kept saying that she didn’t want trouble in front of her house. If that cop wasn’t there and I had my bearings, I most certainly would have went all Jackie Chan on her ass, but I was a little bit shaken up and, truth be told, she probably could have taken me in a fight too.  

At the police station, I didn’t want to get my mother nervous (it was the middle of the night and she had cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy) so I called my friend Elaina’s house to ask her to come and pick me up. That was a mistake. Apparently, that Yenta had hung up the phone, told her mother, then called my mother and then between the two of them, called everyone they knew and more than twenty people showed up at the police station. It probably wouldn’t have been bad if my mother and Elaina’s mother hadn’t started a vigil in the waiting room like Kris, Bosley, and Julie did when Kelly was in surgery after being shot in the head on the last episode of Season Five of Charlie’s Angels.

As I walked into the waiting room and saw all of them there and heard my the aforementioned Yenta‘s wailing and crying, I remember thinking “Oh my God, this is humiliating, what could possibly be more embarrassing than this?” I found out the next morning, when I woke up to my mother hysterical crying on the phone with someone – “They beat the shit out of my baby, my baby boy” (as if she were talking about an infant.) I went to the kitchen and let her mutter on with her call thinking it was her friend Bonnie and as she hung up, I tried to tell her that I was alright and not seriously hurt and asked her to calm down. I asked her to hand me the phone so I could call in sick to work to which she replied “Who do you think I was just on the phone with? That was your boss, Joyce, I called in sick for you. She is so upset” I literally had the shit kicked out of me again right there. Needless to say, I was ragged on quite a bit at work over the next few months for being 20 years old and having my mother calling in sick for me while crying hysterically to my boss…     

So I don’t necessarily consider any of the above an actual fist fight (they were more like drive-by shootings) and as a side-note, I do have really nice hands. I think that one day I could possibly be a professional glove model or ring model, so I would hate to scar them up with bruising and teeth marks from a fight…so it’s really not practical for me. Don’t worry though, because I will update this entry if, by chance,  I ever do get into a fist fight where I actually get to throw a punch – not just receive them.