Old Dog – Anthony Statham

My dad doesn’t know how to use email. He can change the oil in a car, and all the tires, even knows how to remove an engine block and replace it with a functioning one, but computers are as foreign as it gets. He remodeled our kitchen, built everything from scratch. I helped him rip the old kitchen out, smashed it to smithereens with a sledgehammer. I’ve seen him crawl under the house with no weapons save a flashlight, find the culprit of a mold issue, and within a day or two fix it all up. He pulled up our old shag carpet, dragged it out to an oversized dumpster and then installed a beautiful hardwood floor. He took me to every soccer and baseball practice when I was young. Never missed a game. After I tired of Baseball and stopped enjoying the handless involvement of soccer he helped me practice my jump shot in our street on the rim he put up for me, and then gave me chores around the house to earn money for sneakers. I helped him mix the cement and by the time I came back outside with lemonade from our new kitchen he was finished. He has always done what had to be done around our home, for me and my sisters and my mom. Sometimes he complained but I think it’s a trait he passed on to me, and so when I complain about doing something it’s not sincere, more an inside joke to pass the time. Everything he was asked to do he did. So it never surprised me that he looked at computers the way Aboriginals look at computers. He’s from a different era when men did things with their hands and didn’t complain with sincerity. It was the way it was. I sit in front of my laptop and if my email doesn’t load I curse the heavens and kick up a fit. It’s pathetic. When I need an oil change I drive to a place where a guy in a greasy monkey suit does the work for me. The only tire I ever changed was in high school for a class credit.

The last time I saw my dad was a couple years ago, not for any vindictive reasons, rather I’ve been living about six thousand miles away in Asia. I haven’t talked to him in all that time. I email with my mom and she gives him my love and the Raiders are having a good season, so I know we’re thinking about each other. When I was still crawling in diapers the first lesson instilled on me by my dad was a love for all sports teams Los Angeles related, so die-hard until the day I die – Raiders, Rams, Lakers and Dodgers. It makes me think of that old adage that fathers often want their sons to be like them. But I think there’s another side to that coin that reveals itself in glimpses of clueless inaction and Internet keypunches in search of more manly men to help us with day-to-day doings. We, the sons often wish we were more like our fathers.

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