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Jett Superior laid this on you on || February 20, 2001 || 2:55 pm

I have spent (spended?) a significant part of my day staring down at the scuffed brown toes of my Doc Martens, ruminating. Marinating. blahblahblah. Noooo, it has nothing to do with my moony as-late affection for Edward Norton. He is quite tasty, no? He has that THING that makes you want to hang around and get to know him…

But enough of all that, damnit. Enough, I say!

Scout wants to add softball to her plate of activities. Generally when the kids desire to engage themselves in something, the biological father unit pays all fees and I buy the uniform and pimp the fundraising garbage out to everybody. Kind of an unspoken pact, if you will.

When Sam and Scout were dutifully returned from the standard visit last night, I mentioned that sign ups end this week. Biff (as we will henceforward call biological father) pulls out his wallet and begins to examine the contents. Yes, he has money there, but it is all earmarked for tried-and-true expenses. I fully understood, as I am faced with the same dilemma three-quarters of the time. I assured him that it was okay, and he started to say something. It was then that his face contorted in frustration and sorrow and he began to cry. Not big ole heaving sobs, mind you, but I knew that big ole heaving sobs were lurking somewhere beneath the surface. His barely-restrained voice gave him away.

“I hate when they are not able to have things they want, when I can’t do something for them…”

At this point I should tell you that yes, like many divorced couples with children, we have a tenous, venom-filled relationship that we attempt mightily to keep civil for the sake of Sam and Scout. All divorces are bad; most of them are bathed in atrocious behaviour fueled by bitterness and pride. Some crest the wave of horridness, though, and that percentage point is where we ended up in our process of dragging the marital union to the guillotine. Without going into much detail, I will tell you that we BOTH contributed to the breakdown of the marriage. I will also tell you that, in all honesty, I tried to be as fair as possible in putting an end to things. He was the one that crossed the line with certain behaviors to such an extent that I would literally pray for God to curse him with a horribly ravaging, painful and incurable case of anything. And everything, to be quite frank. In a nutshell, there is no love lost in my heart for this man. I had to explain all this to you, fair reader, so that you could feel the full weight of all that unfolded last night. So that you could be sufficiently shocked when I tell you what follows. We are not one of those, “Yeah, my ex and I are fabulous friends!” couples. I always wanna ask those people, “Then why the fuck aren’t you still married, you fucking cheese??” Sometimes I DO ask.

Anyway, Biff is not a ‘cryer’….he welled up when our son was born and cried one time when I packed my shit to leave. Otherwise, he has always been very reserved. So when I saw him in such obvious pain, in regards to our children, I moved toward him and took him in my arms, murmuring to him in soothing tones. “It’s alright, Biff….It’s….all….right….”

When the hug broke, I motioned for him to sit down. And sit we did, talking for a long time there in the semi-darkness of the dining room.

The man is lonely, and lives for the time that he spends with his kids. It may not have been so at one time, but now our children are his main focus. He has the desire to be something, for them. TO them. He feels shame that, due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, he is 31 and his life has not headed in the direction that he started it in. He wants his kids to not be ashamed of their dad (to which I replied, “If we raise them properly, we could both be ditch diggers and they will not give two fucks.”). He wants more, for himself and for Sam and Scout.

He is a victim of the disenfranchisement and discouragement that LOTS of Generation Xers have become a victim of. It seems to be a sentiment that I hear echoed more and more often from my peers as of late. We are at a point in our lives where we were told that we should be hitting our stride and making our mark and a vast percentage of us simply are NOT. Our parents and grandparents earnestly sold us the lie and we, being the trusting offspring that we are supposed to be, bought the entire pack of shit to the detriment of our psyches.

Yeah, this IS the land of the free and the home of the brave, but the slice of pie was sold ages ago and we are still bidding. The hell of it is simply that and that alone….we are still betting on the unrealized, unattainable futures that we were so perfunctorily promised by a generation of idealists and out-of-the-closet dreamers. And we are too old now to be petulant crybabies about it. We leave that to those that immediately follow us, those schizoid thirteen-year-olds who are riddling their classmates with fucking bullets. Amen. Pass the beer and sausages.

I hope that I made Biff feel better. The evening waned and we talked and talked. He is still not my favorite person, and I am quite sure that I am not his either. BUTBUTBUT, there in the half-light I sat and listened and talked and I caught a glimpse of the first Biff I knew, before the cataclysmic ugliness rained down on us. I caught a glimpse of the younger man that I fell in love with, the one that smiles out from family photos when the boychild and girlchild are toddlers, beaming out from the cradling embrace of mommy and daddy’s arms.

I found myself caught up in the fact that he is stil human and has ideas and feelings and hopes and thoughts, just like the rest of us. He gets hurt and frustrated and discouraged and sometimes feels enslaved, just like me and you and most everyone else.

And I was surprised to find myself hoping that tomorrow was okay for him, and the next day, and the next.

So I am brown-toed-shoe perplexed.

Nobody worked it out »

Don´t be shy. Lay it on me.

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