Ten Years.

In
ten days it’ll be the ten-year anniversary of my father suddenly
passing away. So much is cloudy about that event and seemingly
everything that came before. Ten years is a long ass time and though I
paid attention to the weirdest details about strangers, the man closest
to me was such a constant that I never paid much attention to the
little details. I remember many things about him of course, but why can
I remember a stupid joke some kid told me in second grade, a kid who I
had nothing in common with, but have to focus just to remember specific
incidents in my relationship with my father. And it was a great
relationship.

Instead, I just get pissed off. Nearly every day.

My
best friend’s father considers her a burden, yet he’s survived cancer
and untold other ailments. Mine is ten years in the ground. A heart
attack took him out on the first try. And he loved EVERYONE. No one was
a burden to him, always worth making them laugh or cooking them a meal
or accommodating them simply because me or my mother felt they were
worth having over.

My
little girl is five years old and I know what kind of grandfather he’d
be and it incenses me. I don’t believe in that “he’s watching from
above” bullshit, and I’d trade an hour with him holding her for a
lifetime of him watching from above anyhow. All the while, a good
friend of mine has a father whose main hope for his granddaughter is
that she doesn’t wander in front of the football game on TV.

Another
friend’s father is perfectly cool with his grandchild doing whatever
dangerous stunts they want to, just so long as he has a full glass of
bourbon handy. Meanwhile, I haven’t gone fishing once in ten years
despite loving the hell out of it [aside from a quick cast and catch at
Johnny Mak’s place] because of the hole in my life he took up.

People
come into the cigar shop, men of sixty. Successful, bloated men who are
retired and enjoying a life of leisure. With their dads. I lost mine
when I was twenty-six. These fuckers are retired and hanging with their
fathers. Guys with great-grandchildren who are sexually active.

Crazy
shit. I wonder what a percentage of those people would be like if they’d
lost their father while twenty-six. Then again, some people never get
to even meet their fathers, so I assume it all averages out. My
personal experience of twenty-six mostly great years isn’t small
potatoes, but it’s hard not to feel deprived untold more.

I
don’t think my dad was stolen from me. He didn’t take care of himself.
He was seriously overweight and had smoked for the better part of three
decades or more. He didn’t exercise and he’d had major job stress for
the duration of my life, and in the last five years of his life he’d
taken pay cuts to compete, sold cars to make money, and whatever little
odd jobs he could procure. That said, he was one of the great ones, a
fact echoed to this day by friends and family whose lives he affected.

Ten
years later and “Big Nick” is still very much in their mind. We could
all wish we’d have that effect. I doubt I will. I’m too grumpy. But
it’s been ten years of my life, probably the ten most eventful and
trying, ones where a father might’ve made a difference. If not in my
life in my kid’s, any future kids I might have, and of course… my
mother’s.

It’s
been ten years since Carl Cunningham logged onto CHUD for me and put up
an animated GIF of a candle and note about the death as I dealt with
the loss, and the really swell outpouring the then-small CHUD.com
community gave me during that rough era.

Ten
years. I struggle to remember his voice. His mannerisms. His opinion on
things outside of baseball, fishing, movies, and family members. Every
once in a while I’ll see someone with his body type from behind, and a
part of me will forget the ten years and hope that it’s him, and what
I’ll say to him when he turns around.

It’s always some other asshole’s dad.

In
ten years I know I’ll have lost so many people that matter to me, and
possibly my own damn self. Life’s a crapshoot. Ten years from now my
kid’s going to think I’m the lamest person in the world and she might
be right. In ten years I’ll have less friends. Less family members.
Less dreams. Less hair. Less of everything except years and stories.

But if I leave her fatherless at twenty-six I’ll have learned nothing from my own dad’s ten-year lesson to me, one I’m still trying to learn.

Folks, don’t waste time. Not a fucking minute of it.

Today’s Moments:

  • Excedrin might as well be a daily pill for me to take.

  • If
    the Braves get Adam Dunn, Derek Lowe in addition to Kenshin (who they
    nabbed today), I’ll put them up against anyone in the East. EVEN if
    they succumb to giving fat Andruw another go.

  • I cannot find out what happened to Brian Koukol and I want to. I miss the guy.

  • I have learned more about the Kabballah in the past few weeks than I ever thought or hoped I would.

  • The CHUD Softball team is coming back!