Friday, November 21, 2008

My Father is "pissed off: (his words!)


Last night, Wednesday, I called home.
Their phone rang just before 8 pm.
Of course, after my Dad answered, I asked if I should apologize for waking him up.
He's known to go to bed very early.

He was wide awake.
He also said, "I'm pisssed."
To know my Father is to know he does not use profanity.
I've only heard the "F WORD" out of his mouth once (quoting someone else).

"Pissed" isn't necessarily bleepable,
Nonetheless, it is very strong language for my Father.
I told him I'd be on my way over – be there in less than a half hour.
Less than 30 minutes later, I'm there.

Here I should note that I was going to be in the neighborhood playing basketball at 9.
That I had planned to drop off some free samples from work I know he'd like.
Maraschino cherries, for use in his Brandy Manhattans, to be exact.
--Just called to see if they were awake

I walk into my parents home to see my Mom where I expect her.
Parked in front of MSNBC, successfully replacing her election thirst with the Auto-bailout
My Mom does not like the Detroit auto-execs.
She kept repeating "They just don't get it, they just don't get it"

My Father, however, was sitting by himself in the seldom used living room.
The kind of room only used when relatives visit.
Just him, reading a book.
He is not an avid reader.

He likes to check out books from the library.
Often they are returned unread.
But he had received a book earlier today
And he was burning through it in unprecedented speed.

The book is the first novel written by his brother.
He's published a few titles, in an area I'd name "non-mainstream religion"
This man, my Uncle, is a former Jesuit.
His wife, my Aunt, a former nun.

But this isn't about the Uncle and Aunt of different last names
(that last name, is an entirely different story)
This is about the novel my Dad was now reading.
Novel, by the way, as in a work of fiction.

The book, in the forward, goes out of its way to declare its fictitiousness.
Yet my Dad has told me specific names and places in this book that he knows exists.
For example, vivid details of a basement church in the Midwest.
Also, the fact that the cover picture is of my Uncle when he was still "in the cloth."

The major arc of the plot involves a man leaving the priesthood.
Including the falling in love with a woman from the religious life.
What pissed my Dad off, causing him to write a "?" near a specific paragraph.
Is when the main character's family structure was detailed.

The main character's father was an Irish Immigrant, marrying a converted Protestant.
Brother to four siblings: Two brothers, two sisters, one of each married or a priest/nun.
This perfectly explains my Father's actual family structure, with one exception.
There is no third, baby, brother… My Father's place in the family…

My Father was "pissed" that his brother left his fictional counterpart on the editor's table.
I pleaded with him that he shouldn't get upset.
The work is fiction.
And, to use his logic, the married brother could very well be him – not his late brother John.

I might have calmed him down a little, but he still has more calming to go.
"It's more symmetrical for the main character to have four siblings, not five." I theorized.
This somewhat humored my Mom – breaking briefly from her MSNBC mindset to weigh in.
"It's fiction dear." Is all that she said. It was all that needed to be said.

My Father is going to finish this book.
Then my Mother, the stalwart reader of the family, will pick it up.
I have asked to be next, and I will try to convince my sister to read it too.
Hopefully we'll have the first ever family book club between the four of us.

It will be a therapeutic exercise.
Make us all feel very enlightened.
A mature family acting like adults.
I can't wait, it's going to be an instant family memory classic.

(The official site of William Cleary: Someone who I am proud to be called his nephew)

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