Sunday, June 15, 2008

Just Once

I know this is mean-spirited of me. But just once, on Father's Day, I'd like to see a different kind of story as the lede feature in the Sunday paper.

Not that I have anything against celebrating the happiness of the man who ditched his babies and their mother when he was 20 and went to drink and shoot up and ended up a homeless alcoholic, and now, 10 years later, is getting back in touch with his son and daughter. [Thanks to some intervention treatment program hosted by some rescue mission. Funded by some bill pushed by some state senator. And it's all threatened by federal budget cuts thanks to Republican parsimony and the war in Iraq. Et cetera.]

But I wonder, where is the dad who stayed? The dad who came home every night to his family in spite of his demons. He took shit from abusive bosses and said nothing, because his kids needed the paycheck. He could have tossed it all to the wind and let the demons rule, but he didn't. Perhaps they were kept at bay only by the strength of the mutual love he had with his son and daughter.

It is all over-simple from a God's-eye view. Perhaps the father who stays warps his children; perhaps the father who leaves allows them to develop strength they would not otherwise have.

But in the over-simple world as we experience it, isn't there a place for the dad who stayed? I'm sure the other man's tale is uplifting, in a sad way, but might not this be, with the writer's touch?