Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dad Rage

I don't think I've really written too much about my parents on this thing. This is largely for two reasons: a) my parents are pretty awesome people who are pretty much the Ward and June Cleaver of their era and b) I didn't want them to know I was writing a blog, but my brother ratted me out to my mom after a certain "unintentionally caused highly public incident" we had with an athlete.

This tale is one about my dad. My dad, as stated before, is just awesome. He's a walking cliche about "putting his kids first" -- he'd do (and has done) absolutely anything for us, he's the hardest working human being alive and has managed to get two master's degrees (and currently going for his doctorate) and advanced really far up in his industry while not once missing a Little League baseball game, middle school orchestra concert or high school journalism awards night in his parental life.

My dad is consistently a very nice, straightforward guy who is completely easygoing.

But beneath all of this is a hidden, explosive rage that is absolutely terrifying to watch unfold on the rare occassions that it does.

Usually, this rage unmasks itself when one of his asshole kids does something completely stupid -- it usually came out the four times a year in high school when I got a report card (usually weeks late due to unpaid library book finds) which had nothing but D's and one C-.

Those days, I'd be forced awake by my mom who was already warning me of what awaited me. Then I'd go downstairs and for 30 minutes I'd be met with my dad sitting on his chair, looking at me like how a lion eyes up a wildebeast in a Nature Channel show, and then would just unleash on me.


Keep in mind that my dad is also incredibly large. He's 6'3"/6'4" and weighs about 250 pounds. So on top of his towering rage is this pure physical intimidation from a man who has the build of your average NFL linebacker.

My dad's anger is usually managed by his choice of movies. His favorite two actors are Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Segal and he proudly boasts of owning the entire Under Seige series on DVD. He's constantly asked why he loves these movies, considering that he's a really intelligent guy who should know better. His answer is consistent: "Because they get to do what I dream of doing all day long."

One day, my dad was able to live out his dream of swift martial arts justice. I was about seven when all of this happened. (And I swear to you, all of this happened exactly as I am about to tell you. I admit to the people who've been with me since this thing started that I tend to embellish a little here and there. But honestly, this story is probably the most ridiculous sounding but it is absolutely accurate.)

At the time, my parents lived in an average house with a postage stamp front law. This was the first house they ever owned and they took a lot of pride in owning this and were really into home improvement. One of my dad's biggest accomplishments was installing, on his own, a vinyl door in the front.

One night, when we were all home, we were shocked when there was all this loud noises out front -- banging, glass breaking, etc. A group of teenage hooligans had come up our street and did a lot of petty vandalism to the houses in the neighborhood. Eggs, smashing a car window and they dented my dad's beloved vinyl door with a series of kicks. Now, it was easy for my dad to undent the vinyl door but it was still messed up looking and dissapointing to my dad, who became outraged.

The next night, the same exact teenagers came down the street and did the same exact thing to the block, including attacking our vinyl door. And this happened for a third night. Phone calls to the police did not stop this from happening. The police kind of brushed this aside and said there was nothing that could be done about this. And all of this just completely made my dad lose it.

On night four, my dad decided to take action. My dad put on an all black outfit, including a black knit ski cap. After assembling this outfit, he then went outside and lay in wait by hiding in our bushes. The entire time my dad was assembling his outfit and laying in the dirt, my mom was trying to talk some sense in to him. (My mom is nothing if not sensible and an eternal voice of reason.) She was pleading for him to come inside, to not do anything. But my dad continue to wait and wait and wait. About two hours elapsed, and then after about the 98th time my mom yelled at my dad, my old man came inside.

About three minutes elapsed when we hear WHAP WHAP WHAP WHAP WHAP. The teenagers came and were trashing the block again. This sent my dad apoplectic. He sidestepped my screaming mom and stormed up the block in his outfit.

The kids had a bit of a head start and were going to Colgate Field, two blocks away, the customary home for down-the-hill beer fests. The kids (your textbook mulleted/jean-jacketed 80's burnouts) were up on the hill where all of a sudden they see this maniac clad in black come storming at them. They all started hightailing it, screaming and running at this incredibly large man filled with rage.

They were about to get away when my dad jumped and managed to shoestring tackle one kid to the ground. Then he leapt to his feet and hovered over the 15-year-old kid.

"You... motherfuckers... have... fucked... up... my door... every night... this week."

The kid started frantically apologizing.

"You... touch... my door... one more time... I... will... find you... and crush... your arm... with a lead pipe..."

The kid was now completely freaked out and was now crying and begging. My favorite part of this is the exactness of the threat -- it's not a random thing like "I will kill you." Or something generic like "crush your skull" or "beat the shit out of you." No. It was "crush your arm with a lead pipe." The specificity of this is what made it real -- I mean, you don't say that without actually thinking it through first.

My dad let the kid go and then walked home where he told us, very calmly, about this conversation. And not calmly like serial killer calm. Calm like how he was for 99.9% of his life. Like this was something he saw on an episode of Barney Miller.

But wouldn't you know it? The next day, two kids and their parents approached my dad and offered to pay for any needed repairs to the door.

My dad's dream came true.


Blogger Geth said...

Two inaccuracies in your otherwise pitche perfect story:

1) He didn't just walk home, the police showed up and had to ask him to leave.

2) When running into the park, he didn't realize that there was a chain put up across the parking lot at night, so he ran at full speed into the chain, trip wire style. This led to him coasting on his face and stomach in a big pile of mud, so by the time he got to the kid (and by the time the cops showed) he wasn't dressed only in black, he was maniacally coated in a layer of filth as well.

12:03 PM  

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