Happy Father's Day! Thanks for nothin', Dad, wherever you are.
Wifey and I mistakenly stopped at Family Dollar to grab a few light bulbs and paper towels yesterday afternoon, when my second Step-Dad (Gag me!) popped into the store. I very quickly retreated to the back of the store and pretended to be scouting the assortment of tools that barely pass as being anything more than glorified, zircon-encrusted toys.
The last time I ran across this total ass pretending to be a human being, and he referred to me as his son was when I still managing restaurants. He was sitting on a counter stool and everyone within earshot was much more than highly offended when I responded to his having called me his "son." I'm guessing here, but I think the spiel about breaking "every f**king inch of your f**king face with my f**king feet if you ever f**king come near me again" was probably what put them off. He wandered away towards Denny's, but if he hadn't and stuck to this "son" nonsense, it wouldn't have been the first, second, third, or fourth time for that matter that I would taken a few of my lineage frustrations out on his mostly tough-talking face.
A couple of years later, he made the hugest of mistakes by referring to my younger brother Ray as his son when he ran across him and his wife at the old Sunshines store. Trust me, humans beings are fairly adaptable in most cases, but you don't ever...ever...want to get hit by my brother's fists. He's got plenty of problems with his rather large body, but his temper is second to none, and he's a nose-tackle on steroids that basically haven't been invented yet. If a quick end is what you seek, tell my brother that Phil Simms sucked.
Phil Simms? A moment of silence, please...
Okay. We're back. Anyway, it's Father's Day. Ray was faced with the ultimate indignity at Sunshines when Step-Dad #2 mistakenly referred to him as his son in public, and then Ray delivered a damn-near kill-shot upon his mostly thick head that had him simultaneously crashing into unconscienceness, and crashing towards the floor while the baggers stopped bagging and looked on in abject horror. Needless to say, Ray beat it out of there without the needed groceries in tow.
So much for Dad (?) #3. Ray was born way too late to have to deal with Dad #1, or Dad #2, but my sister and I have enough baggage to carry around from that now dated period. To this day, when I read about what somehow passes as child abuse, I only need to lift my shirt and turn my back towards a mirror to remember what abuse really is, and what abuse felt like on a daily basis. If the physical scars can last thirty-plus years, imagine what the mental scars can do to most people.
None of all of that consumes me. Somehow, I have grown well past it. The passage of time heals all wounds. Or so they say. And my siblings say they have grown past it all too. I could care less for the most part. But having seen one of those offending assholes so close to the day when I am usually reminded to wonder why my Dad wanted nothing to do with me for as long as I may live set me off. Despite being long-suppressed, the anger does bubble to the surface on occasion.
Happy Father's Day.
I'll never wander into Family Dollar again.
This is what I found waiting for me in the e-mail inbox this morning:
What's wrong? Is the blog getting too hot for you? Did you start something you can't finish? When the people won't buy your pro-administration line you refuse to respond. That's the way it comes off buckwheat.
Whoa! A legend visits this cyber place? I'm honored. Sorry, about appearing hopelessly flustered and such, but my nephew went and graduated from high school and I really felt the need to attend his graduation party last night. How dare I take time out from the Anonymity Wars to be with my family?
Although, whoever posted this little ditty needs to step forward and take credit for it:
This is my message board. If you don't put your name on your post I will label you a liberal commie and disallow you to attend my ultimate block party.
Not bad. I like that. It takes a certain amount of talent to bust someone's ya-ya's and crack them up at the same time. Your basic premise suggests that you don't me at all, but that's not important. One question begs. If I don't know who the heck you are, how in Allah's name can I ban you from the ultimate block party? Whatever. Your thought process comes into question, but you did crack me up.
Since using (?) my own words against me has become the rage, let's paste 'em here again:
Taken from a post on 5-3-2003 on this site -- Please read this and understand where we are coming from, 00:44:22 06/20/04 Sun 
Here, here! BANG! The mayor can vilify the hose dudes all he wants for his own political benefit. The fact of the matter is, when the grandkids are trapped in a burning building, nobody calls the mayor. When some proud senior citizen who’s body is slipping a tad falls and breaks something and lies crying on the street and are totally ashamed by their age-induced vulnerability, they don’t want to see the mayor. When the cars collide, or roll over, nobody dials 821-8111. When somebody that thinks they’ve had enough of life’s trials and tribulations jumps off of a bridge, the mayor doesn’t get wet when the water rescue ensues. When a heart stops, the mayor doesn’t get paged. He doesn’t have to respond to a 10-45 call and remove a body that was a person only minutes, or hours before they were called. When the worst thing imaginable happens to you, or your family, “who ya’ gonna’ call?”
The Wilkes-Barre Fire Department.
Despite the non-stop abuse the mayor shovels onto them every chance he gets, they are only a 911 phone call and four minutes away. They are the “real world.”
Yup. That's where my mindset was on that date and nothing has changed since then. Actually, after having those words thrown back at me, I'm kinda proud of having written them. One thing needs to be pointed out. While our former mayor regularly vilified folks employed by the city, in my opinion, our present mayor has done no such thing. Someone mentioned that both he and one of our council people were a bit short with those presenting the F.D.'s position, but that does not even come close to approaching the dung heaped on the F.D. during the past few turbulent years.
But...if you firmly believe that this administration's goal is to reduce the size of that very same F.D. at any cost to public safety, or the fire fighters themselves, I guess I sort of misunderstood where some of you were coming from. I do not distrust him, so I must be misinformed if I'm to believe what I'm reading. But there's one thing that should cause some of you to take pause before coming up with the latest clever (?) internet assault on myself. I have conversed with, and, or traded e-mails your very own union reps. And as completely confusing as sorting through all of this union stuff may be for us non-union folks, it's very obvious to me that we're still paying for the previous administrations glaring mistakes. Mainly, it's complete refusal to negotiate in good faith.
And now our fire department has been gutted to some degree. We've got anonymous posters suggesting that a member of council wants an all volunteer force. Another suggests that our ambulances might be sold off as scrap. In my mind, that's a bunch of hysterical hooey. There are certain political implications that we need to consider. Which of our nine elected officials would look forward to running for reelection after deleting our entire paid fire department (even if they could), our ambulances, or both? They may be (insert charge), but they're not completely stupid.
That's why I originally reacted so badly to the anonymous fire folks that were reacting so badly on the internet. As soon as those engines went out of service, the calls that quickly grew into a drumbeat went out for retribution and such. I'm not happy in the least to know that on an average afternoon, headquarters is now manned by two, maybe three fire fighters, a bicycling enthusiast, and a three year-old boy. But sadly, that's where we're at, and I don't understand how the calls to 'kill 'em all' added anything productive to the already volatile mix. Maybe I stirred things up a bit too much, but some of you folks were doing just fine all by your lonesome with your silly pseudonyms firmly in hand and your psuedocyesis' going off of the chart. And no matter what anyone involved thinks of anyone else involved, 'kill 'em all' is ultimately counterproductive.
You can kill me. No one would care, nor notice for the most part. But if we're ever going to see those engines returned to service, taking an unmistakeably adversarial stance that rises to the level we had with the previous asministration seems foolish, if not doomed to failure. We wanted Leighton, we elected Leighton, and now you're telling me he's the second coming of McGroarty? Sorry, kiddies, but I'm not buying into that daftness.
And then there's this:
Firefighters, the union and angry faces -- Harry T. McCarthy, 18:10:17 06/19/04 Sat 
I'm going to say a few things here that might piss off my union firefighter brothers. And maybe even the Leighton supporters. But most of us are angry at the administration for a variety of reasons. Some personal, some financial and some ideological.
As firefighters we know that none of us are going to get rich doing this for a living. Anyone who enters this occupation believing differently should have his head examined. But we are paid adequately, and in my own opinion it wouldn't really bother me to not get a raise for a couple of years. I suspect most of my brothers feel the same way.
So we accepted a contract that limits the financial burden to the city by suspending a raise and adds increased co-pays to our health insurance. Most of us feel that we were duped into believing that this contribution to the city would help hold off an Act 47 scenario (which isn't good for anybody) and keep firehouses open and staffed. It seemed the right thing to do regardless of the fact that we didn't cause the city's financial woes.
You see, the more houses that remain open and staffed properly translates to better public safety. And more selfishly, better firefighter safety. And you know we all want to go home in one piece at the end of our shift.
So our give back was rewarded with a deconstruction of a great public service. Engines are gone that will never return, coverage areas are unclear, and we're told to expect more changes. Now the kicker is that we all know and respect our Fire Chief, Jake Lisman. He's an educated man who always looked out for the well being of the men in his command and stressed training and safety. With that said it's hard to believe this nonsense could come from such a man. It smacks of the bean counter yes men of the previous administration who thought they had a leg up on reality. Many of whom are still serving in the same capacity they were under McHitler. Could such poor planing be nothing more than coincidence?
So can anyone out there tell me we shouldn't be angry? That we shouldn't have menacing looking faces? That we shouldn't be distrustful? I'd be happy to hear alternative opinions providing they ring common sense.
Those involved know who Harry is, and in case you do not, allow me to point out that he is extremely well-read and well-spoken. "Chip off the ole' block," comes to mind.
So can anyone out there tell me we shouldn't be angry?
Nope. I hope I didn't give anyone the impression that I thought the latest changes were acceptable. I'm quite certain I mentioned that no one, myself included, seemed happy with what has delevoped.
That we shouldn't have menacing looking faces?
Jeez! As I previously stated, a poor choice of words on my part. I watched the video advertising box and that's what I noticed. It is what it is, but it's not something we need to dwell on.
That we shouldn't be distrustful?
The distrust you speak of seems to be resonating to some widely varying degrees within your own department. I'm not going to sit here and tell you not to follow your own mind, but you are now the fifth member of the F.D. that has mentioned the dreaded "bean counters," either via e-mail or the forum. The bean counters. Therein lies the crux of the current falling-out over money which I thought we all knew the city was in very short supply of. The bean counters. Are the bean counters correct? Or are they mistaken? Is that not what is currently at issue here? Or is there something much more sinister lurking just under foot?
Harry, I'm really not trying to take issue with your comments in the least and it's obvious to anyone that you are outraged by our recent redeployments after some much needed apparatus was unceremoniously decommissioned. But, much to my astonishment, we are now calling into question the competentcy of our second consecutive fire chief, albeit, for completely different reasons.
Allow me to sort this out, will you? This is what your boys, yourself included to a minor degree, have been trying to tell me for a week or so. The new mayor is no better than the previous one. The new fire chief is no better, maybe even worse, than the previous one. Our council folks deserve to one day appear on Al-Jazerra, sans their fat heads. And I no longer have any grasp on the important issues of the day. The only folks armed with the facts, the truth if you will, are the anonymous folks (Yourself and about four others excluded) in the fire department?
Is that where we're at? It sure seems as if that's what we're being force-fed as of late.
If you ask me, the current, misguided configurement of our fire department is without doubt a ticking time bomb waiting for a less than hefty fuse. The bothersome question at hand should not be how we hack on the new mayor, the council, the new fire chief, or how we put that internet bastard in his place already. The overriding question at hand should be, "How do we resolve this most stupifying crisis?"
And yet, the only thing your anonymous co-workers seem to have to offer to the equation is "Kill 'em all," or somewhere thereabouts.
And how exactly is that helpful?
Like I said, we headed off to Georgetown for a major dose of family and frivolity last night. We usually don't lower ourselves to playing copies, but not every party has a Gibson SG, a Strat, or a Les Paul on hand in most cases.
And it was fun doing so until the grandkids necessitated a hasty retreat back here to the adobe. My previously miniature nephews are all pushing six-feet tall. My once gangly neices are for the most part attractive young women. And those of us that spawned them are aging at vastly differing rates. The ancient scores that seemingly needed to be settled so long ago are now since long forgotten. And being "middle-aged," as they say, is OH so acceptable when you can see that the next generaion is so full of life and and so full of un-tapped potential. Us old folks get together and swap pictures every time one of or offspring graduates from high school. We drink untold mass quantities, we reminisce about whatever it was that we were good at years ago, and we quietly hope that the latest to escape from our control will do us proud.
Joey escaped last night.