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A Father's Lessons


With all this talk of Father's Day this Sunday, I got to thinking about my own dad. He's no longer with us, God rest his soul, but while he inhabited the material plane, he sure gave me some great memories to live with until, like him, I'm as gone as an ethereal wisp of smoke. (I prefer to think of leaving the earth in a wave of my arm and a PUFF of smoke, but whatever. I doubt my exodus will be quite so theatrical.) I see a tunnel and there's light at the end... and... oh holy cow, there's Jesus... but he's got a gun! Fuck! Run!

Then blackness.

Wait. WTF was I talking about? Oh yeah. Dads. Dads and horror films.

Long gone are the Saturday afternoons with my own dad watching a show in Cleveland called Superhost back in the 80's. Superhost was one of those costumed Elvira/Ghoulardi type characters who hosted old Hammer Horror and black & white Jack Arnold and Jacques Tourneur films from the '50s and '60s.  Every Saturday while other dads took their kids out to play baseball or go hiking, my dad grabbed the remote and camped out with me in front of the shrine that was our glorious 24" Magnavox, where we basked in the rays of films like Die Monster Die! and Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Needless to say, my dad (with the help of my pop-culture-whore of an older brother Charlie), was insanely influential on my young mind.

And while we weren't the "active family" from all the J Crew ads, I was lucky enough never to have heard my dad tell me how disappointed he was in me, or how I wasn't living up to his expectations, or anything negative, actually. Except that one time he told me I wore too much black when I was a teenager. I laughed goodnaturedly in his face and said, "Um. Dad, who got me hooked on Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee in the first place? Who moved our family into one of Ohio's most notoriously haunted houses... DAD?" He laughed and let it go. But he did make me take golf lessons for a year so I wouldn't be TOO lopsided in my interests... HA! TOO LATE! I spent the whole summer making Caddyshack references to a clueless geriatric golf instructor.

Face it dad: you made a monster, now you gotta live with it.

And even though I miss dad a little bit every day, all I gotta do to bring him back is pop one of my old $5 bargain-bin horror films in the DVD player and there he is, sitting in his ghostly Lay-Z-Boy watching them with me- (I like to picture him translucent and blue and wearing Jedi robes).

I'd like to write more about him, but I gotta go. My daughter wants to watch a double feature of The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Gaudium Per Atrox.