The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.
It was a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, most of the way through the summer, when my Dad finally discovered that I’d bought and been hiding a computer up in my room. In all that time, he’d never entered my domicile. He’d come up and knocked to bring me down to dinner a couple of times but he’d never come in. I was standing outside talking with my cousin Billy, who was either up from North Carolina or had been up since finishing his first year at UMass Lowell. Dad was inside talking with Mom. I forget who came out first, but either way I knew I was in trouble.
Dad had been against me buying the computer from the beginning. I think it had set off his feelings that I was an irresponsible, selfish, little prick for even asking about it and our relationship had been strained all summer. This didn’t help my big blue funk. I could’ve really used Dad as a friend then. I needed all the friendship and love I could get. But alas, we’d spent most of the summer just being cordial.
When he found out I’d bought a computer behind his back with Mom’s help, he was furious with the both of us. He’d wanted me to wait till I had paid back money I owed him. He’d wanted me to wait until I had enough money to buy it outright instead of paying for it in installments. He was probably right on all counts, but I wanted a computer and I wasn’t hearing it.
As the remainder of the summer wore on we gradually came to an understanding that I shouldn’t sneak behind his back like that anymore and that we were okay. I think him finding out, while initially discomforting, was the best thing that could have happened.
I even recall that once he got used to the idea he brought home a 3.5 floppy disk with an old DOS version of Wheel of Fortune, complete with a redheaded Vanna White, and gave it to me. It did eventually occur to me that he wasn’t pissed about the computer as much as he was pissed about the fact that I didn’t seem to respect his fatherly advice.
That’s all on that score for now.