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Missing: One Dad, Slightly Used

My dad is missing, or rather, he's being missed.

THis is his public face: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_Shannon

In private, he's quick with a joke, and has perhaps the lowest self esteem of any man I've ever met. I like the funny part. The low self esteem part makes me want to punch him in the nose sometimes.

If he read the above, he'd decide it meant that his son hated him. I'd have to *beg* him to see otherwise, just like I had to beg, in tears no less, to get him to show up to my wedding, to shake my hand.

However right now I'm so goddamned angry at him, it would be what they call a 'tough sell' to convince him I loved him.

The truth is, for the first time in my life I am seriously considering just not having him in my life anymore.

I am tired of being abandoned by this guy.

Some background. He divorced my mother many years ago, when I was, say, knee-high to a grashopper. This was all because she'd had an affair with his then best friend, sucessfully hidden it, even though my sister was the result of the affair and she was shortly after pregnant with my brother via my dad already. Sound twisted? I had no idea. I was too young to know. I had a baby sister and brother and loved them, and they loved me. None of the other crap mattered to me then. It's one of the miracles of my life that we all stayed together and grew up together.

But drama. Divorce. Calamity. Judgement. It all marred my childhood, though I wasn't aware of how much until I started inventing my own drama.

My dad was not the bad guy in this story. He had a good job as a TV commentator, and he was fan-fucking tastic at it. He took on big car detroit before their were lemon laws, in a town owned by teamsters who will fucking kill you. We had death threats spelled out in flaming gasoline outside our door once, or so I was told. I was too young to know or care. Anyway the guy was good. Six Emmys won and four Ace nominations good. I remember wearing tiny tuxes often as a child, and hating it, and thinking the thousand dollar a can caviar was way too salty. Famous people knew my name when I didn't know theirs, or understand why they were famous, or even what fame was. Everyone in Detroit knew my dad's name, then everyone in Philidelphia, then everyone in California.

But by California, the dream was over. Perhaps seeing the miracle of my sister and brother and I loving each other and our mom and him unconditionally couldn't cut it anymore. I'm shocked it lasted as long as it had. These were some really stubborn people, my parents, to try to make it work after so many years of betraying each other.

See this is when my dad got mean. There were belt beatings and wooden spoons and to hear my mom tell it, times when he nearly choked her out. He was full of rage. She was full of shame. My ass hurt. They were bad times.

Finally my mom packed us all into an old brown doored station wagon with every toy we owned and drove us to Aunt Jackie and Uncle Bill's. I cried and cried. I hated it. I didn't understand. Dad had finally gotten a paternity test for my sister, and finally proved she wasn't his. He already knew of course, but he *hated* his old friend Al for sleeping with his wife, and if Al wanted to see his daughter, he was damn well going to make sure he was his daughter.

The truth set us free. To... roam from house to house for awhile. First Aunt Jackie's then my Dad's moms old house. Grandma LaVonne's house was so stained with nicotine from her smoking that the walls were noticably and un-evenly yellow. I liked the place. THere were figs outside and a rope swing. Still I missed my dad.

I was dooing poorly in school. But I was of gifted intelligence, so my test scores were rediculous. I got into every gifted class. I aced them all.

But we moved again and again and again, and eventually, there were simply months of math I had missed. I went from a school teaching multiplication tables to one months into long division in a week. I got frustrated, lost confidence. My math skills were forevermore tainted by that lack of confidence. In high school I'd fail algebra twice and make it up in summer school.

English? Any sort of presentation? I was still a prodigy, straight a student. It was like a dividing line in my brain. Science was the exception. I hated busy work, so would barely pass homework intensive classes, but ace the tests, leaving me with C's or D's depending on the ratio of grades related to worksheets vs. tests. Once my Science teacher Mr. Crowder pulled me into his office and said:

"Chris you need to apply yourself. You'd have an A if you ever did your homework. Unless you are cheating on these tests. How can I tell you aren't in fact?"

Frustrated, I drew a punnet square and mapped out big ans small H's to show dominant and recessive traits like so:

HH | Hh
hH | hh

"This is my parents," I said, circling the dominant double HH. "This is me." I said, circling the recessive small h. "I'm gene-recessive for homework doing."

You could have driven a truck through his open mouth. The asshole still gave me a D.

But time passed. My father would appear for awhile, a week or so every couple of years. He'd sometimes come through with a really impressive gift for Christmas. Once it was the Lego Monorail. That was epic. I was the toast of the block.

Most of the time no cards or anything. ButI didn't care - or I didn't think I cared. I didn't really know any better. After awhile his absence seemed like your average 'It's always been that way' kind of kid adaptation.

As a teen I was mad a lot, had anger issues. My brother and I fought, and I was bigger and older and meaner than him. I was a jerk. Your sadly typical angry teen. Nobody understood why I was so angry, least of all me. My mom kicked me out at 18. I lived in my truck and surfed couches with friends parents for a couple of weeks, then moved in with my Grandma LaVonne for almost a year.

That was honestly amazing. My grandma, turns out, was awesome. Grew up in the depression like most of her generation, wore mumus, had an ugly fluffy dog that loved her and wanted nothing to do with me. Muffin. THe dogs name was hand-to-god muffin. But she as funny, and kind and just amazing. My life sucked. My high school sweetheart moved away and dumped me within a week of college over the phone of all things. I was a burning cleche of weeping post-teen angst.

Then I began dating. I was horrible at it. I did all the guy things guys do. Dated based on looks and likelyhood I'd get laid. Wrote and rewrote other people's terrible poetry. Embraced my dark side. Got cool. Took up smoking. Lied. Cheated. Barely didn't steal.

Then I grew up. At some point in an email with my dad I told him off for treating me like a kid and giving me kid advice. I told him I was 25 and asked him what he had been up to at 25. That worked. Like a switch, he started treating me like an adult, and an actual relationship was born.

We talked about stuff. I emailed him about what was going on in my life. For a few blessed years, we interacted like actual people. When I got married, I had to practically drag him to the thing. It made me pretty angry how hard it was to get him to show up and eat some of the eight hundred dollar cake, but I was as happy as I'd ever been in my whole life, so my anger was transient.

Then his mom died, My Grandma LaVonne. She was in her late 80's, she had terrible Alzheimers. When she couldn't tell my father from the nurses, it broke his heart. I joined him at the funeral. He cried on my shoulder a lot. He gave my brother and I some of the inheritance money. She had left me some too. I loved that old lady, but my dad had lost his best friend. We started talking about moving him out to Seattle so that we could spend more time together, getting season tickets to go watch sports and shout at professional atheletes. He was interested, but evasive about the details.

THen a couple of months ago he called me, instructing me to delete old phone numbers and that some email addresses he'd had were getting turned off, that he'd been getting ready to move out of Grandma's house, where he'd been staying while he looked after her.

THen he disappeared. He turned off ALL of his phones. He moved addresses and left no forwarding address. He turned off all of his email accounts.

He's gone.

None of his family, his cousins, his sister, or anyone, save perhaps Grandma in heaven knows where he is. I don't know if he's ok or not. Clearly he didn't fall off of his boat and rise from the grave to turn off his email accounts.

But hes gone. Vanished.


I'm so.. angry at him right now. I know he planned this. I know he wanted this. I just don't have any fucking clue why. I miss him. Right now I also hate him.

This hurts.

So I'm missing one Dad, slightly used. Seen him around?



I'm so sorry, Chris.

I have no earthly way of finding him but if I do, you'll be the first to know.

It's dumb luck that I have a friend like you with all the crap we've been through, but I appreciate it times a buhjillion. Thanks for the hugs.

May 2012

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