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Family Life

Not all of my misadventures are centered around Charlene’s family. My parents are not a shining example of family life. I like to refer to them in the same manner as my grandparents did – Overgrown Adolescents. They have always put their own wants and desires ahead of each other, me, and, in general, everybody else. Sit back with me now and allow me illustrate these two pathetic individuals.

When I was about 11, my mother decided that she wanted to experience more of life’s adventures. It was during the beginning of the disco era (yes, I’m that old), and she felt a burning desire to shake it up on the dance floor. She wanted to get out and live the life of a teenager. Can you say middle-age crisis?
The start of her wonderful new life was to take up with young lad of 18. There was only one snag in this great plan. She was still married and had an underage child (me). Well, little things like that weren't about to stop her from entering the party scene. Having grown bored with married life, she just wandered off and moved in with her new boy-toy. Granted, my father wasn’t (and isn’t) the most exciting person, and divorce was such an isolated incident in those days that it wasn’t the big fight that divorces are today.
What a lovely person her boy-toy was! He was a pot smoking, cocaine sniffing, unwashed, dolt of a human being. His testosterone was pumping a little too hard one evening when he decided that I would be much better person if beaten to a pulp every so often, just to know who was boss.
To this day, it never ceases to amazes me that neither one of my parents never seemed to notice my bloody and bruised body, but then they had their own lives to live. I also tried to explain what happened, but the truth seemed just too horrible to accept. My father felt the pull of single life, and my mother just didn’t want to give up her new life style. My mother’s parents believed me and fought with her. I can remember the night they stood in the streets shouting at each other, but in the end, she moved in with her boy-toy.

My father took up the active, newly divorced, single life with gusto. He bought into the whole disco, polyester, leisure suit era. Single’s bars, gold chains, divorced-parent clubs, cb radios, the whole pop-culture of the 1970’s became his world. Me, I was handed a skateboard, and “ON-TV” switch box and told to enjoy myself. Trust me; it wasn’t like it is on “This 70’s show”.
One night, my friends and I were on our way to our condo-pool (why did all divorced families live in condominium’s in the 70’s?), when I stepped down on the top of a broken 1 liter Pepsi bottle. The kids in the neighborhood banded together and carried me back to our condominium. As I started to go into shock from the blood loss, I made an impassioned telephone call to my father at his current girl friend’s house for medical assistance. Just before I slipped into unconsciousness, his response was to put a band-aid on it before hanging up. Lucky for me, somebody called my grandfather. He came over with bandages, orange juice, comic books, and candy. To this day, I still carry that scar on the bottom of my foot to remind me of what a caring person my father is.

My mother? Oh, well, it seems that as she got a bit older, her boy-toy grew tired of her and tossed her out with out a penny to her name. She wept for days. She cried how could she have been that stupid, and promised me that never again would she let boyfriend take precedence over family. One day, I will relate the long ugly tale of what a piecrust promise that turned out to be.

Years later, my grandparents where staying with relatives in New York. My grandfather sent me out the money to come stay the winter with them. My father was less then pleased. Why? It was not for the normal reasons of allowing teenage-boy to fly alone across the country. He was mad because he couldn’t go. He demanded the money, and when I refused, he cornered me and threw a metal toolbox at my head, I lost a back molar, but I still went.
Before you say what a horrible thing, I think of the time he offered to help co-sign for a loan to replace my stolen car (it does suck to be Joe), but ONLY if I dropped out of college and got a real job was worse. His definition of a real job is one that puts calluses on our hands.

I’ve never seen a birthday card, cake, present from him. In fact when I was 13, everybody jumped on the forget Joe bandwagon and forgot my birthday. Refusing to let my birthday go without doing something, I took the bus to Disneyland alone. To this day, every year on my birthday, I still make the trip to Disneyland, with or without somebody in tow.

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