The name that I use in reference to my father, that is the male partially responsible for my creation, and whatnot. But aside from the technical stuff, what exactly is a dad, a father? Well, he's supposed to be this support system, this person that is there for you, there to kick the asses of potential boyfriends, or give you advice when you've got girl trouble, that sort of thing.

He's also this person, a real person, besides being your father, he's got this whole other side to him that you might not know anything about.

For instance, we went into the city in the hopes of purchasing some neat product. My best friend was with us, as well, and she has a tongue piercing. We need to find a plastic barbell because the steel is hurting her teeth. Any way, we don't really know of anywhere that might sell them.. but then my dad pipes up, "Go to Fantasy Land". Of course this is a seedy porno store with dildos and every other sexual toy/thing in creation. "Um.. Dad? Why are you so familiar with this porno store?" And then, when that turned out to be fruitless, that is, they didn't have one, he suggested we head on over to the tattoo parlour. "What? There's a tattoo parlour in this city?!" We, being these young adults, should know these things, shouldn't we? But no, my dad did. What's up with that? I'll tell you what..

I had this idea in my head that my father wasn't actually a real person, just this guy, you know? Just this wholesome guy that has four kids and a wife and.. wait a minute, four kids? Gasp! He had sex!! Yes, it's true. And weird. I love how I forget that my parents actually had lives before I was born too. That porn store has been around forever, apparently. What was funnier was the fact that he pointed out to us where the old motorcycle gang used to hang out. Ah, my dad, the Hell's Angel, or something. It's just too funny.

Another kind of unsettling matter was made known to me today, also by my father. There is a branch of the KKK in the city near my house, what's up with that? I thought it had you know, disappeared, but apparently it's going strong, they just don't get to lynch anyone anymore. That repulses me. I also learned that Calgary happens to be like "Grand Central Station" so to speak, for KKK members. Huh? Someone should have lifted that rock I've been living under a while ago, I think I've missed some important stuff.
Hi Dad.

You never see people say that. It's always "Hi mom," whenever the yokels are on TV.

But hi, nontheless. I've had this thing I want to tell you, but I don't know how to, or how you'll take it, or what. I wish I could be sure, but I can't, but I'm sure, if you were even to believe, or even understand it, you would be calm, though concerned. But I can't work up the courage to tell it to you directly, but it needs to be said.

You've always been supportive of me, and pushed me to learn things. I've always loved that. Your coffee-table lectures on physics, your early support of me learning to program and play the piano. And I love how you push to keep learning things yourself, even at 50, your model airplanes and trying to learn everything new about computers even though they've changed so much since you first used them in grad school, punch card decks and teletypes and the original Colossal Cave Adventure which caused you to take an extra year on your dissertation, which I recently tried to read but couldn't understand, but that's okay because you're an optical engineer and quantum mechanics effects on light is your bag, and I can't expect to understand that, just as you've resigned not to try to understand all the esoteric mathematics theory which CS PhD students like myself deal with...

But you've always been supportive. And you've definitely always been a father to me. But I don't want to be your son... I want to be your daughter.

How can I possibly tell you something like this?

You've always been supportive, but you've also always been stubborn, at least at certain things. A virus destroyed your partition table a few years ago when it detected you running a virus scan on it, and it took much convincing to get you to even consider running a virus scanner because of it. And you've been stubborn about maintaining your horrible diet, even after your heart attack, though you've gotten better about that too.

But how can you be expected to accept me as female?

Mom thinks you're clueless about things like this. I wouldn't know. You've never talked about it, never voiced any opinion on gender issues... one time you hinted that you abhorred the way that gays are discriminated against in general, but that was all it was, a hint. I think you feel that one's lifestyle is their own business.

You've been surprised by my brother's piercings, especially the one he did himself, but you never have voiced any dissatisfaction or disrespect or the like for his own body modifications, or the way he dresses like a punk, but he's more straight-laced than most in a conservative garb, so his appearance probably isn't an issue. You only disapprove when he plays his punk rock too loud, or when his chains scratch something.

But that's hardly the same thing.

I don't want to hurt you. I sometimes wish I could help being what I am, but I can't.

I know you want all of us to find our own way. But I don't know how you'd react to what my way might end up being.

I wonder if maybe you know already. Maybe you've read my homepage. I don't see why you wouldn't have. I forced myself to link my personal and academic homepages so that certain people would find it. But you haven't said anything.

You never say anything.

You stick to the concrete, rarely, if ever, wandering into the realm of emotion, of identity, of this sort of thing. So I just don't know how you'd react, if you'd approve, if it'd upset you, if it'd hurt you...

The last thing I want to do is hurt you.

But I have to find my own way, too.

What should I do?

Dad?

Dad (?), n. [Prob. of Celtic origin; cf. Ir. daid, Gael. daidein, W. tad, OL. , , Skr. tata.]

Father; -- a word sometimes used by children.

I was never so bethumped witbords, Since I first called my brother's father dad. Shak.

 

© Webster 1913.

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