There have only been three people in my life who have ever filled me with contempt, anger, and hatred towards them. Two of which have been successfully removed from all contact with me. The other is tragically, tied to my being as long as I live. My father.

He married my mother two months after her previous husband had died. She had two kids from that marriage, George and Cindy. George and my father never got along. They fought constantly, sometimes vehement verbal arguments would escalate to full on physical bouts of fists and cracks in the walls. Meanwhile, my mother would be standing by, yelling at my father to stop, and eventually retreating to her room to cry. Usually, after the fight, I'd hear my father consoling my mother one minute, then yelling at her the next for not being "a good mother" to her misguided son. And she'd believe him. Bullshit. George left the house when he was 16 because he was the only one who would stand up to my father. I was only 7 at the time. Things calmed down a bit, but there were still three other kids my father could take his agressions out on.

I can't tell you how many times I've gotten spanked or beaten for doing something that was wrong only in my father's eyes. One day it was for leaving the phone off the hook, the next it was for listening to country music (don't laugh). He was the kind of asshole who would tell his 8-year-old daughter to go to his closet and choose the belt with which he was going to hit her with. Too thin, and you'd get a larger number of lashings that stung like hell. Too thick, and you'd get a few full-strength whacks that bruised your ass for days. The worst times were when I'd say something to my defense, then he'd grab me by the back of my head, by my hair, and scream at me about an inch from my face that I was lying to him. I remember one time when he was getting drunk with his friends at what was (I think) a birthday party, and him saying, "You have to get the kids disciplined enough to where they'll say they did it whether they did or not. Then you have to teach them to respect what you say by smacking 'em around a little. It builds character." Ahem, as a representative of one of the kids, let it be known, that it only builds hatred.

He left me alone largely because I spent the majority of my time until I was 14 brooding in my room. I believe it was around this time that my mother and he started fighting more. Actually, it wasn't so much of them fighting as him screaming at her about how she never loved her children as much as she should have and that she was the cause of everyone's unhappiness. Again, bullshit. I used to go into their room after he left and attempt to console my mother. It never worked. I'd always hear her start back crying the second I closed the door behind me.

Every one of the kids in the family (4 of us) had suspected my father of adultery at one time or other, but were never really sure about it. When I was 15, my father was laid off of his job in San Antonio, and we relocated to Georgia. It was just my mother, me, and my father. One day I came home from school and heard a faint sobbing from the back of the apartment we had rented. I walked from the front door down the shadowed hallway, and the sound came from behind my parent's bedroom door. I looked outside to see if my father's car was there. It wasn't. Already a picture of what happened started to form in my mind. I slowly open the door, and look around the room, but I can't see my mother. I walk inside and hear the sound behind the bathroom door. I walk over, turn the knob and make out the shadow of my mother crouched in the corner, head in hands and legs balled close to her body. I immediately crouch down to her level, and in my gentlest voice ask what happened. She won't even look at me, and she says, "Your father's going to leave." I ask why, and she breaks down into sobbing and tears streaming down her cheeks. "He's found another woman. And she's pregnant. With his child." My mouth dropped. No matter how much you prepare yourself for a certain situation, sometimes it's still a complete shock when it actually does happen.

The worst part of this entire situation, is that my parents didn't separate. My mother cried daily, lost almost 100 lbs., and sank into a deep depression. My father kept both women in balance. Telling both that he loved them, and both that he was leaving the other. And both women were aware of this. Neither would leave him. How's that for sick? As my father increasingly lost control of his life, he took more control of mine. I became his little scapegoat. Anything I did was now under his scrutiny. And I was very bitter about it. One night, I came home from a concert, in a town that was 2 hours away, 15 minutes late. I walked inside and was immediately greeted by a booming, "Who the hell do you think you are!?" My mother told him to calm down, and he screamed at her, "That little bitch thinks she can just ignore me and come home whenever she damn well feels like it. Well I'm fucking tired of it. It's about time she learned to fucking obey me!" I've never been so scared in my entire life. My heart pounded and my first instinct was to turn back around, swing open the door, and run for it. Maybe my friends' van was still in the complex, I could maybe catch them. But my boots were lead, and I found myself frozen to that spot. He rushed at me, grabbed me by my hair, pushed me against the door, and proceeded to scream at me. I have no idea what he was yelling about. My mind was spinning, my heart was racing, I couldn't tell you what I felt but it was huge. Then I snapped. I started screaming. Not words, nothing coherent, I just screamed. All of a sudden the incident of coming home late became much more. It became every single thread of hatred I had towards him transformed into my moment of letting him know how much he had hurt me, and how big he had fucked up. After I let out the initial burst of adrenaline and emotion, I opened my tear-filled eyes to find him looking at me with intense anger. I proceeded to scream about everything I was angry for. How it was him that made everyone unhappy, and him that had driven my mother to be the way she was. My mother went into her room, crying, mumbling something to herself. My father and I finished our screaming. And he went into his room. I started to my bedroom when he comes walking back out, grabs me by my arm, and into his room. He says, "Look what you've done to your mother! This is your fault!" And I look across the bed, to my mother crying on the floor, next to a bottle of spilt Buspar (an anti-depressant). This was her way of attempting suicide. And my father trying to blame it on me. I stood there and shook my head no. I said in a calm, deadly serious voice, "You've brought this on yourselves.", and left the room. About half an hour later the police came, and that was the end of the night.

There was one other serious incident to happen between me and my father since then. It was after we moved back to San Antonio. I barely speak to him, and avoid him as much as possible. To my utter dismay and extreme disappointment, my mother continues to put up with him. Time after time of his lying to her about his affair, and her finding out, she won't leave him. Probably because he has her on a short leash, and wields control over her by way of playing on her self-esteem. Which is probably non-existent by now.

My father contributes to my being as messed up as I am today. I find myself trying to become a well-adjusted human, but then some little thing will happen concerning him, and I'm back to the role of the angry, bitter daughter again. As he has been the source of pain and anger in many lives, I atleast know what-not-to-do.

Many people have had similar experiences. Years of bottled-up emotion and built-up rage, which is seldomly communicated and even more rarely worked out. In my own case, I don't believe this will ever be forgotten or brought to closure. Nor do I believe that he will ever care, and by some miracle should he find himself to fully realize the scope of his mistakes, I (among others) will not be there to forgive him.

Classic song for singing around the campfire.
My old man's a sailor
What do you think about that?
He wears a sailor's collar,
He wears a sailor's hat.
He wears a sailor's raincoat,
He wears a sailor's shoes,
And every Saturday evening,
He reads the Sunday News.
Repeat, and each time replace "sailor" with a new occupation, the more difficult to sing, the better.

The Smothers Brothers, in their version, use

Recordings: The Smothers Brothers Think Ethnic, Mercury LP #60777
Washboard Jungle, The Brown Album

Well known English music hall song written by Fred W. Leigh and Charles Collins, made popular by Marie Lloyd.

(I learnt it at Primary school when I was a kid in about 1995-97):

My old man (said follow the van)

My old man, said follow the van
And don't dilly-dally on the way
Off went the cart with the 'ome packed in it
I walked be'ind with me old cock linnet
but I dillied and dallied, dallied and dillied
lost the van and didn't know where to roam
and you can't trust the specials like the old time coppers
when you can't find your way 'ome.

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