A Letter To My Father, For Father's Day

I realize that while you are an intelligent man, that it is difficult to drag you away from your god-ish persona. And for that reason, I will tell you at the very beginning that I fully intend to put this letter in terms you can understand - martial arts, violence and control.

My first really static memory of you, is you buying me ice cream and taking me to see a Star Trek movie, when I was very small. I couldn't have been any more than three years old. It was in an ancient theatre in Toronto. I knew who you were; I didn't know that you held any significance.

My next memory is at roughly the same time. You were in jail, and I can remember mommy reading me a letter from you. When she was finished reading, she asked, "Do you want to go visit daddy, D?" I replied in the affirmative, and quite emphatically. I really wanted to see you. Even though you were just a shadow in my mind.

I remember little for the next few years. Apparently, you weren't around. The next time I can remember you, is when we moved back to Toronto. You weren't living with us; mom and I were living with my aunt Debbie. Then, she moved out, or something, or we moved out. And you came over while I was being sat by someone else - that girl who lived downstairs who smoked weed all the time, but was pretty good other than that - and proceeded to beat the shit out of mommy, and everything in the house. When it was time for me to come home, you told the "little cunt" babysitter to get the fuck out of Dodge, our you were going to spoil her face. You calmly told me to wait in my room, I think, while you had "a talk" with my mommy. Confused as to the goings-on in the apartment, curious as to why the apartment was trashed, I waited for mommy to say, "Yes, you'd better go wait in your room." And I did just that. I don't remember what happened after that.

Next, you lived with mommy and me. I can't recall too many fights when we lived up north of Toronto. I remember one, and the police coming to take you away. Not for domestic abuse, though. For the theft of those two movies (one of which was Fatal Attraction, which I watched with somewhat of a confused look on my face when you and mommy went for a walk in the woods that one day).

I fondly remember the day mommy and I left. That was the day after you threw her at the wall and cracked the wall all the way up the side of the house. You remember that? That was a particularly good one, dad. Way to go. You didn't hurt mom. But you defiinitely must have impressed yourself by cracking the house with her, as if she was a blunt weapon herself. I also remember mommy getting beaten around pretty bad, and coming into my room, where I was sobbing hysterically (this only came back to me a few years ago - a full ten years of having forgotten). She tried to comfort me, but you ripped her off the floor so hard that she caught a nail on my clothes, and cut the side of my face with it before it got ripped down to the cuticle. That was pretty great, wasn't it? Great times. And then, you knocked her into unconsciousness. Good job. Total obliteration. And what did you say to me? "Good night, Deevo, love ya kid." And you left. I love you too, daddy-o, I love you too.

The strangest thing to me is that you would beat her. Mom's a tough cookie, but I don't understand how it could affect your ego in any way to defeat an opponent who is clearly not your equal. Indeed, an opponent who is not even remotely close to your equal. When I last saw you, dad, you had a seventh Dan black belt in two different arts, karate, and something else. I don't remember what it was now. Karate was all you taught me, anyway. That's years upon years of training. And dad, you've got to understand, too, that you were solid muscle then. Not very tall, but completely solid. You tried to diet frequently, hoping to get down from about 195 lbs. or so, but it didn't work. Dieting does not get rid of muscles. Now, mom at the time was about 125 lbs. A real lightweight. Over these last ten years I've fought in more tourneys than I can count, hoping to outrun the memory of you, to supersede any goals and boundaries you gave, or wanted me to accomplish in the arts. And I have. I've done well. But not once have I dishonored myself by beating a weaker opponent for absolutely no reason.

I took what you taught me, what you beat into me each day of my life, what you literally beat into my mother, and I turned it into good. To use an analogy you'll understand, think Darth Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi. That was me. I realized the dark side, and thus, was able to avoid it. Now, I have my own daughter, who I'm proud to say I've never hit. I have a girlfriend who I'm proud to say I've never hit. Though once, I did come close. I almost turned into you! Can you believe it? We had gotten into a fight over something trivial, and she said something to anger me, to deliberately hurt me, and I raised my hand to her. But that's as far as it went, pop. That's as far as it went. I resisted. I saw you, living inside me, smiling your goofy smile, as if in some great victory.

I have a photo album of you, you know. I have pictures of you when I was a baby. The only real picture I have where you are looking on me with affection, with pure love and pride, is the picture with Lance. Remember that picture? I mean, it's Father's Day isn't it? Let's go over the memories. If you don't remember the picture, I'll describe it. Because you might be thinking, "Why, there's lots of pictures with Lancelot and Devon."

In this particular picture, I'm punching Lance in those muscles underneath the sternum. I'm punching upward, too. Here's where the pride comes in: it took something like twenty internal sutures to stop the bleeding. That's how hard I hit him. My hand was in a cast for two months. What pride you must have felt! And the worst part is, dear ole pop of mine, you actually patted my back afterwards! I hurt him incredibly, very well could have killed him. And not only did you keep a picture like that over the years, but you took me out for video games and pool afterward! Good job, really good job! It's really quite a shame that I've turned out as peaceful as I am, so serene. So content. Almost completely without anger. You'd be so ashamed of me and the life I lead now.

I was so ashamed that I kept training with you over the years, that I've never told mom, you know. I didn't want her to think that I'd failed her, that I'd done something wrong, that I was being sucked in by you. That I would start thinking as you do. That I would start beating women. I knew I wouldn't. I used you to better myself. That must bruise the ego just a little - you were used. And, if you ever told any truth about your life, you said that you began in the martial arts - karate, in particular - at age thirteen, when you dropped out of school. You made black belt at eighteen. That's quite a feat, five years. I'm impressed, I'll admit. It took me eight years to accomplish that. But, I was fifteen at the time. A little earlier than you. Sorry.

But don't get me wrong, I will give you praise. You are probably the best martial artist it's ever been my privelege to meet. There is no doubt about that. I've been instructed by people who pale in comparison to your sheer ability and teaching skill. You taught me about the human physiology, about how to strike the most calculated blows, how to not feel pain if necessary. It was your teaching upon which I have built the rest of my own abilities, as far as martial arts go. All the people who were in our classes became incredible martial artists. Some run significantly large schools in Toronto, from what I'm told. And your old pal, Jong Park Sune, still runs his studio in Hamilton, to the best of my knowledge.

But, I'm afraid your teachings weren't enough. When I was thirteen, I went into aikido, but I'd learned a couple of belts with you, too. By the time I was eighteen, I had my black belt. Not possible, you say? Well, I had some great teachers in the past. As I've said, the best I've ever known, even if it was a different art. I had the mentality stomped into me, you see.

As I've said, to this date, I've never hit a woman, and I never will. It's strange that you never ended up in jail for any long period of time, after the manslaughter thing. Apparently Bonnie called the cops on you, but you managed to "convince" her to drop charges. Even though you beat her into a bloody mess. You disregard my half-siblings. You refuse to acknowledge them. Well, damn. If I was god, I'd disregard whomever I choose. Isn't that the way things work?

So, Happy Father's Day. I wish you all the best in life. Letters don't convey sarcasm, I know, but that line remains. Happy Father's Day. Hopefully, you're not still fucking syphilitic Asian girls any more, trying to convince them you're younger than you are. I hope the syphilis is gone, because you don't need to lose your mind, or die. I want you good and healthy for when you and I cross paths again. After all, you're - what? - fifty seven now? Something like that? Syphilis gets rather nasty when untreated. And truly, I wish you the best of health. Because I've got to put this letter in words you will understand. I said that at the beginning of this letter. You understand violence, a complete lack of respect for human life, you understand martial arts and masochism.

Therefore, I'll close by saying again that I wish you the best of health, and hope your life has been a happy one to this point. You're into me for an incredible amount of child support ($57,100, I hope you know), and I want that. But there is an additional thing I want. I want you to feel the pain you've spread. The pain you've caused. I want you to be visited by the dreams I've had. I want to make your life painful. I know this may turn me into you, and all that. I realize the irony of what I'm saying. I know it. I cherish it. I want to make the rest of your life unbearable, so that it's you who wake up in a cold sweat. When we meet, it's going to be painful. FOr both of us. You see, there's a good chance that I might just walk up to you, and beat you so badly that the doctors would have to basis the coroner's report on what little dental work you have. There's that option. This could happen. I could just kick your ass very, very badly. But I'm too good for that, ultimately. You see, that would be a victory for you, just like Star Wars again. I want you to feel these horrendous pains, and I would laugh and cry watching it.

But I won't, daddy. I won't do it. I'm sorry. I'm not failing me. I'm not failing all the people who've taught me over my life.

But I'm willing to bet that maybe my brother will. Or my sister. Or their mother. Or Kaigo. Or Lancelot. An eye for an eye? Indeed.

Your son,
Devon Thomas Hart

Note to the noder/reader: This is a letter I wrote the day before yesterday, on my computer. I printed it, put it in an envelope, put two dollars worth of stamps on. It's now in a box, in my basement. I feel I should describe what my father's about quickly, to clarify the letter a little. My father, Thomas Nelson Horatio Hart, was born August 11, 1945, based on his driver's license and birth certificate, both of which are in my possession (the driver's license is a photo copy, and out of date). He has a given name of "Hoshin," pronounced Ho-Sheen, which I believe is Japanese, but I've never checked. I don't know what it means. He's got a large number of brothers and sisters, none of which I've met, to my knowledge. From what my mother and I gather, he's been taught by many martial artists, in Canada, the United States, Korea, and Thailand. He is much too unstable to perform in many tournaments, and a little old now. The martial arts we are sure he knows are shotokan- and uechi-ryu-style karate, tae kwon do, jiu jitsu, kendo, t'ai chi ch'uan, krav maga, and several styles of kung fu. He holds, to the best of our knowledge, four different black belts, one of which is seventh Dan, another is sixth Dan. He has a tattoo of the word karate on his left hand, in Japanese. On his right hand is a tattoo of a yin-yang. He's been arrested on multiple occasions. In 1981, he was arrested and convicted of one count of manslaughter, for killing an opponent in the ring. He told my mother that he simple wanted to "try a move." He's been arrested multiple times for domestic abuse, though he's never struck any of his children. He's got at least three children other than myself, though I'm the only product of his and my mother's union. He's also said that he was a mercenary in Bolivia, Suriname, Colombia, and several African countries. He's hinted at killing several people. It's important to realize that any or all of his stories could be bullshit, as he began his relationship with my mother with lies, lying that he was 26, instead of 35, when my mother was 17 years old. He was also still married to the mother of my half-siblings at the time. I don't know where he is, but I believe he's in the metro Toronto area, and am working on the child support at present.

One other small note: if anyone knows what "Hoshin" means, please /msg me. I'd greatly appreciate it.