GUNS ARE ACTUALLY COOL.
Before: It’s not that I didn’t enjoy seeing my dad and his friends blowing stuff up with shotguns — it just always seemed a little much. And if he was drunk and a little riled up, my obsession with rap music reminded me of just how dangerous the situation was. Lil Wayne’s threats to “shoot everyone sittin’ on the livin’ room sofa,” flashed through my mind every time he’d drunkenly point his air pistol in my face screaming booom BOOM BOOM boom!
Now: I get it, guns are cool. I mean, have you shot a gun lately? It’s an amazing feeling. Plus, if society goes down the toilet and Zombieland-esque chaos breaks out you know your going want to have one.
SOCIETY IS ON THE BRINK OF COLLAPSE.
Before: My dad subscribes to every conspiracy theory and hysterical Glenn Beck-type panic as it comes up. When each proves to be unfounded, he simply rolls it into the next one. The result is a lifelong narrative of intricately weaved Mayan Calendars with Bird Flu that trigger a demolition on 7 World Trade Center. In the run-up to Y2K, we stocked up several hundred cans of food, along with knives, ropes, tents, mason jars, vinegars, oils, fire-starters and maps. When nothing happened, he shrugged his shoulders, and we ate more canned food for the next few years.
Now: The economy crashed. Our country is in massive debt. The end might actually be near. And if it does: people like my dad will turn into those right wing militias everyone’s so scared of, the hipsters would start Fight Clubbing over each other’s vegetable gardens and everyone’s alcoholic uncle would end up warlord of two blocks in the suburbs.
WOMEN ARE CRAZY.
Before: Every once in a while my dad would catch me moping over a chick, hung up on my long-term codependent girlfriend problems. His reply was always the same: “You think she’s crazy? They’re ALL crazy. Get used to it.” Three girls later, I started to think he might be right. It’s like he knew these girls in advance — “Oh Hallie? She’s a cute thing. You’ve got a sexy little number there but she’s a lunatic, and if you know what’s good for you, you’d cool it.” “Cool it” was my dad’s universal advice for all situations, since I was constantly getting excited and pissed off and basically premature-ejaculating my way through life.
Now: He was right, and the same recipe of daddy issues, low self-esteem and toxic clinginess seems to be the genetic make-up of every girl I’ve ever dated or hooked up with.
YOU’LL BE FINE IF YOU STOP COMPLAINING AND GO TO WORK.
Before: By freshman year of (community) college, my interests had basically narrowed to smoking heroin and looking up song lyrics on Google. Sure, I’ve had jobs since I was 16, but I gave them only obligatory attention and spent my free time doing stuff that was really important, like going to CoinStar and watching reruns. Pulling one past my dad is impossible. Since he’s “Quantum Sensitive” (his term), he was constantly hounding me to “Do something! Write a story. Mow the lawn. Clean your room. Stop fumbling around, Paul!” “Fumbling around” was his preferred term for everyone not working 60 hours a week in the automotive industry. He tried to teach me how to do things, like solder wires and change my brakes, but I was more interested in hating myself and chain-smoking, so I fumbled my way through the next few years.
Now: It took half a summer in rehab and my first full-time job to realize: “DAD WAS RIGHT…. AGAIN.” Turns out, paying your own bills is awesome and working constantly helps you numb how uncomfortable life is.