With a Little Less Parental Support and Encouragement, I Could Have Been Somebody

I will never forgive my mother and father for not being abusive alcoholics.

Mine was a childhood of relentless nurturing and encouragement. I was never forgotten or picked up late by my parents. I was never told I’d amount to nothing or that it was highly unfortunate that I had ever been born. Not once was I beaten, bashed or even shoved by my father. I never felt the sting of a belt or the burn of the lit end of a cigar or cigarette. My mother never came home drunk with a strange man and proceeded to have relations with him. My mother never even did so with my father.

She was too busy helping me with my homework. Or sticking my report card on our refrigerator door. Or cooking me wholesome dinners. Or packing my lunch. Or washing my little league uniform. Or telling me that whatever 13 year-old girl had broken my heart that week wasn’t good enough for me.

At the time, I didn’t mind having such an “ideal” upbringing. But oh how I now wish that my father could have been possessed by Johnny Walker and plagued by fits of displaced aggression back when I was a teenager. The fact that I was denied any sort of mistreatment growing up has greatly hindered my chances of becoming a brilliant poet or novelist.

Little did my father or I know that each time he played catch with me, took me fishing or read me a bedtime story, he was destroying my future. The fact that he was doing so unwittingly is no excuse. He was my father, and fathers need to make their sons tough and do whatever it takes to unleash their true potential. With my scrawny stature, whiny nature and inability to shut the hell up as a child, my father had to have known I was destined to be a writer. But he did little to help me achieve my destiny, and he will have to live with that for the rest of his life. And it will be a long life, since the old bastard has never abused alcohol, cigarettes or drugs.

Now, I’m not saying that mine was a childhood completely free of strife with my parents. For instance, I will never forget the time my mother would not buy me the top-of-the line $250 kevlar tennis racket I had my heart set on when I was 12, and instead made me settle for a mere $180 kevlar tennis racket. The resulting inner fury and rage I experienced, however, was too manageable and short-lived to have any lasting impact on my artistic creativity and ingenuity as an adult.

I experienced a slightly stronger spark when my mother and father refused to let me drive down with friends to Senior Week at the beach when I was a high school sophomore. That incident begat a bitterness and resentment that lasted weeks, and resulted in a rather inspired essay I wrote soon thereafter about how my parents, like, totally sucked. But the essay was never published. In fact, I tore it up after my dad bought himself a brand new red Camaro for his 50th birthday. I realized he needed to be pitied, not despised.

So, yes, I did suffer some emotional abuse and quite a few injustices at the hands of my parents during my adolescence, but, unfortunately, it was nowhere near enough to put me over the edge artistically. If I had the opportunity to relive my “tween” and teen years, I would exhibit a such a level of insubordinate and rebellious behavior that my parents would have no other choice but to knock me around and issue insults and threats that, with any luck, would provide me with the deep emotional scarring needed to produce multiple works of true literary merit.

If only my father had served in Nam and become physiologically dependent on opium. If only my mother had been frequently hit in the head so hard by my grandfather that it caused her to exhibit schizophrenic tendencies as an adult; then maybe, just maybe, you wouldn’t be reading the self-obsessed grievances of a writer you’ve never heard of, but rather a chapter from the critically acclaimed autobiography of an astonishingly innovative Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning man of letters.

Damn you, mom and dad. Damn you both to hell. TC mark

image – Shutterstock


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  • Anonymous

    I want to slap this on everyone who yells at a writer for being “privileged” as if they can’t possibly ever create anything worthwhile unless they were beaten. Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612928768 Samie Rose

    This was adorable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1123705458 Drew Shackleford

    First world problems.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1108860010 Katie LaColo M. Gioia

    HAHAHAHAHAHA this is great.

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    Good job.  It was a welcome change from what I’m usually reading on here.

  • Len Yeh

    Ba blam. Like.

  • Anonymous

    Greg, I love you. 

  • http://raymondthimmes.com/ Raymond Thimmes

    Green grass is over there. Run, quick! Remember what we didn’t have!

  • Estelle

    Well woopie do you lucky sod. (excuse me I’m just bitter) 

  • https://twitter.com/iamthepuddles Jordana Bevan

    ugh story of my life. lol!!1

  • loo

    this is actually so horribly written oh my god i can’t even i can’t even

    • Greg

      I see what you mean, Loo. What was I thinking capitalizing letters and using commas and periods throughout the entire piece?   

      • loo

        worrisome very worrisome. you are truly a harbinger of the end my friend

      • loo

        “Greg Levin is the guy your mother warned you about, a danger to himself and to others, a manic man on a mission, a lover of all people who don’t suck, a devout secular humanist, a freestyle rapper, and, even more worrisome, a writer.” it seems i’ve hit the nail on the head so to speak

      • Aaron

        I feel like you’d really like The Onion.

  • asdf

    Usually children and teenagers suffering from the types of parental situations you wrote about are busy raising themselves and their siblings, not exactly pouring their emotions out with utmost poignancy.  Often times they continue the trend into their adulthood and recreate their past even on their own children, never even having the time for the taste of creative writing.  I’m glad this is tagged j/k.

  • Edmve4567

    couldnt be further from the truth

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=772944934 Omar Fotihi

    Shut the hell up, privileged
    kid and still whining. Don’t blame it on your perfect parents but on
    your lazy ass. If you wanted to succeed you would have done so with all
    that support, actually it’s a lot easier. I have the experiences you
    wished to have and NO it doesn’t make a man out of you. The only thing
    that does is yourself.

    • alabama

      Um, hi, it was a joke. Dweeb.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=772944934 Omar Fotihi

    Shut the hell up, privileged
    kid and still whining. Don’t blame it on your perfect parents but on
    your lazy ass. If you wanted to succeed you would have done so with all
    that support, actually it’s a lot easier. I have the experiences you
    wished to have and NO it doesn’t make a man out of you. The only thing
    that does is yourself.

    • Greg

      Settle down, junior. It’s called satire. And self-deprecation. It’s not an actual written attack on my parents. Try reading it again with your big-boy pants on.

  • likerain

    What is it with writers who write about being writers more than they actually write?

  • http://twitter.com/niceflying Emma

    Maybe you could be a well-adjusted accountant.

  • ethan

    This is fucking disgusting. There are so many people (including myself) who would give an arm and a leg to have the kind of privilege you did. Suck it up and be grateful for what you have, asshole.

    • Greg

      I’m glad I was able to help you with your much-needed catharsis. Hate to see people throw their money away on therapy. That said, I recommend you go back on your meds.  

  • flog

    wtf? is this supposed to be good.

    • Greg

      No, silly, it’s not supposed to be good. I save the good stuff for paid writing gigs. Pieces like this one are aimed at all the frat boys minoring in English who go into fighting mode when they read something contentious.

  • beatrice

    Not funny, even when read as satire. I would have liked your parents but anyways, I know a friend of mine who writes brilliantly but had a perfect childhood so yea

    • Greg

      You had me until you attempted that second sentence.

      • beatrice

        haha. Well, he’s screwed up too. Anybody can be screwed even with amazing parents.

  • Xxw

    If you’ve been writing for over 15 years and this is the funniest “satire” you can come up with it’s probably time to pack it in, dude

    • Greg

      That’s all I needed to hear.  I’m taking your advice and currently seeking a day-trading job on craigslist.


  • Alcian

    I liked your come back witty lines to your critics the best. You cracked me up!

  • AJ

    Oh my god people, He’s funny and he’s fucking with us. He’s looking in the mirror and laughing at himself and I applaud him. Knock the chips off your shoulders, I had awful parents and I loves this!

  • Neil Brooks

    It’s not only that. Once you have your own kids, the cycle will continue. They’ll grow up in your image and become well-adjusted adults with a possible penchant for tongue-in-cheek.

    At some point in time, your son or daughter will post on Facebook v5.7 from their Apple iPad11 (iTelekenesis version) and complain that they’re bored.

    I hope you’re proud of yourself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612928768 Samie Rose

    Your comment responses to the critics were almost as good as the piece itself.

    I forwarded this in an e-mail to my own parents and asked them, “Why have you done this to me?”

    They both responded with smiley and/or winky face emoticons.

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