There is no way to know where, or if, my father is now.
place I know he is for sure: my head. There he is, doing his
"hocus-pocus-dominocus" trick for my nephew Mitch.
There he is in the
basement of a halfway house for women where he volunteered, under a maze
of leaking pipes, fixing them like a magician.
There he is, pulling me
out of the hole I stepped in at the beach just as a wave went over my
There he is, sitting on the floor, his back
against a wall, eating a sack lunch in a vacant apartment he owned and
There he is...walking my sister down the aisle at her
wedding in the necktie she probably gave him for Father's Day a decade
before. In his hospital bed, taking two long, last breaths. Handing my
toddler sister baby chicks to play with. Applauding at my high school
plays. Cheering at track meets. Wearing a tattered old Fedora against
the rain. Jogging in place in the living room to rebuild his stamina
after heart surgery.
There he is...diving in our
frigid pool in the morning in order to "wake up." Choking back a sob
when Edith Bunker died in "All in the Family." Riding our horse Billy,
holding the reins with one hand like he was born to it. Wearing his "fun
hat" (without which the fun simply could not begin) by the front gates of Buckingham Palace. Throwing my sister and me a football in the park
during a road trip lunch stop.
There he is...chowing
down on his favorite, a "chili size" at the local diner. Swimming out
past the waves at Corona Del Mar. Pretending to like the annual Father's
Day tie. Waking up in a sleeping bag next to me under a morning sky.
Laying a new brick walkway to the house. Climbing trees to prune the
There he is...riding on a Fourth of July
float. Carving the Thanksgiving turkey and sampling it "for quality
control." Walking the ancient Roman walls in York. Backpacking and
camping out in the mountain chill and the desert heat with me and my Boy
Scouts. Posing for family pictures with his six sisters and his
brother. Laughing. Always laughing, big. Laughing to shake the roof off.
Forgive me, Dad, I was wrong. I know exactly where you are. Happy
June is the month for weddings, traditionally, I think because people
want to be married before Independence Day rolls around, rendering
their newfound lack of independence ironic.
I picked up a bridal
magazine recently out of morbid curiosity, to see what they are trying
to sell the unsuspecting brides of the 21st Century. The magazine was
titled "BLI$$," or something to that effect.
bridal magazine, much like predicting the winner of "America's Next Top
Model," is not something a straight man should ever do.
If space aliens
came down from the sky and looked through a bridal magazine, they would
come to the conclusion that the women of our species cannot stand
upright without dramatically leaning against something for support.
would also surmise that women's legs must each be about five feet
thick, considering the amount of poofy cloth required to cover them.
days of ads with a pretty bride posing in a pretty dress are gone, if
they ever existed. Now the typical ad shows a young woman, a hand held
to her head as if she has just been startled, while trying on a $3000
wedding gown, by a bull moose.
The obvious conclusion, of course, is
that this is an Alaskan bridal shop.
Another ad shows a
bride striking a pose before an open window with a sheen of sweat on
her chest, as if this danged heat is about to drive her to jump.
another has a pair of dejected-looking waifs with purposely slumped
shoulders as if to express, "Yes, I am getting married today, but I am
untraditional, and my new husband will need to understand that I am
tired of fighting gravity."
Aliens would assume that
brides are an unusually hairy and pasty-faced species, judging by the
products being hyped. There is a "hydrating razor," "nude air foam" with
"aerated pigments" to cover up blemishes, and another type of goo to
help "unclog your pores" for the big day.
sell suits for men as well. In one, a lanky bestubbled hunk gazes into
the distance grimly and grips his pinky finger as if the fate of the
world depends on pinky pressure.
Or perhaps he is engaged to
sweaty-woman. Perhaps his nervous gesture is purely concern for her
I imagine a whole universe in which these models scowl and
slump into and out of relationships. Befoamed. Hydrated. Unclogged. And
that is when I realized I had to put the magazine down and walk away.
Tuesday Venus will visibly pass between Earth and the sun, affecting your personal horoscope in the following surprising ways:
Aries—Your native impulsiveness will cause you to tear the welder's glasses off a friend's face this Tuesday so that you can watch Venus transit the sun. This will not end well.
Taurus—You can be stubborn, and that is a good trait to have this week, because all kinds of people are going to try to tell you that seeing Venus transit the sun is worth missing "Judge Judy." There is a name for these kinds of people—"wrong."
Gemini—Adaptability has always been your strong suit, but seeing a planet punk the sun like this is really going to freak you out. Soothe yourself by wooing a Sagittarius.
Cancer—Your ruling planet is the moon, and the moon is not a planet, but go with me here. The moon will be overshadowed by all the publicity Venus is getting this week, which will make you sad. Find a kookaburra. Laugh with him.
Leo—You are fiery, self-assured and charming. Nobody likes that. Shut up about yourself for just five seconds, strap on some goggles and watch Venus already. Sheesh.
Virgo—Humane and gentle, you are dedicated to serving. All those people out staring at the sun are going to be thirsty. Howzabout you set down that rescue dog and whip up some Arnold Palmers?
Libra—Venus is your ruling planet, so you are bound to be excited by all the press she is getting this week. But keep that even keel you are so proud of, and a new relationship is likely to blossom. Don't wear yellow.
Scorpio—There is always a lot happening under the surface with you, Scorpio. Do you mind if I call you Scorpio? Anyway, I would suggest skipping the Venus transit altogether and dealing with those termite-laden stairs of yours. Call it a hunch.
Sagittarius—A Gemini will try to make time with you on Tuesday, but don't fall for it. Your broad-minded nature may tempt you, but stand firm. I mean, like, a Gemini? Seriously?
Capricorn—You are serious-minded, yet your symbol is a goat? Hmm. Watch the Venus transit online. Avoid pillows.
Aquarius—You are shy and quiet, yet boisterous and eccentric. You love water and take lots of baths. I don't know where I'm going with this.
Pisces—Compassionate, intuitive; you will be too busy with your aquarium to even notice the Venus hubbub this week. You alone, among all peoples, are blessed.