Welcome to my blog! In general, this will be about how my father’s advice and bad jokes have helped me to thrive in college and get through life. Maybe they’ll help you too! You might see things in here that are not typically school sanctioned, but I try to be honest about UMass because you readers deserve to know what you’re getting into. That includes both the bad and the beautiful.
Also, at the end of each blog, I'll post a "Song of the Week" with a link to YouTube included. Enjoy the wisdom of my old man and my bizarre music tastes!
Enter The Goat
My father has been calling himself an old goat for as long as I can remember. I don’t know if he was self-conscious about his age or if he simply thought that it was funny, which it was. Try as he might to be relatable though, my father and I have always been a little awkward around each other. I didn’t know if or when I was supposed to hug or kiss him and, it occurred to me when I was about fourteen, he didn’t know either.
Also, well, we’re guys. We don’t really go in for mushy declarations of devotion.
When I took a gap year in England, my father began to write weekly e-mails to me, continuing a practice that he had begun while he was in college during the Ice Age. Instead of writing letters to his parents a couple of states over, he typed e-mails to me across three thousand miles of ocean. We talked about everything from his rebuilding our house, to my schoolwork, to how we’re convinced that the squirrels are mocking us. We shared in each other’s triumphs and sorrows in a way that we never had before. When I finally came home, to me it was as if he were a different, more complete and open person.
During a meteor shower this August, my father and I stood watching the pieces of space flare across the sky and die. With no sounds but the waves, conversation, and our occasional exclamations, I finally felt comfortable enough to say something that I had felt for quite some time: I told him that I thought he was a great guy, that I owed him for who I was and what I had accomplished and that I could never repay him for raising me. It was like all of the times that I had hugged my mother and said “I love you” over the years, but had failed to say to him, compressed into one night under burning stars.
So we write each other still. There’s no consistency to our letters, and at the end of each I try to switch up my farewell. Perhaps I’ll say
"See ya around!"
-The Insufferable Ingrate.
Yet he always ends his letters the same way: “Love, The Old Man.” I don’t know if it’s deliberate or if it’s just that he’s a stubborn old goat, but this simple ending reflects our relationship.
He loves me and I can always count on that. Our situations may change and our projects may consume us, but he is always there for me. It took time apart and these letters for me to truly understand and feel that.
So if there’s one thing that I want you readers to take from this, it’s that no matter if you’re looking at schools, if you’re a college Freshman, or if you’ve been on your own for a few years now, you can always find someone to stand by you. It’s not too late to tell your family that you love them. Perhaps you should send them a letter to break the ice. Maybe in a few weeks you’ll find yourself saying things you’d never considered. Perhaps a friend of yours has more to tell you than you’d thought. Maybe it’s time to Skype with your uncle or your high-school ex.
No matter where you are, there is someone who wants to share in who you are and what you’ve done and, perhaps, you can be that person for someone else.
* * *
All right. I’ve done my tribute. I hope that this helps a few of you to get through mid-terms! Take some time to relax and stay tuned for less serious stuff next week!
Song of the Week: I seem to have a soundtrack. I’m always walking around with some song or another playing in my head. Usually it suits my mood, sometimes I’m enamored with a song and can’t stop singing it for days on end. So I figured, why not infect my readers’ minds with either a song that suits the blog or whatever has been looping between my ears for the past few days?
Enjoy the First Installment: “Not Quite Paradise” by Bliss 66. Found this song while watching an old animated film called “Titan A.E.” It’s sci-fi much in the tradition of Star Wars except with poorer animation, better acting, and Matt Damon. Can’t go wrong with Matt Damon, right?