THE DEAD DAD’S CLUB
Many of my friends and I have dead dads. There were so many of us back in Chicago that, as a joke, we started The Dead Dads Club. We’d even sing ala Fred Schnieder from the B52’s, “Everybody will join…The Dead Dads Club!”
On Father’s Day we made it a tradition to go out and get shit faced. It wasn’t a somber event. It was just a dumb reason for all of us to go out and get loaded.
One Father’s Day my friend Kevin and I were the last two standing. The bar was closing up, and we stepped outside and started saying our goodbyes. Before we parted ways, we threw a few dead dad jokes at one another.
“Be safe on your way home, Kevin.”
“Too bad your Dad wasn’t safe with that gun, Dwyer. Maybe he’d still be with us.”
“Hey, Kevin I can always punch you in the face to remind you what it’s like to have your dad around.”
We laughed and then stumbled our separate ways towards home.
At the time I lived in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. Back in the day, it was filled with corner crack dealers, junkies, and bloated, unattractive, drugged-up hookers, and I loved it.
I cut down a side street towards my apartment and out of a very dark doorway stumbled a hooker. She’s whacked out on smack and, in a weak Billie Holiday heroine voice, she said, “Happy Father’s Day.”
I stopped and blurted out, “I don’t have a dad. He’s dead.” To which she responded, “So is mine. Want a blow job?”
A silence fell between us. Within a second I had a thousand thoughts of how everything in our lives has led us this moment. How if our fathers were alive, who in the hell knows if we’d be at this moment. We could have totally different lives. Then my drunken mind thinks, perhaps I should get this blow job. We are two careening souls wandering the streets of Chicago. We should bond over the death of our fathers.
Then reality taps my shoulder and whispers, “Um, it’s a hooker, dude. AIDS ring a bell? How ‘bout chick with dick? Best case scenario, you leave here with crabs.” I weave back and forth and say, “Maybe next time.” I then continued my stumble to my dank apartment.
Oddly I think of that hooker now and again. I wonder if she ever got off the streets or if she is still out there giving fellatio to strange men. I also wonder what if that line was just a marketing plea and she totally had a father. Maybe she has a pat line for every holiday. “Happy Fourth of July.” “I don’t celebrate the Fourth. I’m Apache.” “Me too. Wanna…”
I guess it doesn’t matter. The strange thing is every Father’s Day I remember her before I remember my dad.
11 months ago
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