Despite such madness, we were brought up to believe that daddy was the wrong parent. We were told he was a flake and a pothead and someone who lived in his own head and didn’t have much interest or talent in fatherhood. All of these things were true, but not to the extent that we were led to believe, and I later found out that his most outrageous and often-repeated stories about daddy – like how he cheated on her and how he was so incompetent with the money she would give him to go downtown and pay the electric bill and he would come back two hours later with a case full of new albums – these were things mom had done. (A few months before mom died, we were talking in the nursing home, and she blurted out, “He slept with everything that moved.” I said, “Dad told me he didn’t hadn’t walked for years. on him ”, and she laughed and said,“ Well yeah, that’s right! ”) We were also told, on more than one occasion, that dad was wired, that he wasn’t able to love, that there was something wrong with him that kept him from being a good father, and that’s why he wasn’t much around. Looking back, I now know that things were a lot more complicated than that – and that, like those stories of dad cheating on mom and spending utility money on vinyl records, there are had a lot of screenings going on.
I got my first gray hair when I was 12. When I was 16, I had salt and pepper hair and my temples were turning white.
I took Bill’s last name in high school, in part to assure him and Mom that my allegiance was to them (“Whose bread I eat, I sing his praises,” proclaimed a calligraphic card. glued to the cork board above Bill’s desk). I certainly did it in part to hurt my dad for not being very present in my life. But I didn’t have the courage to tell him. He discovered it during a fundraiser for the family of a musician who died of a heart attack. He was one of the performers. I painted a commemorative portrait of the deceased. When it was unveiled, the guests realized that I had signed it “Matt Seitz” and took their breath away.
Dad got drunk at the bar.
Soon after, Genie called me up and told me, in so many words, that she was tired of dad and I not getting along when it was obvious to anyone with eyes and ears that we were. would be “thick as thieves” if we could just talk to you honestly.
I was brought back to be addressed so intimately. I didn’t have a lot of experience with Genie. Jeremy had started spending time there a few years earlier, when I was in college and still in high school, but neither of us had spent much time at his house because it wasn’t. was not that kind of parent-child. relationship. I liked Genie a lot from the very beginning, although I didn’t know her very well, because of the way dad acted once they got together. Dad was a ladies’ man who had a lot of girlfriends, one after the other, in quick succession. It was neither a corpse nor a wolf. He was just handsome and talented and single and a jazz musician. It was the 1970s. He had a waterbed. Dad met Genie in 1978 and they became exclusive soon after because Genie told him she didn’t want to share it with anyone else.