And Now For Something Completely F***ed

My Dad is not my biological father.

Yup.  News to me too.  And hot news; as of this writing, I haven’t even talked to my Mom about it yet, and it hasn’t been 24 hours since I found out.  I found out over a few beers with my cousin on my last night in San Francisco, my life literally re-defined by fermented oats served cold by a waitress with nose jewelry named Miranda.

For someone who’s always struggled to identify himself, this news is both completely pedestrian and entirely shattering.  OF COURSE I wasn’t actually the offspring of that asshole who, even outside of this particular fabrication, lied to me for 27 years and then refused to swallow his pride and apologize for it (which was my requirement in order to ever speak to him again-which I haven’t done for 2 years).  It makes so much sense.  I don’t look like him.  I’m not shaped like him.  My skin doesn’t burn like his.  My hair curls when it’s long.  My palate wasn’t cleft.  Clearly I’m not a fiber in his fabric.  Duh.

But wait a tick.  If I’m not actually of his ilk, then there’s SO MUCH SHIT I don’t have to worry about any more.  I’m not genetically programmed to be as unhappy and angry as he was.  I’m not at hereditary risk for nerve damage, lung cancer, breast cancer, or becoming a pathological liar.  I won’t get addicted to pain & then drown myself in 30 years of narcotics and Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi.  His only (yet significant) impact on my existence was mere Nurture.

Nurture!  What a word.  I’d prefer inculcation or indoctrination for his particular brand of Terrible.  He’s a Ph. D. in Bullshit & Up-Fuckery.  And those are all things that, with time & some introspection, I can overcome.

I can be whoever the hell I want.  He has ZERO hold over me.

Do you get how significant & freeing that is?  I’m completely pardoned from my worries about repeating his mistakes, about feeling unable to control the risk of turning into someone that can literally turn the atmosphere of a birthday party into that of a funeral home without saying a word, about being obligated in any way to feel some sort of emotion for his plight.  Not my f***ing problems.

Not.  My.  F***ing.  Problems.

I don’t know anything about who my real father is, but according to my cousin, my sister & I are products of in-vitro fertilization by the same sperm donor from the same sperm bank.  My mom is actually my mom, as she did actually carry both of us.  It’s entirely possible that this guy-let’s call him Spanky to be glib-is also a ginormously horrible human being.  It’s also possible that he’s a sultan somewhere in one of those –istan countries.  In fact, as the product of his genetic material, the only thing I’m pretty certain he ISN’T is an underwear model.

Of course my world didn’t just immediately turn into sunshine sex & apple pie.  I still have to deal with the fact that at least four other people in the world have known this for quite some time & made continuous, repetitive choices not to share it with me.  I still have to deal with getting an explanation out of my mother – how this came about, her reasoning for not letting us know, how she sacrificed all of us for so long by staying with a husband with such a poisonous worldview – and figure out how to do it so that she understands that I’m actually just fine & just want to know the god**mn truth for the first time in 29 years.

And of course I have to decide whether or not I want to know Spanky’s actual identity.  If this were medieval times (or a sci-fi/fantasy genre story), I could be rightful heir to his legacy, potentially a primogenitor beneficiary of some oil field or rare book collection or ketchup recipe or Terabithia’s only unicorn stud farm.  But it’s 2010 and the likelihood of even being able to find out anything about the guy is miniscule, and I’m sure the last thing he would welcome (if I could find him) is to be confronted by the output of probably an unremarkable and all-too-brief masturbatory experience.  It would probably ruin his weekend.

I’ve told my wife, my sister, my boss, and my therapist.  I’ve also told you and the four other people who will read my blog before this posting moves farther down into the archives & no longer shows up on the first page, relegated to the thousands of “second layer” pages, like headstones with epitaphs of 1s and 0s.

As I work through this and there are further developments, I’ll come back & record it all here, of course.

They say comedy can be a sweet-smelling excrement of pain.  I may now be the funniest asshole in the world.

Except for Daniel Tosh.  That guy’s hilarious.

Cloud, Meet Silver Lining

I know I talk a lot about being depressed because I work in Corporate America, because I don’t work for myself, because I squander creativity on decorating my cube with funny pictures. But it should still be said (if I already said it, it’s worth repeating) that I have the extreme fortune of really enjoying the people/team around me. Yes, they’re all quirky & have quirks that are occasionally more like murderous-rage-inducing idiosynchrosies. But JayCee, let’s be real – they put up with me as much as I put up with them. I sing, I burp, I crop-dust (on occasion), my language leans more toward Sailor than Salesmen, and I don’t react well when someone surprises me with a request or silly question. … Makes you really excited to work with me some day, doesn’t it? But anyway, for these guys, it’s definitely tit for tat on the idiosynchrosy scales. But we’re all good people, and we’re all here to do a job, and more & more, we’re doing that job as a team.

Part of this environment is directly related to my boss, who has the uncanny ability to keep us all engaged, informed, and excited about what everyone’s doing. Now, she’s no Shai Agassi , so this does actually take a lot of effort on her part, but it pays off. I’m more fully engaged in this role now than I ever remember being (short of my stint at Corporate in New Brunny, where, again, I had the extreme pleasure of working with a tight-knit group of people who shared responsibilty, recognition, and a similar sense of humor). We’re all more engaged in our mission because of the way she leads us.

So here’s the bad news: she’s got a sick mother & a six-year-old girl. Sick Mother was primary caretaker of Six-Year-Old Girl. Now, my boss is the person responsible for both of them. So she’s left us for the time being, with a very hazy timeline of a possible return. She left so quickly, it actually made a sucking sound as the huge hole ripped open a vacuum of emotional intelligence & professional capability. My whole team’s in a bit of shock from it, but we muscle through as best we can. My boss’ boss, our veep, is actually now severely under the weather after the Labor Day weekend. (Note: I’m becoming more & more convinced of the Stress-Relax-SICKNESS syndrome – you stress yourself out for more than a week, then you take some time to actually relax & let go of that, your adrenaline levels fall, your system slows down, and the immune system takes a back seat to the body’s need to repair your mind & your ticker from all the go-go-go, and you get a knock-knock from Mr. Rhino Virus.) So he’s working from home in the middle of one of our busiest periods yet. Don’t blame him for trying to keep us all from catching it, but it’s just an unfortunate situation.

This is all just an unfortunate situation, but I needed to take the opportunity to recognize that, while it sucks that Boss Lady is gone, she built a great team & we’re still reaping the benefits of the strong fibers of teamwork she wove together during her 10 months here. She began a PROCESS of building a network of capable people, and that investment, that process, is continuing on even in her absence. (Think the term here is legacy.) We miss her, and we wish Sick Mother full recovery, and when that happens, we hope Boss Lady comes back, but it’s a relief to see that we didn’t just fall apart, that the vacuum she left didn’t turn into a black hole of productivity. That I still like my job, enjoy my team, and am engaged when I’m in the office. If Boss Lady never does come back, at least her legacy is a positive one. That’s an achievement I’d like to put on my résumé as well.