2008-03-02

MY DAD IS A METALHEAD

People that know me well enough, have heard a story or two about the character that is my dad. I originally posted this in a dad thread on the Loc board, but since you probably missed that, here you go.

Let's start with my dads' appearance. He is a large, built man with a huge gut, a big black beard, and a long black greasy ponytail halfway down his back. He is missing two front teeth. He only wears flannels, ripped jeans, and boots. When his jeans rip too much he glues them back together with industrial glue. He actually looks alot like Earthquake, but dressed like a hick biker.

The funny thing is that my dad was once a total nerd. As a young man he wore thick rimmed glasses, studied Latin, and excelled at math. Then the '70s rolled around and his mind was corrupted by hard rock music, and probably pot. He grew out his hair and beard and soon was known to his highschool peers as "Jesus". He grew rebellious, got into Sabbath, became a total slacker after graduating, and eventually got a job as a city worker (the ultimate slacker job). Though he was a smart man, he hung out with highschool dropouts and other hard rockers from work.

Fast forward to the '80s. He married a hippie chick and had two sons. He had upgraded himself to driving city garbage trucks. He had two interests: heavy metal and engines. His best friends were dudes from work who were even trashier looking than him. All of them had beards, long hair, and dressed in army attire. They all went to metal concerts together. One of them was known for getting so wasted, that the only way to remember what he had to eat the day before was by burping, and then smelling it (I witnessed this a few times). Another of his classic stories is of when he drunkely kicked down a bathroom door and picked a guy right off the toilet with his pants down, because he had to take a leak. Anyway, when these guys visited, many a camo painted pick-up truck would be parked on our lawn, with the rebel flag in the back windows. My dad however drove a Mini Cooper, which was his passion. His other group of friends were nerdier types of metalheads who were into Mini Coopers and lived with their moms. They would come over with stacks of "Mini Club" magazines and watch "The Italian Job" (the original) endlessly.

My dad had a huge collection of records and tapes. As a result, when asked what my fave band was in school when I was 5, my answer was "Iron Maiden". Speaking of school, you know when your parents come to school meetings? Yea. Lots of fun for me. One kid made a comment about my dad once and I stabbed him with a pen until he bled.

From when I was 7 to when I was 10, he used to take the family out to a hard rock bar called "The Witch" where bikers hung out. My brother and I would sit at the bar and request songs, or we would draw on their blackboard (the early roots of spoiler art). The owner sang in a band called Ambush who I saw live at the Witch when I was around 7. I still have their "suck you into heavy metal" demo. My mom made me a jeans jacket with a Whitesnake backpatch to wear to the bar. My whole family had jean jackets and long hair. When I was a kid everyone had buzzcuts, and I had a beatle-bowl. Unfortunately The Witch was burned down, most likely by rival bike gangs.

Most of my dad's free time was spent working on Mini Coopers with his buddies. He always bought them for dirt cheap (around $100) to fix them up and sell them. He drove the really shitty ones himself. He always left the keys in his car because they were too fucked up to steal. Many times when he went to drop me off somewhere he'd say stuff like "we gotta take a longer route because this one doesn't turn to the left too good". Most of them he fixed so they ran on some kind of illegal cheap gasoline. He never had insurance on them either since that cost more than the actual car. He got in a few mild car crashes but always fled the scene. His cars were always parked on the front lawn because our garage (and the shabby wood shack behind it) was stuffed with engine parts.

One time someone actually tried to break into his garage. Luckily my dad was still up watching soft porn and went out and hit the guy with a huge wrench. He somehow escaped but my dads' precious car parts were unharmed.

Whenever my friends came over, he would sit next to them, then slap them really hard on the leg and say "HOW ARE YAAAARGHH!". He would always fart and burp extra loud when I had company. When we played Mortal Kombat, when you turned it on the screen said something that looked a little bit like it spelled "sepultura" (not really though) so every single time we played he'd say "WHAT? SEPULTURA?!". If my friends stayed over for dinner, him or my brother would turn to them, burp in their face and then blow the stench in their face while they ate. I still like to do that one myself from time to time. I guess some things run in the family no matter what.

After many years of driving a garbage truck he was given a desk job at the city workers office. When I say deskjob I mean sitting at a table in a small room surrounded by passing bulldozers. Somehow he became interested in politics around this time. He worked for some guy who eventually became the mayor. He was then offered a fancy office job working for the mayor, but he did request that my dad wore 'appropriate clothing' and maybe shortened his hair a bit. They didn't mean wear a suit, they basically meant wear jeans without holes. My dad agreed. The next day he went to the office wearing a metal t-shirt with spaghetti sauce stains, ripped jeans, and dirty boots. He was fired.

I was in my teens and slowly started to understand my dad. He liked to 'stick it to the man'. He wanted to be young and careless. I also started to notice we were dirt poor and he was getting fired over not getting to wear King Diamond shirts to work. His being a metalhead/ rebel/ scumbag didn't go too well with good parenting, and I started to get pissed at him alot, being an angry teenager and all. My brother had followed in his footsteps as a metalhead and car fanatic. I was a metalhead but I hated cars, so eventually I got into hardcore, straight edge, cut off my long hair and bummed out my dad and brother thoroughly. My parents got divorced when I was 18, and I haven't seen him since. When I think about him now, I think that he might have been my hero if he hadn't been my dad.

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

Hello! I am a freelance writer seeking subjects to interview for an article about the effects of later-life divorce on adult children. I am specifically looking for young women and men currently in their 20s or 30s whose parents divorced when they were between the ages of 18-22 (ie-while they were in college). Research shows that late-life divorce is on the rise, and as a result more young people will find themselves coping with their parents' divorce while also going through additional trials, including their first serious relationships and the independence of college. If you would like to be interviewed for my story, please respond. I would only use first names and could even change that if you would prefer. When my article is complete, I plan on pitching it to psychological magazines as well as publications aimed at college students. As someone whose parents divorced when I was a junior in college, I am sensitive to the emotional implications of this topic. I am a capable and enthusiastic writer and I look forward to beginning work on this piece. If you respond I will send you the questionnaire I have prepared; if not, I will not contact you again. Thank you for your time!

Jennifer
jennifermcdani@gmail.com

Forbidden Eye said...

Hi, I'm wondering if you could make a copy of that Ambush demo (Suck You into Heavy Metal); I'm writing a book covering every known 1980s metal demo and I can't find it anywhere. I'd really appreciate it!

Thanks,
Bob Plante
Albany, NY

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