Sunday, August 24, 2008

In the Name of the Fathers

We all have questions that we do not want answered. There are a myriad of answers as to why, but most revolve around fear of one sort or another. In the absence of truth, we construct fables to masquerade as answers, and we even allow ourselves to buy into the folly. This is true for all of us, and for each of us. The biggest question, of course, is 'Why are we here'?

I do not pretend to know the answer. I do have my own, but I believe that our answers can all be different, yet coexist in a comity of individuals (M.W. word of the day; does not really apply here, but I like its meaning). I believe that we exist to play. For me, it is the only thing that makes sense. All the wonder of the universe exists in play, yet it is the one human attribute that we consistently deny to ourselves. I mean, think about it. If we were really meant to understand the nature of god, or births or finalities, beginnings and ends, the finite and the infinite, don't you think we would have figured it out by now. Men and women much smarter than I have tried, yet are always left with an oysterless pearl, pretty but without nourishment or substance. No, it is not meant to be. And play is the one thing we inherently do understand. We know how to play, and to bathe in the joy of it, as soon as we are born.

I often wonder, even at this stage of my life, why my father would fetch us from the playground wearing only his boxer shorts. My father was not an immodest man. He was a good man, who greeted all who came into his space, with humor and laughter. He was a good man who treated everyone with respect and dignity. I still see him as the strongest man I ever met, carrying sleeper sofas to the third deck alone. He saved a man from drowning once, returning the favor of surviving the sinking of the destroyer escort on which he served during the second World War. All kids were his to adopt, welcoming the stragglers and untended into his life. I don't mean to imply that he didn't have his faults. He was stubborn. He could be extremely impatient. He could even be cruel and self indulgent. But always, at every moment, a smile stood at the ready beside a battalion of goofy jokes. He left me his stubborn, he left my brother his goofy, and he left a lasting joy in all who knew him.

My father gave me laughter, but it was my grandfather who gave me magic. His magic was wrapped in dark shuls and Torah. The religious magic died in me when he died, but the good magic, the kind magic stayed with me. He taught me about the mystery of life, how it should be revered, and how it should be folded into gentle hands. My grandfather taught me to search for answers, and that happiness came from the seeking, not the finding. He taught me to wrap myself in loving; in a tallis or a blanket, it made no difference. He gave me the start of a journey.

Surely, if god did indeed create the world, there was a fair amount of mirth invoked. He created a playground for us, a huge combination of water park and toboggan run. He left us to sink or swim, to stand or slide, laugh or cry, live and die. If god didn't want us to paint, he would have left off the colors of the rainbow; if he didn't want us to sculpt he never would have given us clay; if he didn't want us to supply our own beauty and mirth, he would have withheld the gift of imagination. No, if god didn't want us to play, he never would have given us a perfect world in which to do it. And if god wanted us to have the answers, he never would have thrown us the apple. If god created us in his likeness, he surely gave us the gifts of love and laughter. If we are god's children, then children we should be.

We might dig a hole when we play, but it will leave no scar. We may light a fire, but it will warm, not burn. We may fight or disagree when we play, but laughter will follow quickly on the heels of tears. We might build roller coasters, but we can reuse the k'nex later. We may throw, or bounce, or jump, or wrestle, but we will not break. Children are resilient, and always want to play the day after.

We forgot how to play when we forgot that finding answers is not the important thing. Looking for them is what counts. When we stopped playing, the world skewed on its axis, about half a bumble off plumb. It's not too late to fix it. Let's make a tilt-a-whirl, or better yet, let's throw on some boxer shorts and go get the kids.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

fallen angel- it is jenna
no answer for me or maybe i don't care for the answer.
you write about fathers. i have one. he went away. then one got picked. and then another.
i play fallen angel, i play hide and seek.
and the beautiul god world. i know of it.
i want your father to come and get me wearing his boxers. that is the answer. until then.
i will play hide and seek. i am a good hider.

jenna

Gail said...

Hey F A,
I love the references to your father.
I felt good when I was him.
My Dad's motto? "
If every day I don't make someone laugh, then the day doesn't count"

And play? When my aunt lived with us, he would hide her false teeth in her shoes or other odd places.

He loved to "short sheet" the bed whenever we had guests.

He would point to his upper arm while saying, "wanna see where the horse bit me?" (guys only), and when the guy got close enough he would 'grab them' you know where!! hysterical.

He, like your Dad, opened his home and heart to all.He was strong and protective and a real "man's man"!

Play? He taught me how to pitch softball. I was so fast that no one could get a hit off of my pitches. We played/practiced every evening. I broke more back windows of our house.!!

I broke my leg falling off a barn roof. Isn't that where all kids ate lunch on a Saturday? :-) I still played soft ball though. As long as I made it to first base I could have a 'runner'. And that is how I got my nic-name - "GIMPY", my Dad said I gimped not limped. I had a rubber ball on the bottom of my cast so I could walk/run with it.


My Dad, like yours had his faults too. He drank way too much and he was a stickler for detail and being on time. He wasn't scary or anything, only hit me twice I can recall; once with his shoe and it left a shoe print on my ass. Amazing. Once with a belt and I, for the life of me, cannot remember what I did that pissed him off that much.
I learned about a strong work ethic from him and what a good neighbor really meant. I learned how a man should treat a woman. I miss him every day for over 20 years now.

And now, I/we play mostly by laughing at ourselves. I laugh really hard at body sounds. :-) We love practical jokes too and have had many laughs doing them.

We laugh a lot! A real lot!


and Jenna - Can you get out of the situation you elude to being in?

And F A - what's all the god reference from someone who is an admitted non-believer?

Love and play,
and to the kid in all of us I remain,
Gail "Gimpy"

Fallen Angel said...

Gail,

Leave jenna alone. We all have our own timetables. I'm just glad she likes it here.

As to your question, gods work in mysterious ways

Anonymous said...

fallen angel- jenna again

i had time. i could stay. i do like it here.
gail can ask whatever she wants.

the answer is no. to her question.

he wont be home. i will wait up for you.

jenna

Andy said...

And she/he would never have given us the ability to read and write. After all, what is the world without a 'comity' or 'clowny' every now and again.

Anonymous said...

fallen angel

it is jenna. lonely here for a time. i am used to alone. i like it better. safer that way.

i wrote you a poem.

invisible man with words
sometimes i can see him
i imagine what is good
if only i really could

a place to visit
where answers aren't forced
a place to be
no one here knows me

i can't be found
so no need to hide
still fear comes over
like the tide

jenna

P. E. Nolan said...

hey jenna
I know all about hide and seek
have been playing my entire life

One of my theme songs is from The King and I:
Whenever I feel afraid
I hold my head erect
and whistle a happy tune
so no one will suspect
I'm afraid.

I'm fucking terrified all the time. FA is a great bartender which may be why you've found something like a comfort zone.
Nice to meet you
T

Anonymous said...

T

nice to meet you
i am Jenna

i like the song. i like that you get it. get me.
fallen angel is comfort. he is invisible.
i hide in the image. and shadows.

my life is a show. for him.
no one sees or knows.
he offers me like a gift.
he is pain. he is power.
most men i know are.

i think you know what i am telling.
i think you know T


jenna

Anonymous said...

fallen angel sir
i have been here. i wrote a poem. did you hate it. now hate me.

i like T.

i waited one night. a long time.
no big deal. i wait well.

these next days he is close.
there are events. on the lawn.
he walks about. says i am his child.
no one knows i am not.
there is wealth and power.
food with names i cant say.
i drink fine wine.
eat food served by strangers.
flirt with his business partners.
dirty men who want to fuck me.
i have. i am a commodity.

i have missed you sir.
this is jenna

Fallen Angel said...

Hey Jenna,

I did not mean to ignore you, but you are confusing, or at least cryptic. Thank you for the poem. I am happy to go on answering unknown questions, but I do not know the answers to the questions you evoke. Even if I did, this is not the forum for such forays. You create an evil picture that makes no sense to me--an unknown universe--but, if I were you, and what you say is true, I would stop hiding and escape.

Anonymous said...

it is jenna

i am sorry fallen angel
i did not see this
i wrote on your other writing

i don't mean to be cryptic
i can't help the evil picture
it is what i know sir
and it is not unknown to you
or to anyone who is grown
all are aware of a world such as mine
i want to escape sir
i can't leave her behind
she is my mom and ill
i am 17
he pays for her care and health
your writings give me answers
i wont ask of you anymore
i promise sir
i promise

jenna

P. E. Nolan said...

Jenna - are you really 17?
There are options available to you that you may not be able to imagine because you are trapped. Being trapped by circumstances often causes people to get stuck inside their own heads and broken hearts.

I'm not going to blow sunshine up your ass and sing, "Tomorrow" from Little Orphan Annie. But I will say that there are people who that work with families of those who are sick. They may be able to provide an outlet that is more tangible than an old guy farting around on a blog in his spare time - and you can trust me on this one - that's all Fallen Angel is: A Big Old Fart. I mean that in the nicest possible way.

And you can trust me on this one, too: You are not nearly as small and powerless as you may feel sometimes.

The dirty old businessmen are a drag, though. Especially when they've been drinking and start whispering in your ear or rubbing your leg. Barf. They never ever go away, baby, but you'll get much more accomplished at telling them to fuck themselves.

And I'll tell all of y'all a secret - the first nasty drunk old businesman who wanted to fuck me was my grandfather. I'm telling because I want Jenna to know that you can grow up as strong and beautiful as the day you were born no matter how many fucked up bastards cross your path.

Tricia

Anonymous said...

tricia

it is jenna. i was sad about what your grandfather did.
i have grandfathers in my life.
tricia. i am almost 17

i know fallen angel cant really help me. i like his reasons. i like his sense of things.

i feel you are big. not body big. voice big. i will be big like you someday.
i feel good that you wrote. i never feel that kind of good. it is very nice. thank you.

jenna

Gail said...

Jenna-
All good advice coming your way. Tricia is SO right about being able to grow up beautiful and strong despite the horn dog bastards out there. I have been kicked around some. That Tom Petty song is my mantra . "Refuge". - 'Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have kicked you around some.'
I stood up and fought back one day. I was never knocked down again. I hope that day is soon for you Jenna.
I know your world well.Or at least one that resembled it.

Gail
peace.....

Anonymous said...

ah I love this story about being picked up from the playground in boxers. its a goodie.

dad, this one actually made me laugh outloud minus the comments that freaked me out.

how's the novel coming?