One day, you’ll understand. One day, you’ll have kids of your own and understand why I did what I had to do. The fatherly sermon translates almost immediately to Darth Vader versus Luke Skywalker… I am your father. Search your feelings, you know it to be true. It is your destiny! Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son!
Rather than fall into a bottomless pit in the vast expanse of space, I found myself wearing the latest in fatherly fashion: collared polo shirts.
Dad disapproves of my “fashion sense,” because I come across as a grungy suicidal teenager in the throes of moral crisis. “It’s too… you,” he says. “You sometimes have to make compromises to succeed in life. It all starts with presentation. So cut your hair.”
I shook my head like a grungy suicidal dog making a choice between Kibble and its own poop. “No.”
“Would you at least try… dressing up decently?”
“No.” The response came from a guy who reported to his job interview in jeans, and can count the number of times he wore slacks in his adult life in one hand. “What next, you expect me to wear creased jeans and carry my cellphone in a carrying case on my belt?”
Shit, I said. I can imagine myself 30 years from now with a combover, Lacoste polo shirts, Attitude slacks creased and folded at the bottom, and shiny leather shoes. I’ll end up being the archetype of Every Dad on the Face of This Planet, raising my children to the taste of the Sunday Happy Meal. Or getting that evil eye from my wife if she sees me ogling some lady at the mall. Or reeking of the smell of Ben-Gay. Or meeting a balding acquaintance, dressed in the same way as I am, and say, Oy, pare, kumusta na? Long time no see, how’s the business going, partner?
My future just flashed before my eyes, and I don’t like it one bit.
“Dad, clothes don’t make the man,” I replied. He looked at me with that particularly odd-bordering-on-disgusted look on his face. Black shirt, faded jeans, boots, trench coat. My hair was all right, if not for handfuls of shampoo and a pass with a plastic hairbrush. That was “all right.”
“Would you just… get another jacket?”
I went back to my room and found my black fleece jacket. “Okay, let’s go.”
“You look like an addict.”
“No I don’t, I’m just being me.”
“One day, Marck, you’ll understand the virtues of looking presentable.”
“No, he won’t,” my brother said, dressed in the same way Dad was.