Tuesday, September 28, 2004
"Jason Mulgrew: Man" or "The Story Of A Father And Son" or "Untitled"
I have written before about my dad (see here and here) My dad is awesome. And I don’t mean this in the “I’m 8 years old and I think my dad is the coolest because he can throw a football real far and he can beat up your dad” kinda way.
My dad is awesome because he can beat up your dad, and I mean that in the "I'm 25 years old and seriously, my dad would kick your dad's ass" kinda way. You see, my dad is a real man. Until he got hurt, he had been working as a mechanic and longshoreman since he was 17, regularly pulling 80 hour weeks, always exposed to the harsh seasonal elements, always coming home covered in grease, smelling like a mix of cold, smoke, and Brut, and often wearing those mesh hats that hipsters loved to wear a year or two ago before they went the way of Zubaz pants, Reebok Pumps, and using protection when you make love (seriously, who does that?).
Some other things you should know about my dad:
- He has four tattoos: an Irish boxer (with his nickname, “Mugs”, under it), an Irish bulldog, an Irish flag, and a skull with a knife through it
- He has a moustache
- He wears a giant Celtic cross around his neck at all times
- He owns at least five times as many sleeveless shirts as he does ties (possibly even ten or fifteen times as many), and wears them exclusively from about May 20 until September 20 of every year
- He used to ride a motorcycle
- He wears "Terminator" style sunglasses
- His idea of fun is taking apart an engine and putting it back together
- If anything is wrong in your house (plumbing, electrical, um, whatever else), he can fix it, or he knows someone who can do it "real cheap"
- He reads books about serial killers, watches only sports, the news, and the History/Discovery channels, and loves horror movies
- In an average day, he smokes two packs of Marlboro Reds, has ten cups of coffee, drinks a gallon of whole milk, and eats a half a stick of butter
- He has been stabbed (seriously)
- When he was 18, down the Jersey shore, he dove into a foot of water (not knowing it was so shallow - also, he was drunk). He kept drinking, drove home, slept, woke up the next day and drove 90 miles back to Philly. At that point he told his mom, "Mom, I think I hurt my neck." Diagnosis: broken neck. The doctor told him if he had turned his neck just one degree further, he would have been paralyzed for life.
And then, ladies and gentlemen, there's me. To say that I'm the complete opposite of my dad is not entirely true, since we are roughly the same size, although I'm pretty sure my dad can bench press more than 60 pounds.
Some things about me:
- I’m terrified of bugs. Not grossed out, but "run away squealing and yelping" terrified
- I'm also scared of thunder, most dogs, and night time
- I cry at least three times a week, usually over a pastry that has gone stale
- I also cry at movies, while listening to music, every time I get an email, and on Wednesdays and Fridays
- I have won maybe 3% of the fights I've been in, and that one victory came against a 14 year old blind spaniel-terrier mix named Fritz
- "Scary Movie" was one of the most terrifying 90 minutes of my life
- "Grease" is among my top five favorite movies
- I regularly listen to music by Wham! and Janet Jackson, I really like that "Invisible" song, and I own both "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" soundtracks
- Every time I use a hammer, I wind up hurting myself or someone else (usually me)
- If I have so much as an itch, a paper cut, or a mosquito bite, my intense hypochondria kicks in and I have to be physically restrained from going to the nearest emergency room
- At least once a week I have to alter my dinner plans because I can't open a jar of spaghetti sauce
- I barely know how to pump gas, and from ages 16-18 I would just open the hood of my car and just spray the gas all over the engine
I know that my dad is proud of me and all, but I don't think that he ever envisioned his first-born son turning out this way. Sure, at a young age, my dad taught me how to fight, played up the whole "If anything happens to me, you're the man of the household" thing, and instilled in me a love of sports, so much so that my two childhood idols were Hulk Hogan and Mike Schmidt.
But then something went terribly, terribly wrong.
I don't really know where or when (that's what therapy is for), but here I am: a mildly successful transplanted New Yorker who spends most of his day thinking of jokes about masturbation to put on the internet and who would rather read a book about the theme of purgatory in Hamlet than go to a car show.
So you get it: my dad and I have always had a good but dichotomous and healthy if not hilarious relationship.
But last night, for the first time in my life, I actually did something that I'm sure would have made him proud. I did something manly and I succeeded in doing it. And no, I'm not talking about bringing a woman to orgasm, because we all know that the whole "woman can have orgasms" thing is just a myth. No, I did something much more manly: a built a desk.
[Well, I didn't actually "build it" - I put it together. But you get it.]
You see, when I decided I was going to start taking grad classes, it basically gave me an opportunity to spend lots of money. I thought to myself, "Well, if I'm going back to school, I'm going to need a computer." Two weeks later, my $2600 super-duper laptop arrived. Then I thought, "Well, if I have a laptop, I'm going to need to convert my expansive VHS porn collection to DVD. This way I can have a break to watch porn when I'm getting stressed while writing a paper." I'm still working on this one, but we're well over the $200 mark with the conversion. And finally, I thought, "If I'm going back to school, chances are I'm going to be meeting a lot of new women, so I'm going to have to start drinking a lot more and just generally spending a lot more money." I haven't really figured the relationship here, but so far, so good.
Oh, and also at some point I decided I needed a desk.
So I ordered the desk, and in early August it arrived. It arrived on a Saturday, but I was rushing out that day, so I put the gigantic box in the foyer of my apartment. There, it proceeded to collected dust and draw the ire of my roommates ("Are you going to move this huge fucking box or what?") until last night.
I should note that I stink at this shit. I absolutely stink at putting together things. This is because, like most guys, I have an intense aversion to instructions. However, unlike most guys, I have no preternatural understanding of mechanics and how things work. Also, I have no patience and am a quitter at heart.
It appeared that this endeavor was doomed from the start. But I was determined. First, I got a little high. I find that really there's no downside to this, and getting high helps in pretty much every situation (except when trying to cover up a crime - trust me).
Then, I opened the box and spread the parts all over my room.
Of course, in doing this I lost the bag of screws, which was kinda an important component. Faced with this obstacle, I did what I thought was best at the time: ate a huge piece of chocolate cake and spent the next hour downloading Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam songs and writing emails.
But then I pulled myself together, and, as luck would have it, I found the bag of screws (it was, of all places, under my pillow).
So I hunkered down, ripped off my shirt, blasted some Bad Company, and finally, for the first time in my life, I was my father's son. All I needed was the bandana and the Marlboro Red hanging out of my mouth, and you would have confused us. I threw aside the directions, worked solely by instinct, hammered and screwed and cursed away, and, about 45 minutes later, my desk was complete.
Needless to say, it was one of the top five accomplishments of my life. I mean, I was getting myself turned on while I was putting the desk together, working with those tools, and being all manly.
And the result? The desk is beautiful. I used it last night, and it seems to work. And sure, it's only a matter of time until I slip into a drug-induced manic depressive rage and destroy it with my bare hands after discovering that one of my roommates ate my leftover macaroni and cheese, but until then, it's simply glorious. Glorious.
And Dad, if you read this, which you won't, or if we talked on the phone about anything but sports, or if we talked in person besides anything other than sports or "Are you getting bigger?", then you'd know I did this for you.
But don't get spoiled, because I'm pretty sure this is a once in a lifetime thing. Actually, this is definitely a once in a lifetime thing.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam. Who's your favorite Cult Jam member? Mine was Alex Mosley. What a talent. What a fucking talent.
[Warning: posting may be a little light this week, as it is the end of the quarter and therefore Uncle Jason is very busy at work. I will try my best, but, as we all know by now, my best is most often not good enough.]