A Working Man

Posted: March 5, 2015 in prose
Tags: , , , , , ,

My dad has always been quite a character- never short of a sarcastic comment or inappropriate joke. In fact, sometimes I have to remind him that he is an adult and long gone from the days of being a rowdy teenager. I’m used to finding pictures of him acting his usual charismatic self. We are not short of photographic evidence of him shoveling his face full of my grandmother’s homemade Italian cooking (a nice change of pace I’d assume for him after years of Greek food). I still laugh at the photo where he’s standing in just shorts behind a bush in my grandparent’s backyard and it appears he’s gone for a quick streak through sunny suburbia; or the photo where he stole my mother’s camera to take a shot of his wild and large eyes, disheveled hair and Miley Cyrus style tongue (of course, I say this with 2015 retrospective as this photo was taken in the late 1980s). These are candid shots of my father being himself so, as much as I do appreciate them, they do not hold special significance to me. The only photo that draws me in is the simplest one, the one where he is just standing and smiling.
The Polaroid is dated February 1990. It was taken somewhere in Chicago, where my mother had moved years earlier in order to be with my father. The apartment is basic, with white walls and the classic three-lock system on the door that is found in most inner-city apartments. My father is sporting dark facial hair which actually made him appear his age (when clean shaven, my father always looked five to seven years younger than he actually is). He is so close to the door and is smile is weak with disappointment of having almost made it out. His leather jacket has a dull shine under the poor apartment lighting. Underneath was a practical blue sweater and gray dress pants. The leather jacket was one of the remnants of the former rock star lifestyle used to lead; a time before he wore a suit to talk to investors and followed his friends’ bands around with my mom. I imagine my mother giving him a stern look, trying to get him to take a nice, serious picture for once. Her ego probably swelled when he actually listened to her.
Despite the photo not correctly capturing my father’s exuberant personality, it reflects the transition I am facing as I enter adulthood. There will be a day where I can no longer wear my lip-ring, or dye my hair pink or purple or the like. No matter how much the professional world may bog down my style creativity, I can always hold on to my leather jacket, though. It will add a tough layer to, what will eventually be, my somewhat practical exterior. Like my father, I may not be thrilled with it but I will at least smile and take it with grace and dignity.


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