When I saw this picture or meme or whatever you might call this thing-a-ma-bob on Facebook a while back, my mind raced in a million different directions.
I considered hanging with a lot of people. Who wouldn’t want to pick the brain of someone from the past or quiz someone still around about what makes them tick?
My list is long. Joan Rivers – Erma Bombeck – Robin Williams for sure.
I’d also like an hour with Nori West for no other reason other than offering the kid a way out.
I’d like sixty minutes with Jesus – and his mother. I’d ask Mary what JC was really like as a teenager.
I would give my left arm to chat with whatever US President (dead or alive) was interested. I’d give my right one for an hour with Stephen Colbert – the character and the real person – I find them equally fascinating.
And, more than anything, I’d like to talk with ANYONE ever involved with Mariah Carey – hair and makeup people – an ex husband – hell – I’d settle for a nanny. Whatever – I need the 411 from someone – my biggest fear is I won’t live long enough to read the twins’ tell-all.
But, to be honest, really, more than anything I’d be most happy sitting on the bench with my dad – with a cold, 20 oz bottle of diet coke and a bowl full of Cheez-its.
I wouldn’t waste time telling him how much I miss him – and he already knows I love him – nope, I wouldn’t waste one single minute of the sixty on sadness or the obvious – instead, I’d pick up right where we left off – just sitting around shooting the shit about day-to-day things. The way we used to.
Tomorrow marks five years since dad died – and I have plenty to tell him. He’s missed so much.
We would probably talk about things that would blow his mind – or every-day mundane stuff – like movies and books or deciding what place has the best steak.
We’d touch on celebrity deaths and the tragedy of them – we’d talk Robin Williams – Whitney Houston – James Gandolfini – and Casey Kasem – you bet we’d talk about the clusterfuck of fuckery that surrounded that poor sap’s end.
We’d talk about the President – I’d tell him he doesn’t have very good advisers. Saddest of all, he doesn’t seem to mind – most of his time is spent chasing a legacy to leave behind. Dad would insist on letting history decide.
We’d talk in length how ISIS had replaced BinLaden – yeah, I’m sure we’d discuss the JV Squad – and touch on the lack of advisers, again.
I’m sure the mass shootings would come up – Sandy Hook – Oak Creek WI – Aurora CO – Gabby Gifford…the mess in Syria – the tragedy in Paris – planes getting blasted out of the sky – and disappearing off the map for over a year – and the fact that John Kerry is Secretary of State and Jeh “call-me-Jay” Johnson is the new head of Homeland Security.
I’d break it to him that Hillary is running for president, again – and her opponent is most likely going to be Donald Trump. And, I’ll reluctantly admit I’m rooting for Bernie Sanders just because I enjoy Larry David’s imitation on SNL.
Here’s where he’d call me out – “Stop, now you’re just making shit up”.
And I’d assure him I couldn’t make that up if I tried.
And, then we’d talk about the most dangerous streets in the world – those of the South Side – the very streets where he grew up and raised a family before moving to the suburbs in the seventies…and the kid executed in the alley, whose only crime was being born to a couple of idiots.
He’d ask who was mayor.
And, then I’d have to pour him a martini and break it to him about Emanuel. I’d imagine he needs a double – and collect on the bet we made in the fall of 2010. I think his exact words were “No goddamn way that little prick is going to be mayor of Chicago – no goddamn way!”.
And then I’m sure we’d share a laugh or two as I retell him the story of the reporter, the nine-fingered mayor, and his family trip to Cuba.
Oh, yeah – by the way, we have made an agreement with Cuba. We owe our thanks to a president hell bent on having some kind of legacy – and the Pope that was involved. Nope, not Benedict – he stepped aside – (yeah, I know that’s unheard of) – and Francis stepped in.
He came to the East Coast – traveled around in a Fiat – he made John Boehner cry. For nearly a week he was all the media could talk about – Weird, I KNOW!
We’d talk about the Jacksons’ – Jesse and Junior. And we’d talk Blago. Here’s where I’d collect on another bet. Yep – I’d assure dad that the governor is doing time. Lots of time. That would lead to the Pat Quinn “discussion”. And of course, Rauner. I wish I had more than an hour.
I’d tell him Letterman retired – so did Leno. I’d tell him the perfect late night show would involve Kimmel doing the stand up – Colbert asking the questions – and Fallon providing the entertainment.
He’d most likely ask if Debra Winger has made any good movies – nope. But his other favorite, Meryl Streep – is still shining in anything she does (bleh). I’d tell him about JLaw. He’d probably really like JLaw.
I’d let him know that Tiger never recaptured the golfing world – and “Phuck ‘Em Up Phil” never capitalized on it. I’d tell him Bruce Jenner is a girl, Lohan is, well Lohan, and just when he thinks it can’t get any worse, I’ll spring the Cosby story on him. Oh, yeah, Cosby…just for the shits and giggles.
Before I let him off the bench, I’d make sure to let him know about the Star Wars premiere in a couple weeks – and show him a picture of the last time we all got together – and I’d hug him and thank him for making at least one hour of the last five years seem normal.
That’s the thing about grief – it never gets easier – we just get better at getting used to it.
A lot of people seem to struggle with the holidays or birthdays or big milestones once someone dies. I mourned all of those back in the early nineties when divorce and bad business deals sent dad packing to the deserts of Arizona – so those didn’t take any getting used to once he died.
I struggle with the day – to -day things – the familiarity of picking up the phone and talking to him about the weather – or politics – or current events – or how the Bears looked for the upcoming game. That’s the part I can’t seem to get over.
If I had an hour and a bench I would definitely make sure to make the hour as typical as possible – because that is what I miss the most – the typical, normal conversations. About nothing. And everything.
I wish I had an hour.
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