All About Me & My Father

The All About Me Hubs are meant to be arenas for Hubbers to provide background information about themselves. Since I pride myself on not just marching to the beat of a different drummer, but to a whole 'nother band, I'll tell you all about the person who most profoundly shaped me, for good and bad: My father.

He was a man blessed with a talent so God-given that during most of his adult life he would likely be classified in the top dozen people in the world in his field. He commanded international respect, fame, fortune, and literal adoration. He rubbed shoulders with celebrities, dignitaries, heads of state, Mafia chieftains, industrialists, jetsetters and tabloid personalities. In an age when people still needed to make a phone call by sticking a finger in a numbered hole and turning a sprung dial, he would chat with me on his mobile phone from the back of his chauffeured stretched Cadillac limousine with his initials engraved in gold on the door.

As a child I would sit on the laps of people who are now legends: A Who's Who of the Sixties and Seventies. I attended school on the few days that I wasn't jetting off to New York, Los Angeles, London or Rome, rarely going to bed before 3 am as I played the role of the littlest adult in an entourage which wined and dined in the finest restaurants long into the night, every night. At a time when a new 3 bedroom house cost $20,000, I would sit and watch as tens of thousands of dollars would change hands on the turn of a poker card in my family's recreation room cum casino. There was so much caviar and lobster being thrown around that I got sick of it and can't touch it to this very day. The family bar was stocked with so much booze that I also now don't drink.

I had world famous operatic stars sing me Happy Birthday. I pressed my initials with my fingernail into the solid gold bathroom fixtures of the Head of the Five Families. I drove myself to school in my own new car from the age of 13, oblivious to the necessity of a driver's license and the age of 16 required to obtain one. When I finally did get my license I got a 427 cubic inch 435 horse Corvette to play with. But I tired of it and got a Lotus. But it was too small to make out with girls in, so I got a Cadillac Eldorado. But it wasn't fast enough so I got another Corvette. And yes, this was all in my 16th year on this mortal plane.

My father loved me with a morbid obsessive love that you would think would only exist in skewed psychotic romantic novels. It wasn't that he gave me everything I wanted, he would get me even the things I didn't know I wanted. How many high school kids need a platinum diamond Rolex? On those rare days when I went to school and those even rarer days when my father would be awake in the morning, he would beg me to not go to class and go into town with him in the limo (or any of our other seven cars) so we could have lunch and shop all day.

My father had no use for education or knowledge. He had dropped out of high school and rode the coattails of his innate talent throughout his career as it brought him all the fortune he could handle. He didn't trust things like literacy, intelligence, science, accountants, investments, lawyers, or laws. His currency was fame. He had all the money he could possibly spend, and the only way he measured status in his career was how many millions of people were your fans. He got into drunk punching matches with superstars, cruised on Onassis' yacht Christina O, was "ol' buddies" with the Governor of New York State, and was told by a Canadian Prime Minister that he should "f*** over the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation" which, by the way, is government-owned. He did acknowledge that those celebrities were greater than him. But only barely.

For there lay the Shakespearean tragedy of his personality: He was raised to believe that the entire world was not worthy of kissing his round derriere. He felt he was an peer of the high and mighty and several notches above the rest of the human race, most of which he thought of with contempt. When he visited friends, he was "honoring them with his presence." He believed that friends were around to serve him at his whim. He would not hesitate for a moment should any of his "friends" disappoint him, to kick them in the shins or to smash a plate of expensive restaurant food in their faces. He had countless lurid affairs and would loudly and widely boast about them, much to my mother's humiliation. Although he was maniacally dedicated to his family's material welfare he believed we were there to serve him as well, and when that element is factored into what was a hair-trigger temper, the results were emphatically not pleasant.

My mother would receive regular backhands and slams into walls. I got the living daylights beaten out of me whether I deserved it or not. I once was fueling up one of the cars at the local gas station when he pulled up behind me, stepped out of his car without a word, smashed me in the face so hard he broke my glasses, got back in his car and roared away. The gas station attendant asked me if he should call the police, but I told him it was just a crazy person and to forget about it. When I got home he was crying and apologized saying that "he didn't know what had gotten into him." Thus was his modus operandi: Lose his head, do something inconceivable and unforgiveable, then ask for forgiveness. Oh yes, and a quick shopping trip to blow a few thou on a bauble or toy was supposed to help. Believe me, there were plenty of shopping trips. At one point my mother had about a dozen mink coats and enough diamonds to sink a battleship.

Hey, everyone has their moment of weakness, and we all do stupid things sometimes for which we have to apologize. The problem with my father was that not a single week would go by without a similar incident. You never knew what would set him off. He could be violently offended and not react. You could ask him to pass the salt and he'd punch your lights out. Pretty soon it became desensitizing. His completely unpredictable and sudden extremes alienated those around him. Until he had no one and nothing left.

While living in a drafty, semi-derelict wreck of a house, he died a few years ago in the public ward of a seedy, filthy clinic. He had been barely able to afford groceries on a meager government pension plus whatever random $100 bill I could afford to send him by Western Union. His funeral was attended only by my mother and my aunt. He now lies in what is essentially a pauper's grave, and one that I have never visited.

His riches to rags story was provoked entirely by his deeply flawed character. For a man who lived only for success it turned out that at the end he had no success, whether financial or personal. It is not important that he left nothing material behind. The tragedy is that he left no one behind to miss him, or even say any good words about him. Other than "good riddance."

There are things in this world that are important and things in this world that mean less than nothing. The one lesson I learned from my father's frenzied life is that anything that can be purchased with legal tender is meaningless. You can drown in riches and still be miserable. Would I have traded in all the Harleys and sportscars and Rolexes and first class airline tickets for a real, true, simple father-son relationship? In a New York minute.

Rest in peace, dad. I hope you have finally found the peace that eluded you in your life.

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Comments 23 comments

christine almaraz profile image

christine almaraz 7 years ago from colorado springs

Nice hub. It sounds like your dad had a life that shared both riches and rags. It also sounds like you learned alot from him, even though he might not have been the best role model.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Yes, he definitely shaped who I am today, and as I stated, that's both good and bad. I did learn to recoil from violence in any form, so I guess that aspect of parenting was good... in a way...


christine almaraz profile image

christine almaraz 7 years ago from colorado springs

That's good to hear. You sound like your pretty grounded and forgiving. Those are great traits to have. Good luck to you, your a great writer.


Paul Edmondson profile image

Paul Edmondson 7 years ago from Burlingame, CA

Hal. Fantastically engaging story. I read every word. Living and dieing alone is incredibley sad, but I don't know if there is such thing as a simple father-son relationship. When I think of my father's relationship with his own, and mine with him, they are/were different. Both have happy and sad times. The ups and downs may not be as extreme as what you describe, but they will both most likely require years of counseling:)


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Thank you both very much for the kind words! Paul, I've scared most of the psychiatrists I've known out of the field, so I don't know if I can find anyone to counsel me. There's a truly bizarre circus of craziness rotating between my ears! :)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Deeply, deeply moving, Hal.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Thank you Shalini. I truly appreciate that from the bottom of my heart.


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 7 years ago from Minnesota

Wow... Your father almost sounds like my mother, except that we don't have the money to buy expensive toys and she doesn't usually ask forgiveness when she knocks your lights out. This was quite the heart-wrenching hub, and it gives me an idea to post my own father-daughter story. Wrote an amazing one for Creative Writing a year or so ago, you might actually enjoy it. :P

(By the way, I have to admit, I can totally see you completely driving psychologists and therapists nuts with your crazy brain! <3)


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

Hal, I am so moved by the loss in the middle of wealth. As a foster parent of many aching hearts over the years, I often saw similar situations on a less wealthy scale, but heartaches just the same. As you know, your father never had what he wanted, the true love of family, because he shoved it away and tried to get it with purchase.

Possessions that last thru the eternities are never bought. They are gained with time and sacrifice, with caring and giving of a commodity more precious than gold, ourselves.

I grieve with you and for you; but what value you have to pass on to others. I know you will spend your life doing it. I can feel it in your words.

=))


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Kika, as it turns out the money is essentially an irrelevant distraction. Although I may have ideological differences with John Lennon, I definitely have to agree that "In The End, The Love You Take Is Equal To The Love You Make". I'd love to read your father story. Please let me know when you post it! And, yes, the American Psychiatric Association has been circulating my photo to their members with a strongly worded memo to ban me from their offices... for their own good! :)

marisuewrites, thank you so much for your kind words. It would behoove all of us to re-examine our own family relationships and determine if we have truly given all of ourselves to express the love that we feel, free of conditions and baggage.


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 7 years ago from Minnesota

*falls over laughing!!* Ah, you made Ky hang up on me! xD He was trying to be quiet while on Watch duty, and I started laughing out loud. :P

As soon as I figure out where the flip I put that blasted thing I will gladly type it up for you.

(Oh, don't feel bad about being banned from the APA offices... I'm not allowed near them, either. ;D Apparently my intellectual quotient intimidates them, and my ability to converse at a professionally equal level as themselves scares therapists and psychologists away.)


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 7 years ago from Minnesota

Hey Hal; got my father story up and ready for viewing. :P


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Darn, I thought that I was old, fat, easily amused by the stupidest things, and most importantly, the number one man in your life. Oh well... actually that was a very tender and wonderfully heartfelt Hub about your father. Congratulations... and my sympathy about having to put up with your mom! :)


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 7 years ago from Minnesota

xD Thank you for the sympathy. Too bad she's right next to me... rofl

Oh ha ha, Hal. How long have we known each other, a couple of months? I don't grow attached to people that easily. I'm not some desperate little emo teenybopper, y'know. :P


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Oops... Tell mom I was only kiddin'... :)

And don't be so hard on desperate little emo teenyboppers, as I happen to be one! :)


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 7 years ago from Minnesota

You're not a desperate little emo teenybopper, you're a desperate old geezer who somehow happens to be my friend. :P How that happened, I'll never know... xD I'm only yankin' your chain, you really are my friend. ^_^ Yay friends!


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Ok, so let me get this straight. I'm a desperate old emo geezer? :) Well, happy holidays my good friend Kika! Hope you've been naughty and nice and are gonna get lots of presents under the tree! :)


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 7 years ago from Minnesota

lol I don't get presents, I get Barnes and Noble gift cards. :P I have my family trained well. ^_^


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

I get nuthin... from nobody... bwaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaa...


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 7 years ago from Minnesota

... >.>

You get my full attention, shouldn't that mean something? :P


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Damn, that was a totally engaging read, Hal! The way you told this story, you managed to sound very much touched by the experience but entirely past it after all is said and done. Thanks for sharing!


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Glad you liked it Elena. I appreciate the kind words. Thanks!


Rossimobis profile image

Rossimobis 6 years ago from Biafra

It is been long but i came across it today...This is an outstanding piece.

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