BLOG: 6's & 7'S
In anticipation of the upcoming release of my novel, Call Me Daddy, I asked for stories about family: the fun, the inspirational, the heartwarming moments that make us part of a family. Confidence, Because F*ck You, is in classic Joelynn Drennan style (which is why I adore her):
In my early teen years, the last thing I wanted was to be seen with my parents—especially on a weekend. That I actually enjoyed their company was irrelevant. In the event of running into peers while out with my parents, I’d have betrayed their existence faster than Judas betrayed Jesus. That is, until my father taught me a valuable, though unintentional, lesson in self-confidence.
One summer, on the way home from a long day spent at the beach, I begged my parents to stop for ice cream. “We always stop at Fox’s,” I said, citing the unofficial tradition. Despite their exhaustion, the heavy traffic, and its out-of-the-way location, my parents honored the request and drove over to Fox’s Ice Cream Parlor.
Once inside, my dad ordered his usual black-raspberry sherbet and my mom ordered her usual rocky road ice cream. I’d just decided on a double scoop of mint-chocolate chip when a group of boys about my age entered the shop and settled at a corner table. All of them had deep tans and sun-bleached hair and were dressed head-to-toe in Abercrombie & Fitch—the epitome of cool in 1997. Suddenly, I was uninterested in ice cream. In fact, ice cream was lame and my parents were assholes for dragging me in there. I moved away from the counter, attempting to look cool and aloof. Dad whistled in my direction.
“Hey, are you going to pick something or what?”
“Nope.” I shook my head and rolled my eyes.
“What? I thought you wanted—”
“I don’t want anything,” I said.
“We drove all the way over here and now you don’t WANT anything?”
Ignoring the irritation in my dad’s voice, I feigned interest in a framed newspaper article hanging on the wall near the table of boys. I smiled their way, but they were all caught up in conversation and didn’t seem to notice me. However, they had noticed the drops of purple sherbet caught in my father’s handlebar mustache. They had also noticed his straw hat, faded wolf t-shirt, and Bermuda shorts. Snide comments and snickering erupted from their table. I looked over at my father and then back towards the boys. My cheeks flamed. I approached my parents, demanded we leave that instant, and then I stormed out of the shop.
A few minutes later, my parents came outside and my father asked what the hell had just happened. “And don’t give me this ‘nothing’ bullshit,” he said. I couldn’t meet his eyes, but I choked back the knot the in my throat and told him the truth. I was ashamed.
I was ashamed of myself for casting both of my parents aside for the attention of some random boys I’d never see again—attention that I didn’t even get—and for standing silent while they made a joke of my father.
Completely unfazed, Dad described the absence of fucks he had to give about the opinions of a bunch of “snot-nosed little bastards.” Then he knocked on the window and pointed to his wolf t-shirt. He raised both middle fingers to the group of boys, laughed at their stunned expressions, and then walked away with a huge smile on his face. In that moment, I couldn’t have been more proud to be his daughter.
Joelyn Drennan is a die-hard yankee living in Memphis, Tennessee. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. Joelyn is a shameless conspiracy theorist who writes to make herself laugh (and also to quiet the voices in her head). These days she can be found at the nearest A/C vent, cursing the heat of southern summers.
In anticipation of the upcoming release of my novel, Call Me Daddy, I asked for stories about family: the fun, the inspirational, the heartwarming moments that make us part of a family. Author Erica Lucke Dean talks about her dad and his 'affiliation':
I’m pretty sure I have an FBI file. I can only imagine what it says, but there’s no question in my mind that it exists. My phones are probably tapped. My house is probably being watched by one of those spy satellites that stalk subversives. My name is probably on a TSA watch list. Why? Well, it’s not because I lie about my weight—I do lie about my weight, but that’s beside the point.
My father, who I love dearly and have the utmost respect for, is one of the co-founders of a patriots group formed by Tea Partiers in Pennsylvania. He goes on marches. He has meetings. I don’t know what they talk about at these meetings, but his wife says she can’t understand them, so I’m guessing they don’t speak in the same language as the rest of us. I’m not certain, but I think he may have built a self sustaining bomb shelter in his basement, where he is cranking out elaborate artillery disguised as reproduction furniture. I’ve seen the pictures of him using a sewing machine, but he can’t fool me. Those weren’t chair cushions he was making. He’s a card carrying member of the NRA with a framed picture of Charlton Heston hanging over his work bench—okay, I might be kidding about that—and a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Something he apparently never leaves home without, because my father is certain we’re only moments away from the next revolution. And maybe he’s right. Even if he does think Sarah Palin’s smart.
Dad thinks everyone should be armed—sort of like the old west, I imagine. Back in the day when you could shoot a man for looking at your horse funny and it would be considered a justifiable homicide. My stepmother also has a permit to carry a weapon, and she carries her gun just in case my dad goes nuts and she has to take him down. I can’t imagine what sort of scenario would have to occur for that to happen, but I’m sure she’d be up to the task if it came to that.
I don’t know exactly when my father became so politically involved, but I’m not surprised by his “all in” approach. He’s always been a believer in the philosophy, “if you’re going to do something, you may as well be the best at it.” I’ve always strived to be the best at everything I do, and I’m sure that’s something I learned from my dad. I’m a good singer, a pretty good writer, I bake a mean chocolate chip cookie, and I can’t be beat at trivia. However, none of these things require me to carry a gun, and that’s probably a good thing, because I’ve never been very coordinated, and I would probably shoot my toes off or something.
Just for the record—listen up all you FBI guys out there—I don’t belong to any political groups or clubs. I’ve never been to a rally. I didn’t even remember to register to vote until last week. Maybe I should get more involved, but for now I’ll leave that up to my dad. He’s semi-retired, which means he actually has more jobs than I do, and far more qualified to storm the Bastille than I am. But mark my words, people, if you see him coming, you’d better get out of the way!
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