Writing About My Dad, Day 5
My dad is a liar. My dad is a liar in that way that we are all liars because we all want to be the hero of our own stories. I want to be the hero of my story, which makes me a liar and not a liar, depending on your perspective and on where our stories intersect. When I am the hero, for example, the story includes a scene where I spend an entire Saturday sitting on the radiator in the bedroom I share with my sister, as the morning decrescendos into evening. I am waiting for my father to pick us up for a weekend visit. The way I tell it, this happens over and over again. The same radiator, the same window, the same waiting. When my dad is the hero, the story does not include a radiator, a window, or waiting. Instead it is a story about traffic and errands and a baseball game on TV and what he had for lunch.
We are equally heroic. We are both lying. I do not think my Dad knows he’s a liar, and he may not know he is a hero either. My problem is for a long time I also lied about my Dad being a hero, that is, in the story with the radiator and the window and the waiting, he was the hero simply because he was not my mother and we would usually eat at a diner and one time he took us to a baseball game at Shea Stadium and he never made me tell him what I thought a Bible verse meant when I really just wanted to go to bed.
I know I am a liar. I know too that sometimes it’s only by lying that the hero lives to “tell the tale” as they say. But if I stop lying, what do I have left? What happens to me if I try to tell the true story? Can I stop lying and not be unraveled, year by year, day by day? Isn’t it better to be a hero and a liar than to be the hero without a father?