74. Gonna Get Inside Your Bitter Mind


“Turn that goddamned record off,” my father said.  He was standing in my bedroom doorway.  Pete Townshend’s Empty Glass spun round and round at thirty-three and a third, clicking and popping.   I was sitting on my weight bench.  Every scrawny guy I knew owned a weight bench.

“What the hell is this?”

“My report card?”

“You being a smart ass?  What do you have to say for yourself, boy?”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know much of anything, do you?”

“I guess not.”

“Flunking chemistry, nothing higher than a C.”

“C is average.”

“Is that what you want to be, average?”

“I don’t know.”

“You say ‘I don’t know’ again and I’ll knock your teeth out.  You think you can get into the Air Force Academy with these grades?”


“Two weeks. You’re grounded for two weeks.”

I laughed.

“What the hell are you laughing at?”

“I’m never here.  I go to school all day and then I work full-time and then some all night.”

“Nobody told you to get a job.”

“You did!  You’ve been telling me since I was little.  ‘I had a job when I was ten years old.’  ‘You’re on your own when you’re eighteen.’  ‘You want something you have to pay for it.'”

“You expect me to pay for everything?”

“No, but I don’t think you can stand there and tell me how important grades are and make me work a full-time job.”

“I don’t make you do shit.”

“Right.  As long as I want to sit here in the middle of the woods and do nothing and stay out of your Coke and your potato chips then I don’t  have to work.”

“You want a car, you pay for the gas and insurance.”

“You’re a hypocrite.  You want to yell at me about grades but all that matters to you is money.  How am I supposed to focus on school and work at the same time? I never wanted to go to the Air Force Academy anyway, you did.  Just leave me alone.”

His jaw clinched and he rushed toward me, fingers curled into tight fists.  I stood up, straight and square.  His nose nearly bumped my chest.  He stepped back without looking up, never meeting my eyes.  And then he turned and walked away. 

I dropped the needle on “Rough Boys” and finished my workout, feeling pretty strong for a scrawny kid.

Categories: Memoir, Music

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2 replies »

  1. I used to listen to that album a lot while I was at work, oddly enough.

    I know you guys have probably worked through it all by now, but reading this makes me want to go have a word with your dad 🙂


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