Uncle Shelby, Sippy Salvatore, Silent Edgar, Ramos the Bull God, Alejandro the Hammer, Peter the Wolf, The Ghost of Thom Jones, names by which my ilk are known or have been known, all. Name by which I go when I go at night from this place in the hills with my hollow prayer book in the drawer, my mind made up and my children crying – Nunya Biz’nass. The children see what the blind mice do not, they know what Sweden’s finest poets mean when they illuminate the space ‘twixt the useful and terrible and the useless and the beautiful, the innermost paradox. The immense treeless plains of the human brain, the valley full of crawling axe-handles. Their daddy does something he should not so that they might do the things they otherwise flat out could not. Parents! Know me! Know yourselves! Get thee to the closest drinkery and take to the drink, then think on me and my plight. Think of the judgment doled out to a man, a father himself, a person, a distant neighbor with a skill and a yearning (a need!) to bring shuddering joy to those who can accept it. Tip well! Men, husbands, if you want to know, if you wonder whether I’ve been in your house, whispering in your wife’s ear, excuse yourself for the men’s room, lock the door, gaze upon your own visage whilst grabbing hard ‘pon your own throat. If it be hot, if the blood rushes and the face blazes crimson, then let the truth be known, or squeeze until it crunches. Do not let go of your children’s futures, for they are the future. I realized this one day at little league, watching you and yours playing and being played.
Nowhere is the bitter shortcoming, the decrepit ineptitude and passive aggressiveness, of the American father played out so dramatically (and publicly) as on the diamond of the land’s great passion (the field of dreams!) between the four bases of baseball. As if the coal of the dream has been resting between the fathers’ tight collective buttocks and emerged a chalk-lined diamond, wrought for the sons upon which to forfeit their own lots.
By the same measure, there are the daughters, those coquettes – “Do you like my dress?” As a matter of fact, dear, I don’t like your dress. The dress will be the first thing you lose on my hill. But it is not the dress that is the problem, it is your wearing of the dress that is of concern. Answer me this, ribble oh scribble, where is your coal? Your diamond in the rough? All things being equal, a woman’s mind is always more brilliant than a man’s. Young love, like plants with sticky leaves, shall grow. There is something new happening here, or something unutterably old – The daughter also rises on Moondale hill.