Tonight I am posting my way out of the weirdest and most important single moment of my life.
I told my father earlier in the day that I was watching the 2015 Steve Jobs biography movie; at that moment–of course–I didnt know how it ended. It ends with a beautiful reconciliation between Jobs and his lovely daughter, a Freshman at Harvard and writer in the undergraduate Newspaper there, the Crimson.
A moment ago before I came here to post, I realized that my father likely HAD seen the film and DID know how it ends. Or, he knew the story some other way.
This moment took me back to the Quincy House Dining Hall at Harvard in the middle of Fall Term, 1982, a semester and a half before I was supposed to graduate.
I was in a pickle over the failure of my Harvard Advocate presidency. The Advocate was the undergraduate literary magazine and somehow I ended up getting elected as President after a few short months on the staff at the beginning of my Junior Year, starting in 1981. From January 1982 until December 1982 I somehow survived this horrific fiction. Decades later, I would justify myself by saying that my social life was justified as hi-tech fallout of a self-styled “hi-tech brat” and my literary life fostered by and as fostered through me for the Advocate that year was legitimately symptomatic of a paradigm shift in society that would be reflected as a paradigm shift in my own life OUT OF MANHATTAN society and the “Boston-Manattan axis.” (See “The Zero Effect.”) And TO Buffalo, NY instead. Where my CHILD was born And then, somehow I ended back in the court of Society again with the move to theTampa Bay Area in 1995 where my son turned 3.
Back to Dec.,1982:
The board had taken the 3rd issue magazine in boxes to all the studenr dining rooms instead of delivering them door to door as was usually done.
I have to admit rhat I do understand my failure to understand what was going on there EVEN TODAY DOES work better for me than what I feared about those times.
I walked past the table of the Crimson writer who had called ME out on my smoking with a “hmmmph” not really knowing for sure what was going on or what was being said about her and about me. She was sitting with several men. Next thing I KNEW I was in the office of a CHILD PSYCHIATRIST in Millburn, New Jersey near my hometown there in New Jersey. Actually it wasnt really my home town. My mother and father had emigrated from England and we didnt settle in New Jersey until I was 2 years old; they left there for here in PA when I was 23, in 1985. “Here” is Berks/Lehigh counties, an hour northwest of Philly.
So, Steve Jobs makes up with his daughter at the end of the movie, which came out in 2015 as far as I can ttoll. At first I balked at connecting that situation with myvsituation here with my father. And that comes from a place where I fear that his daughter would hate my making such a connection But, I see that it is important for EVERYBODY INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE HI-TECH INDUSTRY: I have said fir the longest time that the hi-tech family is a phenomenon in society just like the military family or political family. There are certain parameters. And it was done in such a beautiful and striking way at the end of the film that sets the bar for those of us who struggle with harm and hurt from mentally brilliant but unschooled men running the telecommunications revolution.
So, my father was told in his early American engineering days that he was”selfish for himself.” This, from the wife in friends of the family with young children like themselves. She was studying psychiatry and had learned how to analyze handwriting. So, he asked her to analyze his. I can just picture the scene. Complete embarrassment. But this was his calling card for the rest of his life. “Selfish for himself.” It meant something.
My mother told me about this, that (as is often the case) us how I know. I repeated that to him a couple of weeks ago and said to him it was the worst advice he ever took.
Then, when it should have changed, another psychiatrist stepped in inappropriately, the one I was sent to. Instead of treating ME, he was treating her and her best friend. He told her she was “easily hurt;” and that became HER calling card. And the two of them–her and my father–went round and round with that for decades. Finally, he said “I can hurt people if want;” and I JUMPED ON THAT.
I said, NO YOU CANT.
Then my son was at stake.
I said “i can do whatever I want.” I was trying to explain the win-win situation of my dual national, American/British status. The US Embassy said this was “lucky.” He JUMPED ON THAT. I ended up having to fly to Britain on an improper mission. The evening I got there we got a call saying my son was struck in the eye by a dart he and his friend were throwing around and we had to return immediately.
That was autumn 2009. Ive been back pedaling on that ever since.
So, more recently my brother has committed suicude.
That was Thanksgiving 2018. We have been struggling since then.
Since the dart injury, my son and I have returned here to SE Pennsylvania.
Something weird happened at the therapists office a year and a half ago.
I brought my father there and something came out there that was obviously out of his control about the “breast touching.” He didnt mean to be saying it but he was saying it. I finally pieced it together what happened there. It was my dead brother moving through us. He was the one person who had evidence of what happened over that holiday (the “breast-touching”) because when he came home from the New Years Eve party I told him about it. He didnt say anything. We were all drunk. We went to bed and I never said anything else about it. A little later his friend came over and went to bed with me. My parents made him date me for the rest of the holidays to cover it over, until I went back to Kent School.
This came in the wake of my waking up on the morning my brother disappeared (Nov 2018) thinking about the likely rape by him at the beach in New Jersey, at the beach house of some other friends of my mothers, the wife was a real estate salesperson. She was the one who went to see “my” CHILD PSYCHIATRIST” for twenty years after we had left New Jersey. So, i immediately dropped that line of thinking about matters of sexual abuse.
That woman– the one who owned the beach house– had a son who was a grad student at MIT when I was an undergraduate at Harvard and that truly did help me there, I went to visit him and it was very reassuring. Other than that, I really didnt know who I was or what I was doing at Harvard.
I heard some jokes about Skinner’s daughter; thar he kept his daughter in a box until she was 7 years old and she couldnt talk.
Also, there was a joke going around about Helen Keller that I absolutely wont repeat but, she attended Radcliffe, the sister college to Harvard before they two colleges merged inthe 60’s (?) I read that, as a child, she was permitted to crawl around on the dining rooms table as she couldnt be taught; until her help came.
I AM able to be taught now after decades inside my own head.
It is a miracle.
I have to gave credit to my most recent psychiatrist, Dr. Behar in Quakertown.
No further comment in that regard.
So, its about my son, Ian, whose sign-off us Imack!!!
How could I have missed that all my life? Its life? Its like everything else–it was all going by me. Was at like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? Or, Sleeping Beauty?
I am also i rhinking of Ian’s father and the legend of Arhur and the sword in the stone. Around the year 2000 I had a fantasy about the recursion of the Arthurian tale surrounding the baby I lost in California and, it was as sad as the collapse of the Round Table 1000 years ago when Launcelot and Quinevere cheated on Arthur and thatbeautiful moment in time came to a violent end. I am finally able to move off of that; and realyze that even if something really horrible happens it is still all a part of Gods plan. Abortion is wrong and I shouldnt have done it. Having sex when I wasnt well enough to have a child was also stupid of me.
This is also about the cats.
I am finally able to establish a baseline of normalcy through a healthy and adequate, mutual care giving relationship with two cats–formerly my son’s–Travis and Tanner; soon to beformally declared as “Emotional Support Animals” by my PCP f when I move into my own apartment–SOON.
In the past I wasnt well enough to care for any animals. Even that poor little mouse that we had in Florida was a disaster. Something has changed here. I am not worried or paranoid; I am competent to care for myself.
I have to end this rambling reflection incidental upon watching the 2015 Steve Jobs biography movie with words for my father. I feel okay about you for the first time in my life, Dad. I had that intellectually but not relationally or emotionally. I have to thank you for waiting patiently for me to overcome the horrible overdose on the day after Thansgiving 2016. I have been slowly struggling back to life. Something has changed.
Dad, you probably wont understand but I am enjoying the Hershey’s chocolate kisses in the pink bag of assorted chocolates. I remember buying for you a huge, 1 pound Hershey’s chocolate kiss back in the early 80’s!!!
When we were young and full of hope!!!
That’s from a Shakespeare sonnet about friendship, perhaps you caught the echo.
So; about words and sudden death– that IS the character of hi-tech, a world for the rapier wit.
I didnt waste my time at Harvard, Dad.