MetroDad is a pimp and you know this. Back when I decided to be a blogger, I set aside a week to just read blogs so I could see what was what. When I started reading MetroDad, I immediately knew he was the man. I decided that we must beome allies or he would destroy me. I wondered if he could backflip. The fact that he's writing on my blog 2 months later is a big deal to me. I felt good about his post when I read it: funny and touching, a tough blend to pull off. When I got on the highway to Sedona, I reflected on it some more and it dawned on me that he had compared me to a drunk who shits on the sidewalk. This time my eyes got moist. There's no higher compliment to me (and I bet he knows this). "Addiction is devotion. Look it up." Thanks Metro!
“The Fraternity of Fatherhood”
Fatherhood does funny things to a man.
After becoming a father, your perspective on life changes far more more dramatically than you would have ever thought possible. Some men become more emotionally sensitive. Others may become more protective of the world around them. Those who have daughters may find themselves much less misogynistic.
Then, you have guys like BHJ who used to run over pigeons for fun but, since becoming a dad, now feels pangs of remorse.
What the hell was I talking about? Oh yeah...the "fraternity of fatherhood." Let me tell you a story about that fraternity.
I live in downtown Manhattan. Having lived here most of my life, I'm sympathetic to the city's urban homeless situation and I deeply empathize with those unfortunate souls who have fallen through the cracks of society. I donate money to homeless organizations. I drop off old clothing at shelters. And when I eat out at a restaurant, I always take the leftover food and try to find someone in need of a decent meal.
However, like most selfish New Yorkers, I often wonder if my charitable generosity is meant to alleviate my middle-class guilt. Sure, everyone wants to help the homeless but let's face it. Nobody wants to see them.
And therein lies my problem.
My building has three homeless men who literally sleep in front of our building every night. The worst is a guy in his late 50's. He's one of the shittiest drunks I've ever seen. When he's liquored up, he's not only a mean old bastard but also a crazy lunatic. He'll pull down his pants and literally crap on the sidewalk. He'll pee in a Gatorade bottle and chuck it at people. He'll scream obscenities at residents as they enter the building. And more than once, he's scared my babysitter so badly that I'll have to go out and walk her to the subway.
The problem is that when he's sober, he's a really nice guy. He notices how much I enjoy spending a lot of quality time with my daughter and whenever he sees me (even if he's in the middle of an insane rage,) he'll stop and say, "Hey, Papa. How you doing? How's the little girl? They grow up so fast, don't they?"
If I'm walking with my daughter, his face will light up and he'll softly coo nice words to her. "You're looking very pretty today, little girl. Be sure and always listen to your daddy, ok? Now, run along and have a great day!"
We've spoken many times and, although he won't go into all the details, it's clear that he's got several children whom he cares about very deeply. When he speaks to me or my daughter in his raspy voice, I hear these deep-seated pangs of regret and remorse that always surprise me. I don't know much about his life story or how he ended up sleeping outside my building every night. All I know is that he's a dad and he loves his kids.
And you know what? That's good enough for me.
Look, I'm a pretty involved dad and having a daughter is one of the greatest joys of my life. I've made fatherhood one of the top priorities in my life and I love spending as much time with her as possible. I really don't allow anything to get in the way of being there for her on a constant basis.
These days, it's a lot more common to find fathers like me. Our generation is so different from those that preceded us. So when I meet men who share a similar sentiment, it's very easy to form an immediate bond with them. As it turns out, being an involved dad is a fairly strong bonding connection.
As it goes in the real world so it does in the world of blogging.
Although I've had the pleasure of meeting many bloggers in person, I've never met BHJ. However, I do know we share many similarities. He's one of the few guys who reads as much as I do. We both enjoy writing (although he's far better at it.) We share common interests in Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam, and hip-hop. And needless to say, we both have a twisted sense of humor and a profane admiration for the art of cursing like a fucking sailor.
When I first started reading his blog, I spent most of the time laughing my ass off and snorting milk out my nose (even though I stopped drinking milk about 5 years ago.) His humor was smart, refreshing, and hysterical. However, despite all the laughs, it immediately became clear that he was a great dad with a unique approach to fatherhood. Here was a dad with whom I could connect with immediately.
Of course, he's sometimes delusional and talks to imaginary friends. And sure, he thinks he's a grown-up white version of Gary Coleman. And yeah, I admit that I sometimes worry about his sanity as he attempts to single-handedly take over the blogosphere and challenge every major mommy blogger to backflip competitions or arm-wrestling contests. Say what you want about my new friend but you have to admit that he's one hell of a dad and he's madly in love with his kids.
And you know what? That's good enough for me.
Rock on, BHJ!