Tomorrow is Father’s Day in Germany.
This age-old celebration of patriarchal veneration has mutated over the years from a staid, mundane recognition of a father’s role in the family to a piss up of the highest order. Gangs of drunken men roam the streets, pulling cartloads of ale and schnapps around with them, singing songs and imitating beer-crazed, adolescent chimpanzees. It has to be one of my fave German traditions; no it is my fave.
Father’s Day in Britain when I was young was almost non-existent. Yes, it existed but it was merely paid lip service to, well it was on my estate anyway. Dad would wake up, we’d say, “Happy Father’s Day Dad”, maybe give him a card and he’d nod, mutter something by way of thank you and stumble off to work like every other day. There was no fanfare, no victory parade around the town, just a nodded thanks and back to the grindstone. Awful that really, isn’t it?
I feel I have to add here that my father only ever worked night shift. He would wake up around three in the afternoon and go to work at eight, returning around eight o’clock the next day. This he did from Monday through untill Friday morning, Friday night shift he worked until around midday, Saturday.
So in retrospect I can understand why my Dad was so strict and quick to temper. With three mad kids keeping him awake all day it was no wonder he was constantly tired and irritable. To compound the situation they had no money despite the shift work he put in and every day was a battle with near poverty.
I’ve meandered off course here a bit because the thing I wanted to put across here is that my father also held dreams and aspirations to being a writer. He once told me that he had started a book so many times in his head but had never made that jump from cognition to paper; he’d never actually, “had a go”. It’s sad really when you think that beneath his no-nonsense, working class exterior beat the heart of a would-be author; an author fallen victim to a sense of duty that dictated any time for dreams and aspirations should be ceded to the maelstrom of work and family.
Well, I refuse point-blank to give up on my hopes. I love writing, regardless of how limited my talent is and I intend to carry on making room in life for my creative bent, (ooer!). I know that without this “vent” I’d turn into an embittered wretch who resents his kids and the choices forced upon him by his situation in life. It’s not being selfish, I work and take my role as a father seriously, but I do need other input to keep me ticking over; it’s all in the balance, lol.
To put it clear text, I despise my workplace but I know it’s just an end to a means, I go to work to feed, clothe and shelter my family and not because it’s all I have. Work is secondary to my life; to lose my job would be a catastrophe but to lose the will to be creative would be a living death.
PS. B.T.W., F.Y.I., I’m working on Father’s Day so I won’t be with the chimps…