Cat’s in the cradle


This is a different kind of run-in with a crazy guy.
It was purely by accident, and I’ll have to remember this forever, despite my best interests. The hard part about it is that I’ve never even met him.


I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the crazy, drug-fueled people that have crossed my path in the past, and certainly in the future. I know previous drug addicts, and many I call friends. I know current drug addicts I call friends. Some are alcoholics, other turn to pills, and more snort their choices. I still care about them, and can only hope they will be alright with what they do.
Some, though, I cannot be around. They’ve gone beyond function, roaming the streets and generally just causing havoc. They’ve ruined themselves, families, and even taken lives– or tried to. This man happens to be one of the dangerously ruined ones, the kind that make me look on in fear when a friend confesses a drug “adventure.” You’re only really a few adventures away from being like him.


It was disheartening to hear the first half of the story. I had actually asked a private investigator friend of mine to look into this, to find out anything I could. All I found were things I half expected, half hoped I’d never see. Drugs. Abuse. Felonies. Broken families, children left with restraining orders instead of a decent life. Nothing I can say was surprising after the stories I had heard, really, but still. Disappointing nevertheless.


So for some time, I hunted for more concrete information. I couldn’t find much, not even so much as a picture. Facebook was useless, and the people search engines gave me a hundred addresses. A lot of homelessness was involved, and tracking down a homeless felon isn’t as easy at it sounds with only the internet available. I decided it was time to take a new route and hunted down some of his family I never even knew had existed before. I managed to get a phone number, and from there, a little more information.


He spent time as a child in the Dominican Republic. He was a highly talented musician, picking up many instruments along the way. Natural gifted all around. Always had a very wicked temper, and a sort of laissez-faire attitude about anything of real importance. Highly intelligent, too. Perhaps a bit too much. Sounded like a rather troubled person, though. That was made obvious by his later mistakes.


Not much came of any of this, though. Not until yesterday when, on a whim, I did another Google search. That’s when the mugshots cropped up all over the place.
First was the more recent– cocaine. Then came trespassing, failure to appear, public intoxication and misconduct. Sometimes there was a home address, most of the time it was simply “at large.” I was, to say the least, in a state of disquiet. I’d never seen his face before, and this was the last way I had hoped to.


I’m a person of silent morality. I may have interesting stories to tell people, but rarely do I let much about myself out to be heard. So my general set of ideals, beliefs, and other such inner makings don’t often get to come out. It’s partially a matter of my own introversion, with a dash of utter fear. I grew up with people disappearing; seldom did they stick around. Investing in others was just a pathway to feeling bad, so I didn’t. But inside, I have a very solid set of right and wrong. I am disgusted by certain actions, like abusing an animal or cheating on a spouse. This gave me the same feeling– but it was coupled with a new sense of revulsion and dismay.


I didn’t expect anything good, to be honest. What I did expect was to feel uncomfortable. I got just that.



My family always had a bit of a problem with me. They didn’t purposefully shun me, but I was also pinned down as a bad child, no questions asked. There were some things that cannot be discussed here, but needless to say it wasn’t always pretty. My uncle was the only real male figure I had to associate with a father until my step-dad came along. My mother never married the man, but he was what I had. His drunken ravings, constant misbehavior, treating me as a horrible person and obvious outsider, and eventual proposition to me for sexual favors didn’t leave a good impression. So now, as I stare at the terrifyingly familiar, yet unseen until now face of my actual father, I am only able to wonder why.


There’s something deeply disheartening about seeing your paternal progenitor only in a mugshot. Somewhere deep in me I sense I’ve seen the face before… my recollection of my childhood is uncanny at times, remembering things from toddler-hood that some people have no capacity to recall. So in there somewhere is the knowledge that this man was in my presence at some point, a long time ago. I see hints of my face in his. The eyes remind me of my own. But what truly hit me was his expression. In most of the mugshots, he’s smirking. He couldn’t care less. In one, however, it’s rage. A rage I know I have seen in my own face, the kind that led him to multiple arrests, and ruined his relationships with family and various others. It’s in me, and I can feel it burning. His fears, anxieties, anger, addictions, insecurities and disturbances are in my blood, and I know them well.

I have my doubts that I will ever be face to face with this man before his inevitable death from his own misdeeds. I daydream of wandering around his town, hunting him down (most likely at a bar) and having a very pathetic conversation that ends in him brushing me off. That’s about the best I can hope for after twenty-six years, I suppose.



A lot of people can shrug these things off without a second thought. For me, though, it’ll eat at me. I’ve always wondered about him off and on, and it consumed me for a time months ago. My own search for who and what I am and will become has been a constant struggle, and knowing of him has been part of the puzzle. It taught me a lot about why I do and act in some ways that confounded me. It has always shown me how NOT to be as a person, for which I am grateful. The genetics in me do not define me, yet they have an impact that is subtle and creeps up on you when you least expect it. The only battle is making sure it doesn’t control you.



Yet here I am, staring at this ruined man that created me, and I can only wonder now: will I attend his funeral?

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5 thoughts on “Cat’s in the cradle

  1. Wow. This pulled at me so much, I had to read it twice. We've had some talks about parenthood and family, and so, there's not much I can say that wouldn't be a re-tread. Thank you for sharing this story.

  2. It was a little harder than I anticipated to write this. It's funny how these things can impact a person, and it took a lot out of me. Also, thank YOU for reading it.

  3. This reminds me of a conversation I had the other day. I was telling my roommate how I never talk to my parents because I never formed a loving bond with them, and I feel about them the same as for most any stranger, with the side note that they did raise me so I owe them something (but no emotional link to speak of).Apparently I am the worst person in the world for not talking to them. They never abused me and for all practical purposes were the model upper-middle class family, complete with constant arguing and a mutual inability to get divorced. So I have no excuse for abandoning them and leaving them to their lonely thoughts.But I have an inability to reconcile my complete lack of interest with their wish to get emotional gratification from being involved with my life. So I ignore them. I'm aware there are experiences other people see as valuable that i'm missing out on, but from my perspective it's like watching sign language. I have no idea what the hell these people are talking about. It's just confusing gestures.I guess if you can take anything away from this, it's that it's probably good that you still have this connection to your father, even if real communication remains nonexistent. Having feelings is (imho) better than not having them. And really, the who and what you are relating to him sounds more genetic than anything – you're just as well off figuring out where your ancestors came from and how they lived than the one generation of human genetic code that swirled around in a display of the random wonder of nature to form you. (jesus that was an unnecessarily long sentence)

  4. I know what you're saying about the lack of need for contact, though. I posses that for a few people others would scoff at. I was also called a bad person for having that sort of thought process, but hey. The connection I have here sits more in a primal base than anything else. Like my mind knows there ought to be one, so it pathetically tries to find a way to form one without having any basis for it. So it leaves me simply confused about the whole thing.All in all, not a very useful mindset for me to operate under.

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