Hey there folks!
Whew! Yesterday was a hell of a trip wasn’t it? My father died 10 years ago but sitting down and writing about it brought everything back like it just happened.
Anyway, the point of today is to speak of the lesson that started me down memory lane here. Quite simply the lesson revolves around the quote on that damn hat of his, “Why be Normal“. This single phrase not only describes my father in many ways; but, it serves as a poignant piece of irony about his character as well.
You see I know in my heart that even though the death certificate tells me that my father died because of congestive heart failure it was depression that truly took him from me and my family. The irony of this is that the core of the depression was the fact that he was not normal, at least in the sense of the 1950’s nuclear family with father as provider. For most of my life my mother made more money than him and he could never reconcile that. Mind you he always worked, whether working on lottery machines,or in factories, or working in gas stations he always tried to provide for us. My father was an intelligent man that was better than most of the jobs he ever had, but he never hesitated to take whatever job was available to try and keep food on the table.
I am a lot like my father in this sense because in the 20 years I have been working I have bounced between more jobs than I care to admit. I have been a janitor, a photographer, a restaurant manager, and even a car salesman. I understand the pressures and feelings of inadequacy that come with moving between jobs like this. How am I going to pay my bills? Why can’t I just get a job and work it like everyone else? The simple answer is I am not normal.
Dad’s mantra influenced me as I have spent most of my life separating myself from the herd so to speak. As anyone who knows me can tell you I am not normal and I am proud of this fact. However, as I have aged I have come to realize that I must take my father’s mantra further than he was able to. There is no need to be normal in any regard and I must embrace my deviant nature rather than feel terrible for it. If I am not normal than I must find my own ways to navigate the hurdles of life.
I do not believe that I am better than others, just different. I have a great deal of respect for honest hard working blue collar people because that is where I come from and that is what surrounds me. The best men I have ever known were of that stock, but I am not. I have to be me and I refuse to feel bad about that decision. In pursuing my passions I will become the best possible version of myself, and only then can I successfully meet the obstacles life has for me.
So let me take a moment to honor the men that have influenced me. Thank you Grandpa Tanner, Uncle John, Uncle Perry I love all of you. Most importantly Dad, I owe you more than I could ever repay, because of you I am the one and only Jason.