I haven’t been feeling well since the other day. It started with muscle pain, then fever, followed by sinus infection and sore throat. It must be the weather, or some sort of bug I caught from the outside world. However, today was much better. I was able to eat more than just soup and crackers. Still have a little bit of muscle pain, fever’s gone, but still has runny nose and throat discomfort.
Then came this afternoon, when my old man came over. Checked to see how I was doing and invited me to go target shooting with him at this indoor range. I really didn’t feel like it at first, but I figured out that I needed to get out of the house. Maybe some fresh air would do me good.
So here we are driving down to South San Francisco, when Dad suddenly interrupt our silence. “You seem very quiet today, something wrong with your tongue? Did you bit on it?” Dad asked. Maybe I was too focused on driving, or wasn’t feeling like my jolly, talkative self. “I’m sorry, Dad. You want us to talk about something?” I said to him.
“Not really, just not use to your silence” Dad said, without even looking at me. “Well, maybe you can tell me about your masters. You doing okay with your class?” He asked. “Everything’s cool, I’m good and you got my email concerning my grades last semester, right?” I said in reply. And then he nodded to confirm that he got my message.
Five minutes has passed and then he said, “Yup, that was impressive! I’m sure your Lola, your aunts and cousins would be thrilled to hear the good news.” I was confuse what Dad was trying to say, and so I asked him. “What was that, Paps?” And then he looked towards my direction and said, “I mean your grades, they’re really good. Better than your cousin Anthony, who’s taking his masters at UC Davis.” And then it hit me, I am being compared, yet again. I have to admit, Dad’s statement ruined my mood, it pissed me off!
I didn’t have the guts to answer back that very minute. I realized that this is my father I’m talking to, I had to be careful what I say. Plus, I didn’t want to be disrespectful or end up being called an ingrate. So while I was shooting my Glock 38 and hitting the target, I was also trying to compose a speech inside my head. And though I was a bit distracted, I was able to finish eight rounds and beat Dad at his game. I was twenty three points ahead of him. Not bad, right?
But then came the drive home, when I’m supposed to confront him. I was shit scared and about to pee in my pants, when he said. “Something wrong, Son?” I looked at my man and said, “Ahmm, it’s about…” I was horrified, stuttering and couldn’t finished my sentence. “Say it!” Dad said in an authoritative voice. Then, I realized this would be my chance to make a stand and share my opinion. So I stopped the car on a curb and finally said it.
“Paps, I respect you and all. But this bragging ritual of yours with auntie and uncle has to stop! It’s annoying and at the same time, insulting. It puts me and my innocent cousins in very bad and odd situations. Not to mention putting our friendship and familiarity on the line. What do we get from this? Absolutely nothing, right? And if we truly are family down to the core. Do we really need to compete against each other and see who’s on top and who’s second rate? I don’t think so. Besides, family’s supposed to stick together!”
And when I was finally done. Dad said, “Are you finished?” I looked at him and answered, “I am and I’m sorry if I’ve upset you!” He then put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Whoever said I was upset? All I wanted to say was, cut the bullsh*t and go straight to the point. You know me, I don’t do dramas!” And then he ordered me to start the car and drive to the nearest Popeye’s Fried Chicken.