This year for Christmas, as with all years, I gave my Dad Comic Books.
My family, maybe like yours, doesn’t understand me at times. Some of them try, many of them don’t. I admit I’m a big weird geek who likes strange things, though from their perspective I’m still playing with toys and watching cartoons far beyond an age where they find that sort of thing palatable. When I make money from being a creative weirdo they’re proud. When I’m not, well…
I can try to justify my life to them but I realized a long time ago that I don’t have to. I’m myself and that’s the only person I’ll ever be.
I’ve given up hope I’ll convert any family to my (admittedly) eclectic tastes. While I lived in NYC the conversations I had with my fam at the yearly holiday party were generally centered on “When are you moving home?” Now that I live in my cave slightly closer to my kin the conversation is “Why did you ever what to live there,” when it’s not “So when are you moving back?”
NO, I can’t convince any of them to watch Metalocalypse or read the Goon. They’ll never get what I see in Futurama or Neil Gaiman. They’ve heard of 300 the film but couldn’t care less that it was a comic, they don’t see what so exciting about the Dr. Who Christmas special (SOOOO GOOOD!) and they sure don’t see much of my view-point.
The one guy I reach out to with all this is my old Man.
Maybe he’s geek curious. When he sees me cracking up to the Mighty Boosh he stops to watch. He digs 75% of that. When Watchmen came out he could say he liked the comic book better, because I gave it to him for Christmas in 2001. My dad is the only guy I know over the age of 60 with a complete collection of Miyazaki films…I didn’t even get those for him; I did get him Cowboy Bebop, but the Miyazaki’s he found for himself.
He wants to see what I see. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t, but those few times when he does creates a bridge from my world to his. It is a give and take I have to respond to as well. I can see what he enjoys about his job as a financial planer and certified public accountant. I don’t like all of it, but I get it.
We made an effort and it paid off.
The New Year is always a time to look back. The holiday season in general is always a time to count our blessings. I think I’ve got good material to work with in my father. A dad who wants to know what his son’s interests are is not something I take for granted.
This year I bought him Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, a graphic novel I’ve written about probably too much here…I got him Spiral Bound last year, so time to hit him with some of the heavy stuff…I mean I’m not going to go full on Chris Ware on the guy. It’s still Christmas for crying out loud.
This year I vow to try harder with my own creative output, to put a few more comic book pages into MY portfolio. Someday, maybe, I’ll make my father proud. On Christmas I’ll just stick to trying to make him happy and to help him see what I’m trying to go for, here.
If your searching for a new years resolution then try this one: I vow to give my loved ones the opportunity to understand me by meeting them half way. I vow to share with them things I like without judgment or expectation, and I vow to try and see what gets their motor humming with an open mind and eye.
If it doesn’t work then no big deal. If it takes even a little then BINGO! You now have one more person to be yourself around, only this time it will be closer to home.
Happy New Year.