“Soon as you accumulate the ‘Fuck You’ money you’ve been working for your entire life the grandkids come along.”
From my dad, that, and ironic, or something, in at least three ways: He doesn’t have any money, and I don’t have any kids, and anyway he’s been saying ‘Fuck You’ as long as I can remember.
Once was 25 years ago when I was 14 and he was running a surf shop, and someone came in and they disagreed over price. Not for a board, but some marijuana. My dad called it “weed” like he knew what he was doing, but he didn’t. It wasn’t his shop and it wasn’t his weed and it wasn’t his price, and afterward it wasn’t his job anymore.
Another time he and this guy Rick were seeing whether they could finish their third bottle of Tequila before the sun came up — like the song, get it? — and they argued too. Wasn’t drugs, probably a woman, and Rick told my dad as sagely as one drunk can tell another, “You can be friends or you can be careful,” and as the sun rose Rick got up and as he stumbled out my dad said, “Watch your step.”
And the first time I remember was when he, believing he was Gordon Lightfoot, thought it was “alright” and that maybe she’d let him leave his duffel bag behind her couch for when he drifted on by again.
My mom tried to tell him the guy in the song (“Baby, it’s Alright” not “Sundown”) is promising to love the girl until she dies no matter what she does, and that it thus did not quite apply to their situation, and that furthermore she would not be playing the guy in this scenario either, and that furthermore he should not forget his Army duffel.
I was 12, and my dad asked did I want to go to the beach. He didn’t say “and not come back” but at that age hell I might’ve gone anyway.
After my mom said what she said I think he thought he decided he’d be the one to tell people ‘Fuck You’ from now on, but the truth is she hadn’t said that and anyway he started it and anyway when you think about it that isn’t the same thing at all.
This is a work of fiction.
And so I made it as true
as my talents will allow.