I had a rather surreal experience last night that's difficult to dislodge from the ol' noggin. Well, I guess my noggin isn't that old...I'm only 26. Whatever it's an expression - stop being such an asshole.
So yesterday was my father's birthday. My mother, sister and I bought him a DVD which was converted from old tapes of family gatherings. Birthdays, parties and just random shit.
Editor's Note: It's funny to see adults behave like adults do. What I mean by that is that my mother was filming my sister when the girl was two. As many two-year-olds do, she would remove her clothes at any given time. My mom, who was operating the camera, said to my sister, "Do you like to take off your clothes?" She responded, "Yes." My mom then said, "Do you like to do it for money?" Again she replied, "Yes." I think the nature/nurture debate is now settled. Wait, did I just call my sister a whore? She's gonna kick my ass.
Addendum to Editor's Note: My father pulled down his pants in two separate videos, had cigarettes stuffed up his nose in two separate videos, and was taking a shit in another video. None of this surprised me. What did surprise me was him taking a shot of liquor because he doesn't drink, but then while no one was "looking" he spit the shot out into his in-law's plant. That's better.
Not only did I see videos of deceased relatives whom I loved more than anything...I saw me: Five-year-old Dan running around doing his thing. As one grows up one hears stories about themself, but it's obviously completely different to see it on screen.
Editor's Note: I was really fucking adorable, not gonna lie. Whether or not I got better looking is entirely debatable.
Man I was such a nice kid. So naturally sweet and compassionate, full of hugs and simply wanting to play and love my family. It makes me wonder what has changed.
As you grow up you're bound to change, but it pains me to see some things I became after seeing the innocent young self I once was. Sure I'm still a nice guy, and sure I threw temper tantrums in the videos that I may or may not throw now, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that growing up kind of sucks - everyone gets older, but it's a shame that time often forces some of the past out from the front of our minds. That's why videos like these are essential to me.
I haven't changed in the sense that I love more than most, but I think now I don't act on it as much as I should. I understand that it's important to be selfish in a sense as we age, but there's so much that my young self would have been disappointed in. But what did he know? More than I gave him credit for, I think.
Now I'm not a very emotional person. The things that get my water working are corny things like a good song or a sad scene in an animated movie - genocide, funerals and stuff like that do not affect me like they do most.
But I don't see how you can't be strongly moved by seeing your dead family personified, only for a few moments. To see your great uncle reach to give his wife a kiss on her 80th birthday, flashing the numbers on his wrist that were engraved from suffering the Holocaust; to see your grandmother who you didn't realize you loved as much as you did until she was gone; to see yourself a mere five years young, raising a glass in a toast - surrounded by people who are no longer here - and saying, "I love you."
Sure I'm biased because it's my family, but I come from a foundation of extremely generous people - people who suffered hardships that many have, but came out of it with a sense of dignity and willingness to better the future of their children. I'm one of those children. I won't let them down.
Have I so far? Nope...not at all. The main reason for that is because they loved me because I'm "Daniel." Actions dictate a person, but no matter what I did as a kid their love for me never wavered. And I believe that if they were alive today, it still wouldn't. I come from a wise family - one with imperfections just like yours - and my family has my back, no matter what. And I have theirs. I am undoubtedly one of the luckiest people to have ever existed. Videos like the ones I'm referring to are imperative because they remind me so.
This is the first blog entry I've ever written that constricted my chest - that I think, "There is no way I can talk about what I'm writing." I'm glad I don't do this too often...it's not my style.
And for you Ace, whose first reaction is to call me a "fag," just know that you were on these videos too. Tell your dad that he looks like a fucking doofus on a trampoline.