Dad’s brain

I’ve shifted into the mellow part of my summer in the US. I’m at my folks’ house in California’s central valley, that vast expanse of farmland that provides most of the nation with fruits, vegetables, and meat.

Right now, I’m sitting at my dad’s computer workstation, typing up this post. On the outside, my dad is a pretty mellow guy with an odd sense of humor. But inside he’s a rabid political activist with no real practical means of getting it out of his system. So he plasters the walls and bookshelves with all kinds of interesting stuff:

  • A poster of Ghandi, spinning thread.
  • Post-it notes everywhere, one of which reads “We live on dead people’s heads” (quote by Annie Dillard).
  • A newspaper clipping of Joan Baez’s upcoming Bay Area concert.
  • A plastic sign in Arabic that reads “Closed: Prayer Time.”
  • Two quotes printed out on a standard sheet of paper: “Memento mori (Remember Death)” and “Carpe deum (Hold onto God)”
  • A picture of Dorthy Day with the quote “Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.”
  • A framed Time magazine cover of Robert Kennedy. A small bronze bust of John F. Kennedy next to it.
  • Four bumper stickers: “Bush Lied People Died.” “Gore Won.” “I don’t have to like Bush to love America.” and “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carying across.”
  • Interestingly, above that bumper sticker is a crucifix that has been in the family for as long as I can remember.

It’s not just political stuff. There are pictures of family everywhere, like my niece immortalized into a mouse pad. We have Steelers memorabilia, some going back as far as the early ’80s. Stacks and stacks of folders, files, binders, old magazines and newspapers. Maps, notes, cassette tapes, and other odd things shoved into plastic bags, themselves jammed into empty spaces in the well-stocked bookshelves that line both walls.

This is my dad’s cave, an extension of his brain. His beliefs, loves, work and passions in effect downloaded and presented back at him.

And now, as I finish up this post, I can hear him in the kitchen, yelling at the TV. I can’t quite make out what’s got him so fired up now. But I did hear the name George Bush in there.

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4 Responses to “Dad’s brain”

  1. Hey! I think I know that guy!

  2. I love the “cave”! It sure says a lot about the man. I think it’s your neice AND nephew on that mouse pad (sorry – it’s a mom thing!) I’m sure somewhere in that mess there is also the old poster I remember from childhood – “War is not good for children and other living things”

  3. Sorry, I think it’s just the niece. – before the nephew was even born.

    I think you missed a few things – like the accounting textbooks nobody will ever read again, or the book reviews ripped from the newspaper and taped to the walls. But, man – nail on the head!

    If I remember correctly there’s also a sofa in there, which definitely comes in handy. That way he can nap in there without the chance of being overheard talking!

  4. Your dad and my dad should hang out.

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