Zuke, I Am Your Grandfather


Were my dad alive for his birthday today, he’d be eighty years old. I wish he was here just to stump my boys mathematically – they couldn’t fathom it – eighty years. Just the other day, Zuki asked me if I was alive in 1812.

I asked him if he was serious.

Then he asked me if I was almost a hundred years old.

I told him yes just to stop the conversation because I knew he would never do the math.

Although my dad and Samu only spent a year and a half together on Earth, Samu sometimes says he misses him. Since I doubt he has that extraordinary of a memory, I’m assuming he’s missing the potential of pilfering another grandparent out of money.

To Samu’s credit, he does remember something about “Gigi” – that he would lie on the daybed to take a nap. That’s about it. I told him how my dad used to praise him for neatly putting his shoes away before entering the house. It was a rather “obsessive-compulsive” action for a one year old to take and little did I know it would get much, much worse – but that’s another story.

Zuki, of course wanted a story of his grandfather praising him.

So, I recounted a time when Zuki accidentally turned on the oven cleaner and almost set the house on fire. My father clearly called him a little rascal.

How is that praise?

Because since his stroke, he never made any sense. He’d call me “Machi” and he’d call everyone else “Pachi” – but “rascal” – was reserved just for his grandson.

He didn’t look disappointed with that story – he didn’t seem affected at all. In that way, he reminds me of my dad. The punchline was always way over their heads. My dad would laugh at a joke a good ten minutes later, while Zuki made you explain it until he turned into a gay fish.

And there are other ways: the way it takes forever for them to get to the point, the way they are remotely fascinated with the military, the movies and accessories.The way they they take forever to leave, which is how my dad was dubbed “The Prince” by my mom. Naturally, Zuki is “Prince 2.”

Samu is “The Princess” but again – that’s another story.

My mother thinks my comparisons are fixated, delusional bullshit based on a father complex. Perhaps she’s right. We all see what we want to see – or in this case – who we want to see. Maybe Zuki is just like me but I see my father because I don’t want to see myself.

Does that make me Zuki’s grandfather? There has to be a punchline in there somewhere.

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Author: Namzola_Goodness

A Japanese-American who grew up in the streets of New York during the racially volatile 70's, Nami blogs with guts, heart and humor. Dysfunctional parenting, cynical citizenship and...love of beer to wash it all down.

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