Greek Mythology: The Story of My Father and His Son
My father was not a very good man. He was an alcoholic, womanizer and physically abusive to his wives (he was married twice) and his children. He had a genius mind, with a simpleton's attention span. If he were to be given an evaluation today, he may be on the autistic spectrum, maybe leaning toward Asperger's. He would sit on his throne and eschew orders like he was ready at any moment to wield the lightning bolt and kill us all. He was the Zeus to my Ares, and despite everything I loved him fiercely. I defended him even when he wouldn't defend himself and since I have a fiery temper (anyone can ask my wife, the only fire extinguisher I will ever need), we often clashed like titans. It is a good thing we shared the mutual love of exploring ancient Greek myths and figures, as we could have been reading about ourselves. My Zeus died in 2008.
When I was young, my father and I were forced by the courts to spend weekends together after he and my mother divorced. She was tired of Zeus, and bashed his head in with a frying pan while I watched wide-eyed and silent. During these visits, my father would at least pretend to be sober enough to entertain the product of his first wild, young marriage. He had a huge collection of books, pictures and slides of Greece and the mythologies which could appear to anyone else to be funny since we are 150% Italian. I would stare in fascination at these pictures of places, pretending I was there; and the people, pretending I was them. Eventually my father would finish whatever was in his cup and come find me, furiously afraid I was destroying his collection and threatening ghastly vengeance on me if I had. What he did do was make me want to look more.
Eventually I could read, and instead of chasing me out of his office would actually spend time with me in there, most of the time sleeping it off I realize now. But as I read on through the months I began to worry less and less I...
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