The most disappointing day in a young man's life is the day he realizes his own father isn't a deity in waiting. The first time I ever contemplated this incredibly profound concept was the day I watched an episode of Frazier where they explained the same concept. In that episode Frazier's realization of his own fathers mortality was a hysterical scene describing Martin's inability to do math in his head and Frazier's perception of his father's fall from grace.
My father, and I are both ravenous Denver Broncos football fans. Sunday is a sacred day to us in nearly religious proportions. He and I both clear our schedule during the fall and winter months, fire up the crock-pot and enjoy a few bitter brews while yelling emphatically at a TV, crying for more efficient offense, a more stalwart defense, and pleading for a head coach who can be competent for at least the next two plays.
It was cold but clear that day, and my father had a recycling-bin half full of beer cans that had been empty that morning. At eight years old, today was a perfect day for building a snow fort and waging war with the neighbors, and I was missing a perfectly good opportunity to get out there and work. The only hitch to the day's perfect plan? I couldn't find my mittens. So I was running outside, working in the snow until I couldn't feel my fingers, and then running inside and dipping them in warm water until they stopped hurting. After an hour of this behavior he had finally had enough, drunkenly demanded that: It was time to stay outside or stay inside, but this "in and out bullshit had to stop". The Broncos were losing in an embarrassing manner, and I wasn't helping the situation.
It came out that I couldn't find my mittens. "If you can't find them soon, I'm going to pick you up and slam you against this wall" he declared.
I continued the search in a half-hearted manner. Searching all of the places I had searched a dozen times before. Checking under my bed, in my closet, behind the game station in my room, underneath dirty clothes, and there were simply no gloves to be found.
My biggest mistake was thinking I could handle his strength. I was only worried about my head, and I figured putting my chin to my chest would keep my head from banging against the wall.
"Go ahead and do it, because I'm done looking." I retorted defiantly.
Before I could cringe, and shrink away, he lifted me to shoulder length, and slammed me against the hallway wall. My head snapped back and bounced against the wall twice. My nasal cavity and the back of my head felt as if they were experiencing oxygen for the first time, moments before I passed out. I woke up to my dad sitting on the kitchen floor, holding me and sobbing. He was clutching my mittens in his hands, and when I came to, he explained that he had put them on the top shelf in the closet and forgotten they where there. Ostensibly he had punished me for something I had no control over.
I had a concussion, and felt room spinning vigorously every time I laid down for a month. They never took me to a doctor, I lost my innocence the day that Frazier episode aired a few years later, when I realized I knew at the age of 8 that my father wasn't perfect. No boy should lose his innocence to his fathers violence.