Dear Obi Wan,
I’d planned on starting these before you were born, but, well, you came along and life got really busy for some reason (I barely played the Gears of War 3 Beta at all… at least, after you popped out that is…). I’m not really putting it out there as an excuse, so much as an explanation, there’s a lot of stuff that sits on my to do list, often getting bumped or reprioritised – it’s who I am, and so you can judge me as you see fit.
You see, that’s what these are about (I use ‘these’ because I plan on writing a number, note: ‘plan’). The purpose of these letters are that, if something terrible happens to me and you don’t get to know me properly, these should provide an insight into who your father really was.
Morbid, I know, but terrible things happen all the time – and I like to play the numbers.
And yes, there will (probably) be others who can tell you about me. They will lie. Some will lie to make me seem better than I am – some will lie to make me seem worse. The former, don’t hold that against them, they want you to see a rose coloured version of your father (which makes me feel sunburnt, but we’ll move on) and they want you to have something to aspire to. I’m not perfect, which I’m sure you’ll realise pretty quickly. The latter, well, feel free to ignore them – they can’t hurt me anymore, and they couldn’t when I was alive – if they’re are that sort of person, you can’t do much to change them, and if people believe them, well, it’s their own fault for being stupid.
You are going to encounter stupidity a lot. That’s not my fault.
There will be some who will tell you the truth, or at least something that closely resembles the truth. Depending on how old you are, they will probably withhold some things until you’re older, this is reasonable. (Yeah, some of my life is rated MA 15+… uh, mostly for the coarse language…) When you understand these people, and their biases, then you can understand their perspective.
See, even these letters are mitigated, and should be questioned – am I indeed presenting myself as honestly as I could be? That’s certainly my intent, but you’ll discover that it’s really difficult to be completely objective.
I guess I should start with the most practical of elements – genetic predisposition – to help prepare you for the future.
There is a good chance that you will need glasses. Don’t worry about this – there’s also a good chance that laser eye surgery will be affordable. You can also wear contacts. Hopefully though, you’ll get lucky and have 20/20 vision.
You may have issues with blood pressure. Try not to stress too much, which is tough because you may also have a temper. I have a temper – and I hope that this revelation will come as a surprise to you, as I have done my best to keep it in check.
You are at risk for diabetes. Basically, listen to your mother about food – she’s a better influence than I am in this regard. And whilst it is generally manageable, it’s still better to avoid it altogether.
You may carry the recessive gene for red hair. Sorry. That’s totally your mother’s fault.
You may be allergic to furry caterpillars. You’ll probably just welt up if you touch them, so it’s pretty safe as long as they don’t get onto your neck. The best part about this is when people ask if you have any allergies (generally relating to food) you can answer ‘furry caterpillars’. Yes, that is the sort of humour that I do. And no, it doesn’t get old that quickly, because it doesn’t come up that often.
You will probably go grey, but not bald. You should hope for my genes in this case.
It is possible that you’ll suffer from depression – it’s on the increase generally – and you do have a genetic disposition. I’ll tell you, along with awareness campaigns, that it’s not something to be ashamed of, and that you should talk to people about it. (Even if this is advice that I have difficulty following.) The issue, more than anything else, is you’ll likely find that people are so caught up in themselves that they aren’t really interested, or they already have so much else to worry about, that you don’t want to add to their burdens… speculatively speaking, of course.
You’ve probably noticed that you have an abundance of Hot Wheels track, most likely enough to run the length of a house, as well as enough Thomas wooden track to serve the Lego city you could build… That’s partly completionist, and partly mild OCD – and, well, let’s be honest, if you’re going to have a railroad, it should be functional – hence the rolling stock, the end buffers and plenty of track for sidings, and multiple stations… seriously, one station is redundant except in tourist lines… Some of it is also ‘value’, but we’ll talk about bargains later.
Now, I’m not really sure if this is nature or nurture, but the family have a tendency to have an over developed social conscience. We tend to, in our own way, give back to society. Which for me, may sound odd, given my self- declared dislike of people in general. I’m at odds to explain it, but thought you should be aware… warning perhaps? I don’t know – it just seemed like something we’d discuss at some point.
All things considered, not that bad really.
(Maybe you’ve noticed that I’ve pretty much focused on my side of the family, and that’s partly because that’s the side I know best, but it’s mostly because that’s my story to tell. Which I realise is a statement that warrants further explanation, but you’ll have to wait for that.)
Ultimately, I’m not sure exactly what genetic hand you’ve been dealt – just play it as best you can.
And I guess the most important thing, my son, is that I may not have said it much (I hope I have), but I love you. And I’m probably proud of you.
With love, your Father.