Thirteen Ways of Looking At My Father
1. Does not believe in dinosaurs. Even though his wife studied archeology & anthropology.
2. Cannot wink his left eye and when given a right-sighted rifle during his military service, he couldn’t hit any targets. He’s also technically a deserter from the Syrian Army, not that anyone cares anymore.
3. Has perfectly straight teeth, with no cavities.
4. Has a weird hippie first name that actually means ‘free’ because his father suffered from some awful skin ailment while my grandmother was pregnant with my dad and my grandfather vowed if God would heal/deliver him from this illness, he would honor his 3rd son with a name acknowledging his ‘freedom from suffering.’ Armenians make a lot of vows to God and also discuss suffering a lot, just FYI
5. Hates hospitals because in the camp where he grew up, if you went to the hospital, you died.
6. Used to smoke Old Golds until my sister was born. Was a very sloppy smoker, according to my mother. Burned holes in all his shirts and ties, the car upholstery, etc.
7. Is the youngest of four children.
8. Is an expert in power generation. He designs generators for things like the Patriot Missile. Or Navy submarines & destroyers. Or for use in Bolivian tin mines. Super cuddly stuff.
9. Has astigmatism and nearsightedness. He looks weird without glasses. I used to flick him in his glasses when I was a teenager & he’d get super mad: “Don’t! That gets a dirt on them!”
10. Used to speak Arabic & Turkish; only has about a 4th grade knowledge of written Armenian. He also messes up his plurals and pronoun genders constantly; Armenian doesn’t truck with those concepts like English does.
11. Came to the United States in 1964. Attended college in South Dakota. Survived weekends away from the cafeteria meal plan by buying a loaf of bread and two cans of Campbells soup. He was a table tennis champion in college, too.
12. Rode his 3-speed bicycle to work for many years. Then a 98 Olds which only had one working signal & no brakes. Finally when he got promoted, he decided to stop looking like such a loser and get a new car. He bought a Chrysler New Yorker from our nextdoor neighbor, with power-everything and a leather interior. He & the neighbor sealed the deal with a handshake & a glass of whiskey.
13. Has no middle name. Armenians don’t do middle names, sorry