There’s a bit in King of the Hill, that’s slowly becoming one of my favorite. Luanne moves out from Hanks place, living in a house just beside him with a few roommates. When Hank and Peggy are visiting she rants about chores that people in the house need to do. She turns to Hank and says “Oh my god i’ve become you.”
Later Hank is talking to Luanne and says “You said it like ‘Oh my god i’ve become you” when really you should have said “Huh i’ve become you!”
I remember my dad watching king of the hill with us once. He was never much into watching cartoons, though sometimes when we’d come down he’d be watching Shrek and quickly flip the channel. I wonder if it was confusing to see someone that seemed so much like him on TV in character form. I wonder if he’d be annoyed at the progression of the character, it’s origins and redemption. I wonder if he’d understand the balance of a character that has been laughed at by so many but lauded by many others.
How much of Hanks is real? How much of it is a creator realizing in real time what we all realize. How much was exploring a character and realizing you were wrong, that the original angry ranting lawn mower guy had more to him than meets the eyes. That things viewed from a teenage / young adult slacker eye aren’t always the most accurate. I wonder if my dad saw this, how growing up changes you, how you progress and change.
My dad drank Folgers every morning. Two cups from his mug while reading the newspaper. Every morning I remember the sound of his coffee pot slowly dripping.
I never liked the smell, coffee reminded me of the ungodly hour I had to wake up, the slurping of milk from the cereal bowls and later the slow drone of a Lightin' Hopkins song on my brothers stereo in the car. Coffee reminded me of the heat squished in the back seat of my dads old truck on the way to a high school I desperately wanted to leave, the repetition of a dripping pot of coffee an alarm clock a slurp of milk then a slow long drive to a place I hated while old blues played day after day.
It’s no surprise to me when I got to college that I would be against coffee. The acquired taste of something meant you had to endure painful years of gross roast only to find yourself addicted and in need of the very thing you hated.
My professor at the time said
“I drank coffee cause it was cheap, I could get unlimited refills, and it was something to do with my friends all night”
I wanted to impress people. For the first time people had come into my life and for one reason or another thought I was interesting. We'd seek out some coffee shop at midnight, and sit and talk until 2 in the morning. I began to understand my professor.
I still wanted to impress people, I would sneak lattes and mochas behind their backs. Trying to hurry along my consumption and acquire the taste. I'd sneak a few packs of sugar in a black coffee and pretend I didn't. To me black coffee was the sophisticated drink of my father, a wholly masculine drink that only someone who has spent years drinking would appreciate.
I think now to my dad flipping the channel between Shrek and some nature show. I wonder if the nature shows were an acquired taste, if he had, like me, peppered them in with sweet shows and cartoons, old movies from the golden era.
”Oh my god i’ve become you”
I worry i’ll repeat mistakes of my father, or mistakes of his father, or mistakes of his father’s father. I wonder how many of these things are passed down, how much of the cycle is watching yourself become the person you never thought you would. I wonder how much of it is learning you are ok with becoming that person. I wonder how much of it is enjoying becoming that person.
“Hey I’ve become you!”
My dad always seems to work himself to the bone. It’s hard to see him any other way now then a man working on a project, bleeding and bruising himself, exerting all his strength to get something finished. Then to move on to the next one. Always working always improving something, always trying to create something new.
I like to think i inherited this from him. Always making something, moving on to the next piece, creating and trying. I wonder when we’ll both be finished. When he’ll stop making, and improving. When he’ll learn that everything is fine and perfect. There are worst traits to inherit, there are worse things than a lifetime of being handy or creative. There are worst acquired taste then a long healthy life and a sharp enough brain to process it all.
I listen to more and more of the country music that was always playing in his truck. I think more and more about how my body is becoming his, how my face and shoulders, my legs and feet are morphing in age to look more and more like the old pictures I see of him at my age.
I hope i’ll repeat the successes of my father, or the successes of his father, or his father’s father. I wonder how many of these traits are passed down, how much of the cycle is watching yourself become the person you hoped you would.