Author Archives: jtzl

Hey dad

Hey dad, how’s it going? It’s weird to write you, on account of your being dead and all, but I just wanted to say hi. It’s been just over 26 years since you’ve died, and it’s just been hard for me to let it go.

This year, I really wanted to talk to you, to let you know what my life is like, but it’s weird because if you were around for me to tell you about my life, it wouldn’t be anything like it is. It’s funny because I remember you as like a fun and happy-go-lucky kinda guy. You seemed really smart to me, back when I was a boy, but I bet I’d judge your intellect as less impressive now. I’d probably judge a lot about you because I judge everything–everything and everyone. The day you died was the most formative single day in my life. Up until then, I was a privileged little jerk. Like you identified months before your passing, back when I was in 7th grade, I was not on a great path. I just wanted to be cool and to like work as hard as I needed in order to get A’s and B’s or whatever. But when you died, I immediately had to navigate many more complexities of life, and the experience of grappling with your passing really taught me a lot about taking care of myself and the importance of pursuing my interests and passions.

I have so much more I want to say, but it’s almost midnight. I’ve been trying to get to sleep ….well, I haven’t… I’ve been *meaning* to get to sleep earlier, but I keep on staying up working until 2 or 3 am. I’m so tired from sleeping so little, and I’m additionally just exhausted from dealing with chronic pain for years. It’s this whole thing I don’t really have the time to explain right now. Maybe I’ll write more later, but for now I should get going.

I should thank you, though. Leaving aside the sorta sad lessons you taught me by going off and getting yourself killed, you and mom really gave me a great childhood; one that allowed me to be a privileged little jerk for several years. Moreover, you helped foster my interests and helped me develop into a critical thinker. I remember all the times you or Jimmy used to drive me to the city library after school so I could navigate the Dewey Decimal System and the card catalog to write random-ass research papers. I think back often to how that speech class that taught me how to make outlines was one of the best pedagogical experiences I ever had, and I attribute my command of outlines and my thoughtfulness to the support you showed me by dropping me off to pursue my independent studies. That was really a great experience, and I wish I had a way to show you all my accomplishments and challenges and everything so you could see that I have really done my best to make something of myself, despite significant challenges along the way.

I miss you and wish you had lived. I was always afraid I’d lose you, and I lost you the worst way a person can lose. I really wish you had been more careful.

p.s. my girlfriend dumped me like the day after the anniversary of your death. She was great,  and I miss her. Unfortunately, I think some of the effects of losing you have stuck with me and made it harder for me to like “share a life.” Plus, this chronic pain thing I mentioned is really a downer for people who feel comfortable inside their bodies. I’ve been working for 9 years to get out of pain, and I’ve made some progress….but it’s slow. Unlike my many digressions, which come so easily. Take care of yourself, dad.