Tuesday, October 4, 2011

American Chopper is a detriment to fatherhood

I've been an avid fan and watcher of American Chopper since its inception over 5 years ago. I was fascinated with the imaginative bikes they created, intrigued by the dynamic of the father son relationship, and overall trainwreck that I saw on a weekly basis.

I started watching the show before I was a dad. And now that my son is almost 3 1/2 years old, I have a newfound appreciation to fatherhood. I've also had A LOT of time to reflect on my childhood and how my father interacted with me.

Last night I watched my final episode of American Chopper. The show now consists of 5% bike building and 95% Sr. and his cronies talking shit about Jr. All I see is Sr bad mouthing his sons on national television. All I see is the people working at OCC badmouthing Jr. and Sr. not only agreeing with those people, but adding onto what they are saying.

I understand father son relationships can be hard. I understand that there will be disagreements. I understand that sometimes a father and son will butt heads. However, the constant trashing of his sons on national television finally drove me over the edge last night. I just couldn't take it anymore.

All during the show I kept thinking to both my childhood and my adult life as a Dad. I thought about my first marraige and how my dad said he wouldn't come to my wedding because my grandma and aunt (his mom and sister) would be there. They had a falling out the previous year and so he refused to come to the wedding. He flat out said "I won't come because your aunt and grandma will be there". I asked "For your one and only son Dad? You won't come to the wedding?". His simple one word answer ended up being the most hurtful response he'd ever give me: "NO". I hung up and didn't talk to him for nearly 6 years.

Well, the first marriage didn't work out. That's fine. It wasn't meant to be.

Then, in 2006 I met the beautiful woman I'm married to now. They say the second shot at something is always better. Well, this second shot is wonderful and I'm loving every second being married to my wife and having three kids. BUT, the second wedding was coming up and I called my dad to invite him. Mind you, the wedding was in March. no hot weather, not hurricane like rains... just great weather. He can't handle the hot weather so I figured it would be no problem for him to come to it. But then again, that's what I get for figuring my dad would actually care.

His excuse this time for not coming? I can't make the drive. my rebuttal: Dad, I'll pay for your plane ticket. it's a 45 minute flight. Nope, no can do was the response. It's been nearly a year since I last talked to my dad and the wedding was 5 1/2 years ago. I tried making the relationship work over the phone and even driving up a couple times and visiting. It just didn't work out. I couldn't give anymore to the one way relationship between my father and I. Him being the parent should give 150% to the father son relationship. but I was always the one putting in the effort and getting nothing back.

SO, Siyonara American Chopper. So long Paul Sr. Because of your douchebag ways and pride, the relationship with your sons will never be a good one. You'll always have to be #1 and make sure you have the last word.

Here's the deal: Dads out there... It's not about being #1 or having the last word. It's not about being right or perfect. It's about being a Dad. It's about caring for your kids and setting aside your pride and petty differences and being there for your kids. Regardless of what their faith, personality, sexual orientation, or interests are. You love your kids, you don't say mean or hurtful things to them or about them. You love them 100%.

My son asked me a few weeks ago for a pink car. I couldn't find one at walmart but I've been looking online for the perfect pink car for him. I love him regardless of wanting a camo humvee or a pink mazda miata. I will love him whether he wants to be in gymnastics or wants to play football. I will love him if he wants to play the Clarinet or dance Ballet. I'll love him until my very last breath on this earth and nothing will ever change that. I'll never say a hurtful word to him and I'll help him as best as I can for him to realize his dreams. Why? Because that's what a real man and a real dad does.

Discovery Channel: Maybe instead of making a show that demonstrates a cruel hurtful relationship, you can find a father and son duo who love each other unconditionally and work together harmoniously. Make a show that doesn't have all the drama but all the love and successes of a father son relationship. When you do that, I'll come back to your channel.

Tell me, what do you wish your mom or dad had done for you that they never did?

The Nice Guy

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe no one has responded to this magnificent post. I used to watch the show before it got ugly (so not for long) and I'm bored today and happen to be watching it now and they keep talking about rebuilding their relationship so I went out and googled what they were going on about and I found your post. You really hit the nail on the head. I hadn't watched TV in years and I moved a few months ago where cable is free with the new place and there are so many of these negative shows it's unreal. Now I want to go back to not watching TV. Another show that is so ugly in it's showcase of family dynamics is "Hardcore Pawn" Those people are so hateful to each other it's just unreal (an extremely sexist to the daughter). Every time they claim to be close after they've just stabbed each other in the back and jumped up and down on the knife, it makes me want to puke. I didn't watch that long either but even the commercials for it disgust me.

    My dad was the same way as yours. He did go to my brother's wedding but he "faked" a panic attack so the attention was all on him. He couldn't stop talking about how he didn't like the family of the woman my brother was marrying, etc. He is just a selfish person and actually acts like a child most of the time. I stopped talking to him after that simply because I just don't have the emotional reserves or the patience to deal with a grown man who acts like a child. I've met many dads, young and old who behave that way. They are a real emotional burden to their families instead of being a positive person in their family's lives. My mom was a very independent person so to see my dad acting like a child all the time... yeah, I don't think so.

    But I do recall seeing this guy give half his liver to save his infant daughter and when something went wrong and they thought the liver transplant didn't work, he cried like a baby... That's a dad.

    The liver did work by the way, they just had a suture come undone and it was bleeding out so they fixed it and she was fine. I also saw this guy in Thailand I believe who had a son with some really bad facial tumors and I loved watching the way he interacted with him and how much he cared about his child. You could tell he wanted nothing but the best for him.

    I'll also add this, I don't understand why parents want to be their kids best friend. I think that's a down grade from the awesomeness that is the parent/child relationship. The reality is, that the parent/child relationship also allows for honesty and your child should still want to tell you things if you have a good parent/child relationship. But to reduce it to friendship... bah! Any ole stranger can become your child's friend. What you have as a parent can not be topped!

    Thanks again for this fantastic post and I hope your son gets that pink car. :)