Puff Daddy or Stupidity is a False Witness

People often ask me where I’ve learned so much about stupers and how my stupidity studies started. I explain that I lived with a world class stuper (short for a mystifyingly stupid person) for many years.

I seldom mention my father. In fact, I prefer never bringing him up. In my youth, I was so certain that the man I called “Dad” was an impostor. I believed my real father would show up someday. And he’d be loving, kind and wise. But alas, many blood tests later (our blood types are the same and uncommon), and the poser is definitely the real thing.

From my earliest memories, I realized Dad excelled in lying and bending the truth so out of shape that it lay in a helpless heap on the floor, panting and out of breath. Besides telling falsehoods, Dad’s other greatest weakness lay in his perception of himself in relation to others. He believed everyone was stupid but him, including his wife and children. Hence, he lied freely.

Without revealing too many unpleasant details, I offer two examples of his wayward mind:

First, after my parents’ divorce (I was sixteen at the time; the year my life began), my father commenced telling everyone within earshot his perceived reason for the split between my mother and himself. He even had the audacity to explain his faulty reasoning to me. He said,

“My friends wanna know, why did you get a divorce? I told them it was because of my damn in-laws…”

If one is going to lie, it is important to ensure that the person on the receiving end of the lie either has amnesia or a very short memory. Even more important is for the liar him/herself to have instant recall and/or an impeccable memory.

I took a deep breath and reminded Dad of who used to answer the telephone in our home during the hours in which my mother worked and only father and kids were at home. Me. Then I reminded him of who had been on the other end of the line when I answered said phone. His latest mistress/tramp/floozy. He quickly changed the topic.

Dad had numerous flings during his marriage, and assumed we were blind and deaf. We were not.

The other example occurred just a few days ago. My father called me to say that his doctor discovered that he has an enlarged thyroid which could be cancerous. This doctor wanted to know whether my father’s children (my sister and I) had a history of thyroid issues. At that moment, I placed the receiver down on the kitchen counter as he spoke, and bit my lips and blinked my eyes in utter frustration. Decades have passed, and my father has not made a shred of progress. Since when does a physician ask about your children’s medical history in such a case? They ask about parents’ history, when applicable, for heaven’s sake.

I picked up the phone again. Now he was saying that the doctor insisted that if he doesn’t have an operation immediately, the cancer will grow. It went from “could be cancerous” to a sure thing in two minutes flat. And this ingenious general practitioner physician, according to Dad, had determined all this from a first visit. As we know, stuper doctors do exist, as stupers may be found in every vocation. However, here undoubtedly, all fault lay in my father’s story.

A few years ago, mad at myself for losing my temper over a trivial matter, I complained to my then fourteen-year-old son. My father had a penchant for flying into rages, so I stated that my temper and any failings I had were because of him. My son, being far wiser than myself, said,

“What about all your good qualities? They come from him too. He taught you exactly how not to act.”

Something we should all learn from the stupers among us. How not to behave.

I was exceedingly fortunate when growing up, to have a saintly mother and extraordinary grandparents who more than made up for my father’s shortcomings. I’ve stayed in touch with Dad off and on over the years (off whenever he had a new family; on after each divorce, which happened about three times that I know of), and often wondered why. It would be a lot easier to kiss stupidity goodbye as far as he’s concerned. But the answer is simple. I have so much, and he has so little in his life. And I’ve honed a (mostly) even temper and other desirable qualities, thanks to him.

Think.

Keli

Keli@counterfeithumans.com

7 Responses to “Puff Daddy or Stupidity is a False Witness”

  1. Sarah says:

    This must have been hard for you to write. But you sure did a good job and managed it very well!

  2. Suzie says:

    We do learn a lot from stupers. In your case, not to lose your temper, among other things.

  3. FerdC says:

    I’m very sorry to hear that about your dad. Sounds like a sexual addiction of some sort. It wrecks families.

    And I’m glad that you somehow translated those experiences into positives in you own life. You sound grateful for having “so much,” and pity (rather than anger) at his own plight. I like that, Keli.

    On a lighter note, this story reminded me of the Berenstein Bears. I used to read those stories to my kids when they were very young. The father bear always thought he could do stuff, and always messed up. And the kids would say, “That was a very good lesson for me.” They learned what NOT to do. I remember I used to relate quite a lot to that father bear.

    It’ sad that some people don’t quite live and learn. They live and keep messing up. I’ll say a prayer or two for your dad.

  4. Starlily says:

    Hi Keli,
    Your post was touching and meaningful to me. I had a step parent who passed away from cancer, and it was a difficult time, especially with the memories that we had shared. I feel really blessed that we were able to make peace at the end.
    I think a lot of people can relate to situations over which they really didn’t have much control over as a child. I think it is a very important life lesson that although we don’t have any control over others’ actions, we still take responsibility for our own, and how we respond. That is something that I try to model for my children.
    Your blog is the first one I came back to-your writing is always so inspiring!
    Thanks!

  5. Keli says:

    Sarah:
    Thank you!
    Suzie:
    It’s important to remember that when forced to deal with stupers.
    Ferd:
    Thank you – that’s very kind of you. I feel certain you overwhelmingly do set a good example for your kids.
    Starlily:
    Good to see you back up and running! And thank you, also, for your kind comment. It’s all about obtaining peace, isn’t it? Excellent point about focusing on what we can control, not the actions of others.

  6. Dan says:

    Hi Keli,
    Being an avid follower of your blog, I believe this is the first time you have written something personal and I was in two minds abt commenting as I was uncomfortable. But after going through all your posts from April till July ( all superbly written! ), I decided to drop a comment on this particular post as it was…touching and not an easy thing to write. It was also distinctly differently from your usual posts abt stupers and I am glad that things work out well for you.

    Incidentally, there is a blog that I came across recently that had a post abt father/child relationship that resonated almost like yours. You might want to visit it at :
    http://goingback.wordpress.com/2007/09/10/how-not-to-be-parents/

    Regards.

  7. Keli says:

    Dan:
    It’s always wonderful to hear from you, and I’m grateful that you took the time to read my posts. In fact, I’m staggered! April – July! Wow! Yes, this was very personal, and I came close to pressing the delete button several times. But I thought that if there’s some one out there not at peace with their parents, this might help.
    Thanks again, Dan!

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