In Which The Author Suffers A Failure Of Parenting Ability And Is Literally Burned As A Result

Approximately ninety seconds after pulling up at Adkins Raceway in eastern Ohio for John’s first race in the Junior Sportsman class, I realized that I was the only father who had not pulled a trailer to the event. The concrete path to the pre-grid was lined with the kind of hardware that in my world is used to haul pampered Bimmers from one CCA pretend race to the next; twenty-footers, twenty-four-footers with big side doors. While I was realizing this, a massive Fleetwood RV pulled into the spot next to me and an arrogant-looking tween-ager popped out to effortlessly set the stationary jacks with the aid of a Snap-On electric ratchet.

“We don’t have a trailer,” John said, and he looked up at me in much the same way that I suspect Chris Pirsig would look at Robert during the worst parts of their cross-country trip. Dad didn’t plan. Dad doesn’t know what’s going on. We are different from everybody else. This cannot be good.

“Not yet,” I chirped, “I didn’t know if we would need one.” I grabbed John’s shoulders and steered us both out of the way of a hurried-looking father pushing a brand-new TonyKart on a electric-lifter rolling stand. The man’s son strode behind him, imperious and unworried behind the mirrored visor of the same $1,500 carbon-fiber Impact! helmet that I use in my racing. I get ten years out of mine; if this kid was anything like John, his helmet would be outgrown and junked by Christmas.

We were late, we were underprepared, and John’s kart didn’t run. Things looked pretty bad from the jump. Naturally, I figured out a way to make them worse.


Eight months ago, I thought I had it all figured out. After a few conversations with the owner of Margay Karts in St. Louis, we’d agreed on a program where John would run one of their cadet karts powered by the 206cc Briggs&Stratton engine for a full season that would end with an appearance at the Rock Island Grand Prix. The stage was set for my son to follow-up his promising debut in 50cc KidKarts with ten or maybe even twelve races in state-of-the-art machinery across the Midwest.

It fell apart in kind of slow motion. Through a series of miscommunications with John’s mother, all of them admittedly my fault, I didn’t get all of the race weekends blocked out of his calendar far enough in advance. Then the Margay fellow started pulling a slow fade on me. My emails went unanswered, but every time I could get him on the phone he’d swear that everything was about to be built and delivered. In April he asked for me to measure John for a seat. After that he stopped returning calls.

I’m a fairly trusting person by nature so it took me until July to realize that I’d pissed away half of the season waiting for an extended “California No.” Still, I did promise him that I would mention Margay in writing, so here goes: If I were you, I wouldn’t buy a Margay, just in case they’re just as bad at delivering everybody else’s kart. You should consider something else. Which is a shame, because Margays are made in America and that’s a big thing for me. Nevertheless, screw them.

This is the point in the story where I should have rung up a reputable distributor and bought a brand-new kart for John. But I knew just enough to know that I didn’t know how enthusiastic John would be about the jump to Junior Sportsman. It’s a big jump. The engines have more than twice the power and the karts are physically large enough to handle a twelve-year old. It’s almost directly equivalent to cutting your teeth on a Spec Miata and then being handed the keys to an IMSA Conti GS Mustang. Furthermore, I didn’t know exactly what he would need in a kart. It seemed safest to buy something used.

Which I did late last month, driving out to Pittsburgh to buy an old Birel cadet kart with a fresh Comer K80 engine from a former WKA winner who was just getting his own kids into karting. His son was the same age as John but he was too small to use the Birel effectively. Consider this a Chekov’s Gun moment, only instead of a gun we’ll be talking later about how big and heavy and difficult to control the kart is. The price was more than fair and I liked the cut of the kart dad’s jib, so I paid him and brought the kart home.

Our first practice session in my cul-de-sac didn’t go well. To begin with, the Comer K80 is monstrously fucking loud and we are talking no-go-at-Laguna-Seca loud. John was visibly unnerved just sitting next to it. When he finally agreed to drive it around, it was obviously a handful for him to operate. Not to mention it could spin the back tires at will like a Z06 Vette. When the chain fell off after five minutes’ driving and refused to stay on, we called it a day.

After some discussion, John and I agreed to target the August 19th practice day at Adkins Raceway, which had been recommended to us by Paul the kart dad. This almost entirely refurbished track features a “Monza turn” which is a massive carousel banked at nearly thirty degrees. Why anybody ever thought it was good for children, I have no idea. But it was built back in the days when we encouraged children to smoke Camels so there you go.

Our plans were derailed because John’s mother had already scheduled something for that day. With admirable stupidity I decided that we would just go and do the race on the following day instead. After all, there would be morning practice. Surely we could fix the kart once we got there, at which point John would magically learn the track in a very short practice session followed by a race with ten bloodthirsty children who had six races under their belts already this season.

Saturday afternoon, after John’s existing plans were finished, I took him to Lowe’s and he picked out colors for his kart. Then I showed him how to tape off and paint the old red Birel bodywork, which he did very well. We ended up with a sort of black-and-gold Bandit Trans Am theme. During the bodywork reinstallation, I managed to tilt the intake the wrong way and the fucking engine hydrolocked on oil. I then spent ninety minutes pulling the cord with the spark plug out before it would start again. Finally, I adjusted the chain tension to what seemed right and we called it an evening.

Come Sunday morning, John and Danger Girl had their act together but I didn’t. Every time I turned around I realized I needed an additional tool. I got so agitated that I lost the keys to the truck. They were actually in my back pocket, but it took me six long minutes to find them. By the time we got to the track, it had been open forty minutes.

John’s eyes went fairly wide when he saw the size of the track and the Monza banking. It didn’t help that everybody around us in pre-grid was revving their engines to holy hell. I was fairly unnerved and I have an FIA International B license. He decided he didn’t want to go out. Meanwhile, I was trying like hell to get the engine started. But it wouldn’t start. Finally I managed to wake it up — but although John was sitting in the kart, he was pleading with me through his half-closed visor not to send him out.

It’s at times like these that I realize that I have no effective parenting manual for situations of this nature. How do you force a child to go out on a very scary track in a very scary kart, surrounded by kids half again as old as he is? So I did exactly the wrong thing.

“If you want to walk away,” I snapped, “get out and walk away.” He gave me the wide-eyed Chris Pirsig look. “Get out,” I said, “and walk away.”

“No,” he whispered so low that I had to read his lips, “I can do it.” Then the kart died.

“Congratulations,” I said, “you got your way after all.” Some day in the near future I’m probably going to find out that I have inoperable colon cancer and I will know that I deserve that cancer just for having uttered that repugnant, narcissistic, hateful phrase. Luckily for me I think the other karts were too loud for him to hear it.

For the next practice session, he agreed to get in the kart. I reset the mixture screws to the baselines recommended in the factory manual and it started, although it didn’t sound particularly strong. He went out for one lap, was buzzed by a bunch of faster kids, and came in. “What the fuck is he doing?” I asked Danger Girl. She managed to deliver an effective lecture on parenting and motivation as we were running to pit lane.

“Nobody ever bothered to motivate me,” I said. “Nobody ever gave a shit if I went racing or not.”

“Shut up with the self-pity.”

“It’s just,” I responded weakly, “that he has to want it. Or there’s no point.” But when we got there John was ready to go back out. He just didn’t want to do more than two laps at a time. So I knew that the first race, which would be six laps, was going to be a problem. It didn’t help that I botched his startup again and he had to catch up to the field for the rolling start.

The video of that start, which I’m going to delete because it makes me sick to my stomach to watch it, goes like this: He takes a strong run from the back of the pack and is on the bumper of the second-to-last place kart when they enter the Monza turn. And then he goes sliding up the banking at what was probably 30mph but in my mind’s eye is 130mph. He recovers, finishes the first lap, then pits in on the next.

When I got to him, he was crying. “I hate this kart! It doesn’t steer! My hands are slipping on the wheel!” I snapped at him again, although not as badly. He ran off to the trailer where our friend, Paul the kart dad, had a remarkably comprehensive setup. Danger Girl went after him. Finally, after twenty minutes, I found him and asked him to describe the problems. He said that the front tires were slipping (journalists call that understeer at the limit) and that the steering wheel hurt his hands and was really hard to use.

Kart Dad Paul heard this and started working on getting some ballast for the front axle. Karts are so different from race cars. I would never weight down the front of a car to make it turn better — but in karts you do that, I guess. I put my hands on John’s shoulders and delivered what I thought was a half-decent lecture on the whole thing.

“John, this is worthwhile because it’s difficult. Video games are easy. The sports at your school, soccer and basketball — they’re easy. This is hard, and it’s scary. We do it because it’s hard. Because it shows us who we are. I can spend as much money as we need to in order to fix your kart, but I can’t make you want to drive. I can’t make you want to win.”

“I want to drive,” he said, “but it hurts my hands so much.” The kid had a point. The steering wheel was tiny compared to his old TopKart, which was actually sitting in a local dealer’s display a few trailers down.

“Wait a minute,” I said. I went down to the dealer. He’d bought John’s old kart for a song last month. He sold me the wheel for several verses of that song. We installed the wheel. It didn’t fit. I went back and bought the steering wheel hub. “I think that guy probably has never lost money on a transaction,” DG opined. But ten minutes later we had a properly-weighted kart with the right wheel on it. So all I had to do was to go convince my son to risk his neck on track for… why?

Because I didn’t get the chance?
Because I want to live through him?
Because I want him to be better than me?
Because he has the gift and it would be a shame to see it go to waste?

I don’t know the answer to that. Like Saul Bellow’s Henderson, I can only say that “I WANT” and what I want is for my son to have a chance to race. I cannot tell you if that makes me a better person or a worse one.

“It’s okay, Dad,” John said. “This is my time to be brave.” This time the kart started right up. He got into formation with no trouble. When four kids spun off ahead of him, he kept his cool. He stayed low on the Monza banking. On the white flag lap, he dove too hard for the first turn and looped off. I ran out and set him back on track. He went to the pits, missing the checker that they were waving at him fifty feet away. I didn’t care.

He was sitting in the weigh-in line with a massive smile on his face. “I have one word for the kart now, Dad, and the word is AMAZING.” Just for once I stifled my customary urge to lecture people about the over-use of AMAZING. It wasn’t hard to do. I was kind of amazed myself. I was so shocked by the transformation in his attitude that I let my hand slip as I went to push his kart across the scale and promptly burned a stigmata of stupidity into my left palm.

I grew up feeling unworthy of my father and lately I’ve started to feel unworthy of my own son. I can’t imagine what it was like for him to arrive at the track he’d never seen and drive a kart that he didn’t like at remarkably high speeds despite the noise and the traffic and the sickening uncertainty of it all. He is eight years and four months old. Sometimes I think that the best thing I could for him would be to ride my ZX-14R right into a concrete bridge post before I can give him any more of my bad ideas and damaged advice, before I accidentally discover the alchemist’s reverse transmutation and turn the gold in his heart to the lead that weighs mine down.

On the way out, I saw a group of John’s competitors removing their helmets and turning back into regular children, laughing and tormenting each other, looking for sticks on the ground and running in the awkward, coltish manner of the ten-year-old boy. I don’t know if we do them any favors by dressing them up like gladiators and sending them out to drive like this. Earlier in the day I’d seen a child in the Comet class catch a 45-mph slide that took him just a whisker off the pavement, reverse the tankslapper with hands that would fit invisibly inside my fists, and then dive for a pass on his competitor, all without lifting his foot a millimeter off the throttle. I don’t know what purpose it serves to create children like that. I don’t know if we are unlocking something in them that wants to soar or if we are crushing their souls into some kind of Raikkonnen-shaped box.

All I know is this: there was a moment today when my son took in my bluster, my fury, my mechanical incompetence, and my half-assed attempt at delivering an even more half-assed motivational speech — and what came out of him was a decision that this was his time to be brave. I could burn myself again to give him that moment, over and over again. We say temper and we mean two things. We mean emotion and we mean the kind of strength that you get from being burned. What I need is for him to come out on the other end of whatever fire we find. Stronger than me, sharper, and not looking back.

42 Replies to “In Which The Author Suffers A Failure Of Parenting Ability And Is Literally Burned As A Result”

  1. CGHill

    There have been times I think there should have been, somewhere out there, a bridge abutment with my name on it. Kind of scary to see you with similar thoughts.

    Reply
  2. MedianProblems

    What ones says or means is not always what’s understood, and sometimes that’s a good thing. I remember similarly themed conversations with my father, some of which led to a resolution to never repeat those words to a child of mine, some of which led to a better understanding of moving on, and one memorable time which led to dangling off the end of a wet, 12 inch wide slab of veneer covered carbon fiber wondering where it all went wrong.

    Which I now do for fun. With my dad. Figures.

    Mostly, you care. As a child, knowing that meant the world to me and I hope to be half the father you are otherwise!

    Reply
  3. scs

    Racing is tough. We get that. Agony of defeat and all. But unless you have raced your own stuff, on an amateur basis and paying for it out of your own pocket, you don’t know how miserably fucking hard it can be, emotionally and physically. Very nice job, Jack, of explaining why it’s maybe worth it. Maybe.

    Reply
  4. ltrftc

    Good story, thanks for sharing it. It’s impossible to be a perfect parent, and in case you haven’t noticed you’re harder on Jack the Dad than you are on your son.

    Reply
  5. Rob

    Very nice. I don’t have children but I think you do an excellent job of describing the internal struggle of being a father, or at least what I imagine it must be.

    Reply
  6. ComfortablyNumb

    I’ve given up hope of being a perfect dad. Now I just pray that when I fuck something up, I have the self-awareness to realize it right away and take appropriate action. There’s hope for guys like us, I think. Take heart, Jack.

    Reply
  7. tresmonos

    I think you’re doing him an incredible service by experiencing life in pursuits that he finds enjoyable.

    My old man taught me what he enjoyed: work. I lead a dull life for it.

    Fantastic story. I cannot wait to see some track videos of John.

    Reply
  8. -Nate-Nate

    A good story well written about the perils of Parenting .

    Keeping your cool under pressure is one of the hardest things to do, it appears than John is aware of your frustrations here and is working with you .

    In the end you’re a good Father , things happen and that’s life, never be afraid to tell Jon “I’m sorry, I messed up” as that’s the most important thing he’ll get from the event .

    Nice to hear he’s a Competitor at heart ~ I’m not although my Son certainly is .

    John is going to grow up with much more self confidence than most and that’s really important so let him try these new racing things, support him the best you can, clearly he already sees your love .

    BTW : you don’t need any fancy trailer ! .

    Nice to hear other Carting Dads are willing to help out .

    -Nate

    Reply
  9. Feds

    I have boys that I think my boys are a year older and a year younger than yours (and another one 4 years younger). I’ve been walking this path for a while with hockey. Here’s my unsolicited advice, backed up by the kind of soft science that I have trouble believing even though I’ve seen it work consistently for the last 4 seasons:

    At John’s age, he has to love doing it. If he’s doing it to make you happy, he will quit on you, and maybe not until he is 16 and actually contending for something. The very greatest gift you can give him is to let him walk away from an event when he wants to. There is genuinely nothing you can do to instill the mental toughness and genetic superiority he will need to make it at the top levels of any sport. There are many things you can do to grind it out of him.

    I’ve coached my kids to 3 championships in the last 3 years, including a couple of undefeated seasons. I’ve seen kids (<- emphasis on this) show up to "important" games and absolutely fail to do what I'd seen them do 100 times before. Frustrating when it's someone else's kid, devastating when it is yours.

    Each and every one of those kids received the same feedback, delivered calmly while knelt down so that I'm making eye contact at their level: You're doing great out there today. You did [something that they had done well] amazing last shift. Can you try [thing I want them to do] next time you go out there?

    Championships notwithstanding, the feedback I get from parents, league conveners, and even active NHL players, coaches, and scouts that I've crossed paths with: All of my teams play with heart like they've never seen before. The reason for this is that they do not fear failing. They know that they can go out on a limb, try stuff they haven't, and not suffer if it fails. Kids do this stuff for their enjoyment, and for positive feedback from their parents. Get critical and they will fold like lawn chairs.

    Despite all of your cash and time investment, your job is to keep him safe, and at the end of the day buy him an orange crush and tell him he did great. If he wants to talk and ask questions, let him come to you.

    http://changingthegameproject.com/the-ride-home-after-the-game/

    Reply
  10. Will

    Basketball is not easy, I take umbrage at that (and all ball sports). As a former traveling basketball player and NCAA D1 lacrosse player, ball sports can be difficult and hard. It’s the hard parts that make it worth it, plus overcoming your fears.

    I know that’s the not the moral of the story, just had to be said. 😀 Maybe you’re being too hard on yourself, some kids need a pushing and having him at least try it before stopping was better. He’ll be ok, he knows you want him to do well and support him and that’s all that matters.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Brother Bark took umbrage as well with regards to soccer.

      Anything is difficult if you do it at a high enough level and for high enough stakes. But there’s no circumstance under which John would be *afraid* to simply walk out onto the field or court and play. In that respect, it’s easy.

      To put it in adult terms: it’s objectively easier to hold up last place in an ARCA RE/MAX stock car race than it is to make the roster on an MLS soccer team. But I’d be willing to bet that far more adult men would be willing to *try* the latter.

      Another way to look it at: Every year, karting kills about four times as many kids as die in all high school sports combined, including football. Once you look at participation rates the numbers get even worse. When you look at age, it becomes terrifying. 8-12-year-olds are killed in karting every year. That never happens in middle school football.

      Reply
      • Will

        I was kind of being facetious about the umbrage part as I know driving is certainly the far more dangerous pursuit. It just didn’t come across that way (typically doesn’t in the written form). A lot of kids do not have the life preservation gene that adults have developed over the years, so fear, I think, is relative. It’s how we deal with it. When you’re 16 and you’re at a camp where there’s 100’s of college coach’s watching you perform, fear certainly kicks in. Or even when you’re 10 or 11 playing against teenagers and they hit you, the fear is there. Sure it’s not life or death, but it’s there.

        I will say that years of football and lacrosse have done something to the brain, I’m not sure what, but they’ve had an affect. So be happy he’s not a football player.

        I don’t necessarily think you handled it wrong as we have to overcome our fears and pushing him to overcome them helps. It’s just finding out how to get him to respond to what motivation technique works. Hence, why I’ve only had 1-2 good coaches/teachers/bosses in my life.

        Reply
  11. Sseigmund

    “I don’t know what purpose it serves to create children like that . . .”

    Because he’s going to have a much higher testosterone level than his cohort, and it will take men like this to make America great again 😉

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I worry about the idea of him growing up as a conventional American man in a world full of non-gendered snowflakes, actually.

      Reply
      • Sseigmund

        You certainly should have no worries that providing your son with “conventional American” male values is the right thing to do. I have a personal theory that the rise in “gender insecurity” is related to the fact that way too many children are being raised primarily by women with the father either mostly or completely absent. Boys in particular need strong, confident male role models and they are not getting it at school. This is not to say that girls are not also impoverished by the lack of a strong male role model. I think this is big reason that the young women of today often don’t respect men and don’t have a balanced expectation of male attributes, or realistic relationship expectations.

        If you manage to raise up a young man with conventional American male values, a good education, self respect and respect for others, success will come easily for him. This will not be possible without self confidence, and this is really what the whole exercise is about.

        Reply
  12. drsmith

    Jack;

    I feel for you – hard to shake the ghosts of the past. I had a bad to dis-interested relationship with my Dad – I thought he was unworthy of me; I grew up in a rural area where the sons & fathers went deer hunting and camping, and my Dad was more the college professor non-hunting type. Made peace with it, as I grew up and realized all people, included parents, are different and we can’t make them what we wish they were, only celebrate who they really are and what they mean to us.

    If you are looking for more persepctive, was just working with my seven year old daughter trying to teach her how to ride a bike without training wheels. Likke your son, she was scared and crashed several times and got up crying…but give her time and space, and she always got back up and on the bike, and within an hour could keep her balance enough to call it a success. Your son, barley a year older, is already so far ahead…..and what you are getting from this is nothing, but your son is getting the best gift a parent could give them – the toughness and resolve to face life head on.

    So good job and great parenting; yeah, you went about it maybe a different way than most, but the end result is all the same.

    Reply
  13. JD

    He will probably always remember the feeling he had when he decided to go back out more so than hearing his grumpy dad’s lecture.

    Congrats to John for being a brave kid.

    Reply
  14. Robert

    Thanks for sharing, and baring your soul a bit with this. I’ve been on the giving and receiving ends of the kinds of exchanges you had with John, with my father long ago and my own sons much more recently. My unsolicited advice – If you said something to him you regret, talk to him about it NOW. Something my father said to me at the motocross track 30 years ago still stings to this day.

    Reply
  15. Frank Galvin

    You’re going to make similar remarks, and
    you’ll have that regret time and time again. We forget how young they are in the moment, and for good reason, they remind us of ourselves. Should’nt they just know?!? My eldest is a more focused and headstrong version of me, more than I ever was.

    I’ve been keeping 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 close by, as a reminder.

    Reply
  16. Dave L

    Be careful Jack. I pushed my son and said some things in the guise of motivating him. He’s 17 now and barely speaks to me. Although he hasn’t quit swimming and has advanced in adult BJJ, I wonder if we’ll ever have a normal father-son relationship.

    Reply
  17. 98horn

    Sounds like you had a rough weekend Jack. I know I’ve had moments like that with my daughter. Part of being human. It’s a tough balance. You know that life is hard, and that you must push your child as far as possible to be tough/smart/successful so that they can survive, without going to far that you crush their spirit. There is no easy answer on where the line is. Keep your chin up, man.

    Reply
  18. Eric H

    Because the changes made to the kart had a tremendous effect on his attitude and experience, it would be worthwhile to turn that in to a life lesson.
    “Sure X (the kart, school, friends) sucks now, but with some well-reasoned adjustments it was amazing! How can you apply that process to the rest of your life?”

    Reply
      • -nate-nate

        “The hell with him… how could I apply that process to MY life?”

        It’s TOO LATE Jack ! =8-) .

        Your only redemption is to raise up John the very best you can then settle into your wheelchair and ope he visits every other Tuesday…..

        (just kidding ya know) .

        -Nate

        Reply
  19. -nate-nate

    “If you manage to raise up a young man with conventional American male values, a good education, self respect and respect for others, success will come easily for him. This will not be possible without self confidence, and this is really what the whole exercise is about.”

    _This_ .

    My Son is so much better than I in most every way and vastly more successful; in his various endeavors .

    The flip side of course is : he’s incredibly self sufficient like i am and I have the ’empty nest / apron string’ deal that most Mothers have and it _SUCKS_ although I’m as proud as punch of him at the same time .

    Raise him right and tech them well (as you already are) and your Child will grow up and understand they really are a unique snowflake but won’t be fearful and insecure like those who have shelves full of participation trophies .

    -Nate

    Reply
  20. bjarnetv

    Man, this article really brought back a lot of memories from my youth.

    Me and my brother used to share a 80cc motocross bike when we were young – bought to us by my father who loved riding it even more than we did 😉

    eventually, when i was around 12 years old, the 80cc was getting a bit small and my father decided to sell it and buy a full size 125cc bike instead.
    That bike was a beast, and i was way to small to ride it really.
    i can remember the utter terror of jumping at high speeds, and having no control of the bike, as it weighed so much.
    after about half a year, and lots of painful crashes later, i gave up on motocross.
    my father kept riding the thing for half a year more, but eventually had a really serious crash himself, and sold the damn thing.
    i wish we had just kept the 80cc a couple of years more, because that thing was a blast to ride!

    Reply
  21. Aoletsgo

    It ain’t easy but nobody said it would be. I pushed my son to be work hard, don’t quit, be independent, and successful. Overall, it has worked out well as he is a successful engineer, with lots of friends, who plays hard be it rec. basktball, MTB biking or shredding the snow. On the other hand we butted heads several times and now he lives 2,000 miles away and our relationship is cold and polite. I am hoping that after he has his fun and settles down we will have a new, closer adult relationship.

    Reply
  22. One Leg at a Time

    I identify with this, both as a son, and as a father (to girls, which is both harder and easier than being a father to sons, I think). I still think the best thing I ever heard was from the movie “Smoke Signals” (quote from IMDB):

    Thomas Builds-the-Fire: How do we forgive our fathers? Maybe in a dream. Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often, or forever, when we were little? Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage, or making us nervous because there never seemed to be any rage there at all? Do we forgive our fathers for marrying, or not marrying, our mothers? Or divorcing, or not divorcing, our mothers? And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness? Shall we forgive them for pushing, or leaning? For shutting doors or speaking through walls? For never speaking, or never being silent? Do we forgive our fathers in our age, or in theirs? Or in their deaths, saying it to them or not saying it. If we forgive our fathers, what is left?

    I didn’t forgive my father until after he was gone. About five years later, I realized there had been nothing to forgive.

    Reply
  23. -Nate-Nate

    I find it really hard to believe I’m the only one here with a seriously bad Poppa .

    He died two years ago and I feel pretty sorry for him but still working on the forgiveness part as he deliberately destroyed the lives of five of his six Children .

    I seem to be the only one who stood up to him .

    -Nate

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I’ve known people who had fiends for fathers. One of my best friends in seventh grade was thrown down the stairs by his father at least twice while I knew him.

      Reply
    • Sseigmund

      “I find it really hard to believe . . ”

      Not everyone is prepared to discuss this subject publicly.

      I chose not to have children largely out of fear that I would be some kind of monster. My bothers have proven that theory to be faulty. Suffice it to say, letting go of the anger is the only way to have a happy life.

      Reply
    • -Nate-Nate

      Jack ;

      Pops wasn’t a fiend (well, maybe as he was a pedophile ~ew) , he tried that ‘I’m going to throw you down these stairs!’ B.S. just once in 1969, as one of his famous rich doctor Friends was standing there, I decided to be polite and warn him that he’d land down stairs first then depending on how much anger I still retained for him to speak to me that way, I’d either kick his ass or send him to the Hospital, his choice at that moment .

      He decided Prudence is the better part of valor and backed off, saving him serious pain as well as embarrassment .

      Seigmund ;

      You are 100 % correct ~ .
      I too was an unwilling Father because I thought I’d automatically be the same sort of asshole Pops was, my ex Wife sandbagged me (bless her little heart) and I turned out to be a pretty good Father judging by how Jr. has turned out but that fearful feeling of incipient loss is pretty bad .

      Failure to communicate is why some Families just go on hurting innocents generation after generation .

      I made up my mind the instant my newborn Baby Boy was handed to me (I got him before his Mother did) that no matter what, _MY_ Son wasn’t going to suffer nor be a looser like most of my Siblings and Nephews & Nieces .

      As time goes by, my anger to wards Pops has morphed into sorrow and regret to whatever the hell happened to make him such a bad person .

      I’m the baby of six, they’re all right and University Educated, I’m a Blue Collar Schlub who loves in The Ghetto and I’m far happier and more content than any of them .

      -Nate

      Reply
  24. Nick D

    Unreliability seems to be a hallmark of many full-time karters. I’m still trying to schedule the second half of my kid’s lesson with an otherwise good instructor and basically missed out on participating this season as a result.

    As I did not win $735M last night, I don’t foresee buying trailers and other junk as being totally necessary. At the first lesson, I was talking to a guy who has 2 kids involved in karting. They’ve thrived without the latest and greatest of everything and using an old workvan as transportation, but I saw a few loaded out 3/4 ton trucks towing race car haulers for 10 year olds. It reminded me of 300-lb people wearing biking spandex to go on a 5 mile ride.

    Here’s John’s younger competition using the next best thing, a hotwired Powerwheel.
    https://youtu.be/0yn3-NYN8N4

    Reply

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