“I read your blog.”
It was my Dad on the other end of the line. For a second, I was scanning through my head thinking about what I wrote here. And then I remember. I write everything here.
“Why can’t you make me be like an accountant or some Wall Street guy, huh?”
He was joking. My mind is racing trying to figure out what he’s talking about. And it lands: my post about strip clubs. The one where I say I was raised by the wolves.
He is a wolf.
My Dad is a wild thing.
The man has never worn a tie in his life, and I’m proud of him for that.
His whole life, he’s gone against the grain, did his own thing, ran his own business from the ground up, has gambled all over the country and has won poker championships. He lights up every room he walks into.
He’s a natural born hustler. An edge-of-your-seat storyteller. An outlaw.
And I’m proud to be his daughter. I hope that I’m like him.
I knew the difference between a street bet, double street bet, basket, and straight bet on the roulette wheel before I was 8. I also memorized the odds. I knew all the words to The Blues Brothers by heart. I knew how to read maps, and I knew the way in our road trips up North and down South.
All of these things are what he taught me.
We would road trip and our favorite place to stop was South of the Border. Our names are written on a paper sombrero on the ceiling of one of the old restaurants.
My very first storytelling event that I did this past Summer, backed by a rock and roll band in the basement in the East Village, was a story about my Dad. I don’t think I’ve even told him that. The audience loved it.
When I was little, a neighborhood bully was picking on me. When I was trying to play at the tree fort all of us made (me and the boys in the neighborhood), this kid decided he didn’t want a girl included in the fort. He started throwing stones at me to make me go away. It would happen anytime I was anywhere near the fort that I helped build. One day, this kid made the bad decision to ride by my house on his bike with all of his friends and throw rocks at me while I was sitting on my front stoop. My Dad came out of the house, and picked him up by the shirt collar and lifted this kid up above his head. He told him that if he ever messed with me again, that kid would have to deal with him. Through tears, the kid apologized to me. My Dad set him down on the ground and all the other kids stood there with their eyes bugging out of their heads at the scene. After that, I played in the damn fort whenever I pleased and that bully never bothered me or anyone else again.
My Dad always has had my back.
If I was born a boy, he would have named me “Wolfgang”. I was born a girl, and his nickname for me was always “Little Dude”. He is the “Big Dude”, and my little brother and I were always, “The Little Dudes”.
I have always wanted to make him proud of me. I always want to do right by him. He has always believed in me, whatever crazy dream I’ve had, he’s always stood by it. He’s always thought I could accomplish anything I’ve ever wanted.
I love to write. I’m learning how to be a better writer every day. I’m writing the truth now. I’m writing down the bones.
So when he called the other day saying he read my blog, for a second I freaked out thinking – oh my god….he read my strip club post, oh my god. Is he going to be disappointed in me? But he never said anything about that. He has never judged me. As long as I’m happy, he’s happy.
I was sitting in the back lounge talking to the Captain about this after I got off the phone with him. Sometimes in this world, it’s scary to be ourselves. It’s scary to do what we want to do, to say what we’re feeling, to be the people we are. My Dad always encouraged me to be myself and let me grow into my own person. And that is the best gift of all.
I hope part of me is like him.
I am grateful for all the amazing family and friends I have in my life, but today, the spotlight is on The Big Dude. So tell me, who is one of the first people that comes to your mind as a personal hero? This week, let’s make it someone you know in real life. In the comments below, tell me their name and why they are a hero to you. One lucky person will get a postcard on the road from me.
Last week’s winner chosen by random.org is: Montague Carter. Montague, send me your address at veronica at dangerdame. AND ps, People – I cried reading the comments from last Thursday’s post….if you haven’t read the comments, you should. Thank you to everyone who commented, I feel so lucky to have you here at the Danger Diaries.
Have a great weekend and I’ll see you Monday! xo