Justin Halpern
My Father’s Take On Internet Comments

I don’t get to spend as much time with my father as I once did, and he’s not the type to call me up just to shoot the breeze.  So when I receive calls from him I know it’s either my birthday, I pissed him off, or the world has pissed him off.   Yesterday was one such day.

            “Hey Dad,” I said, answering my phone.

            “I just read on the internet that you’re a talentless piece of shit,” he said.

            “What?”

            “Yeah, I was on the internet trying to find that picture of you from your college baseball team where you look real skinny and gangly like a circus freak, and so I type your name in to Google, and I see some comment about you that says you’re a talentless piece of shit,” he said.

            “Why were you looking up that picture of me?”

            “Cause you look funny in it and it makes me laugh.  I wanted to show your brother.  That’s not my point though.”

(the pic he’s referring to)

            “Doesn’t it bother you that people can go on the internet and call you a talentless piece of shit, and never have to say it to your face?,” he continued.

            “I don’t know.  Doesn’t really bother me.  I got my break by writing down things you say.  I think just karmically speaking I deserve to hear that on occassion,” I said.

            “I’m not talking about you.  I’m speaking fucking globally.  If you can’t handle some pissant writing something nasty about you, then I failed as a father.   What I’m trying to say is, don’t it trouble you that there’s a whole generation of people growing up that just say whatever the fuck they want, without any consequences?

            “I don’t know.  I mean, that’s just the internet,” I said.

            “Don’t you get what that means, though?”

     ”Not really.”

            “Jesus H.  You’re a bright kid but you sure like to wear an asshole’s costume every once in a while.  It means that the future leaders of your country, I say your ‘cause I’ll have long decomposed, are gonna be people that have absolutely no experience with actual confrontation.  Thirty years from now the President of the most powerful country in the world is going to be some little shit who sat at his computer and hurled insults three feet away from his mommy’s tit like it was no big deal. I don’t condone fighting, but when a human being understands that his or her actions might result in a giant fist up his or her ass, he learns a thing or two about acting before he speaks.  All I’m saying is, I’m glad I’m gonna be dead.  Also, Happy birthday.  That’s why I called.  

A Conversation With My Dad

(My dad and I, 1983)

So yesterday the TV show based off the twitter feed, and my book, Shit My Dad Says, was cancelled.  I worked on the show for the last year.  It was a bummer, until I remembered that I got a TV show based off a twitter feed and a book and was basically the luckiest asshole who ever roamed this earth.  Anyway, I decided I should call my dad to give him the news.

Hey.  What do you need. I’m busy,” he said.

Do you have a second?" I said.

Is this Justin?" he said.

"Yeah.  Who’d you think it was?

Didn’t know.  Just picked up the phone.

You didn’t know who it was and you answered the phone with ‘Hey.  What do you need?  I’m busy?,” I asked.

Lets people know not to fuck around with my time," he said.

My show got cancelled," I said.  

There was a moment of silence on the other end of the line and I wasn’t sure if he heard me.  I was about to say it again, when he spoke.

Well.  Fuck.  Sorry to hear that, son.

Eh, it’s okay.  It happens.  It was crazy I got a show on the air in the first place.

Well, I liked it.  It was kind of shitty at first, but I thought it got a lot better.  You know what show I like? Cheers.  That was a good show," he said.

That was a good show," I said, wondering if that was part of a larger point he was about to make.

Also I liked The Simpsons.  At first I thought, it’s just a stupid cartoon for pants-shitters, but I was wrong, great show."  (Pants-shitters is how my dad refers to toddlers.)  

Well, I just wanted to let you know.  I know you’re busy so I’ll let you go," I said.

"I'm 75.  If you're busy when you're seventy five, you fucked up the first seventy five years.  I want you to know that I'm proud of you.  You didn't put a bullet through Bin Laden but I'm proud of you.  You're a bust-ass kid.

Thanks," I said.

And let’s not forget the big picture here.  You don’t have to live with me anymore.  One less person crawling up your ass every morning.  That’s all anyone can fucking ask for.