The following can also be found in the book Chicago Stories 1996. Click here to learn more, and to download a free electronic copy.


September 30, 1996

One of the profound things in my life that proves to me that I was raised right, that proves to me that my parents were good parents and should be acknowledged as such, is that I have a natural and sincere enjoyment in my twenties for many of the same things my dad enjoyed in his twenties. I think about this sometimes, like tonight, and a list off the top of my head would have to include the following:

Simon and Garfunkel
Dobie Gillis
Dave Brubeck
Ray Bradbury
Jack Kerouac
Bob and Ray
Ayn Rand
The Smothers Brothers
Isaac Asimov
Julie London
The Dick Van Dyke Show

and others that I'm sure of but can't think of right now as I'm writing.

These are basic things, these performers I mention. They teach me that I was raised with a discerning, dry sense of humor; an enjoyment of sophistication; an appreciation for sincere, confessional work. My enjoyment of these things proves to me that I was raised right, that I was raised with a good sense of morals and ethics.

And the funny thing is, with the exceptions of Dave Brubeck and Isaac Asimov, all the things on this list are things that I discovered on my own. It wasn't until I would declare the new "discoveries" to my parents that I would find out how much my dad had been into them while he was in college/post-college.

Of course, there are certain things from that period that my dad enjoyed that I don't particularly care for:

Peter, Paul and Mary
Laugh-In
James Bond
Playboy
Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack

But even with these, I can see what it was that he enjoyed about these things, and I can picture myself enjoying them if I had happened to be that age in the 1960's myself.

So again, tonight as I sit here, off the top of my head a list of things I enjoy as a man in his twenties in the 1990's would include:

Early R.E.M.
David Lynch films
Liz Phair
Douglas Coupland
The Simpsons
Letterman when he was on NBC
Thrift store clothes
Jake Johannsen
Bob Mould and Sugar
The Star Wars trilogy
Banana Yoshimoto
Henry Rollins
The Police (the band)
Mark Leyner
Seinfeld
Art films
The Magnetic Fields
Bloom County

And I could go on, but I'm near my el stop. If you grow up and I find that you enjoy these things -- if I have found that you have "discovered" them through no help of mine -- these things will prove to me that I raised you right. They will prove to me that you will grow up to be a fine adult and that I have nothing to worry about. They will make me proud of you.

With Love,

Dad

Copyright 1996, Jason Pettus. All rights reserved. This was published under a Creative Commons license; click here for details. Contact: ilikejason [at] gmail [dot] com.