2019-09-03 at 10.58.23 AM
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Certainly nothing in the judgy all-knowing realm of knowledge. My parents
divorced soon after adopting me, and so in part it was because | only saw him
once a week. And yet! It seems impossible but I’ve tried to dredge up anything

— anything! — he may have taught me: how to catch a ball, tie a rope, find an
edible mushroom, talk to a girl, answer a phone, take a complement, wire a light
socket, make an omelet, sew a shirt, write a sentence, a poem, read a book
critically, hardily shake a hand, order a non-fast food meal, properly tip, tie a tie,
listen to a record, chop a tree, mow a lawn. Nada. He just didn't have it in him. He
himself came from a desert of knowledge and the best he could do was try to
keep himself together — try to keep his wobbly ship with broken masts and a
single ore moving forward — never mind instruct a tiny human in the ways of a
world that was — | now know — wholly and obviously mysterious even to himself.

But there was this: He used to take me horse betting. We'd go to the track and
he'd holler his head off. His hearing had been damaged his entire life, so hollering
was his baseline. He'd holler and we'd bet. | must have been eight or nine. We
never won. But one afternoon, after hollering for hours, screaming for Lucky Lucy
or Sunday Silence or Wind Splitter, banging on his seat, the woman behind us
tapped him on the shoulder and said: “I just wanted to say, it has been such a
pleasure watching you have so much fun today. Thank you.”

That's it. That single moment of an entire childhood. Own your horse race. Own
the smallness of that world. Was it a good way to spend an afternoon? No. But no
one could say he wasn't there, wasn't present.