Freudian Slips: Genes that Wear on You

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

December 13, 2004

Genes that Wear on You

I maintained a social work appointment in the home of a divorced father, who lived in temporary housing in a studio apartment above a dank storefront. Admirably, the father was single handedly caring for a multiply handicapped, behaviorally involved teenager. The father presented to me as being overwhelmed in the caregiving but his love for his son could not be questioned. A new addition on my caseload, I knew very little about my client. I began to document as much family history as possible from my only informant, the father.
Early on, I asked a simple enough question. “How many children do you have?”
He rested his cigarette in a foil ashtray. “I have four children but only one is in my custody.”
His statement seemed rehearsed. Perhaps, a stock answer buffered the pain and suffering. I looked over to his son, who rolled a police cruiser on broken wheels. Before he moved to return his cigarette back to his lips, I tried to invite more information with a more open-ended follow-up question.
“Where exactly are your other three children?” I asked.
“My kids are kind of scattered all about, Mr. Tornatore.” His fingers nervously raked his hair.
“You see, although I’ve been married only once, I have fathered four children with four different women.” He gritted his teeth before resuming. “So I got one child in a group home somewhere in North Jersey, and I got another just like the one you see living with his mom some place, and I had another child so handicapped that he died in a hospital right before his thirteenth birthday.”
I heard him sigh. My pen stopped documenting the family tree on a notepad that had seen better days as a social worker. I did the exponential math and drew the obvious conclusion. Four handicapped children born from four different women with the same father. I tried not to let my facial expression change as I looked up at him. The silence, which served as a welcomed truce, could only give way to inevitable discussion.
I will never forget the despair in his voice when he took the floor for opening arguments. “I know you aren’t no doctor but do ya think I got me some messed up genes?”

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya think? Post by ET

9:02 PM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...

...And the Darwin Award goes to....

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments, Pax and ET. The toy police cruiser referenced could just as well have been an ambulance.

8:33 PM  

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