Memories of Dad

Every once in awhile when I’m watching a television show, and my mind thinks ahead and figures out how it’s going to end, it makes me remember my dad.

Picture 011My memories of him have pride attached. Like a good son, I looked up to him, and respected how smart he was, and how he could solve any problem with a home made solution. In retrospect, neither of my parents were really as smart or great as I always thought they were, but families have their own special kind of love blind. To me, they were both great, good looking parents.

All my life I’ve had a different way of looking at things, and thinking about things. My dad was a doer, and I was a dreamer.  He was more an engineer, and followed his ideas through to completion. I was more the dreamer that just liked coming up with the ideas. My mind has always been a bit obsessive, although I never had a diagnosis. I have always over thought things, and it effects the speed of my decision making process.

I’ve called myself a master of scenarios, while others have called me a devils advocate. When presented with a situation, I tend to create as many what if scenarios as I can. I always come up with possible situations that others didn’t think of. Sometimes that’s a blessing and sometimes it’s a curse.

This ability wasn’t always good at guessing the actual outcome that transpired, but it did generate a lot of ideas that frequently created fear and self doubt. Thinking up many possible outcomes for any given situation ended up being the main reason my life was filled with a lot of “No”.  If invited out, there would be enough scenarios with negative outcomes to tip the risk scale to my safe setting, and I would just say No. I would not attend. There was always a distinct possibility I wouldn’t enjoy myself at your party, or that movie, or that restaurant, or the spice.

On the positive side however, it was like a superpower when watching TV. My active mind always watches shows on two or three levels while I watch the storyline, I also evaluate the setting from the actors viewpoint, or the production side. I notice and remember plot points and inconsistencies. I am constantly thinking up scenarios about how the story will continue.

It gives me pleasure to watch a murder mystery, and solve the crime before the mid episode commercial break. I may revise and update my conclusions as the story unfolds, and I may imagine several possible conclusions. Because of this, I get to enjoy the equivalent of multiple new stories at once. The real show as it plays out, and the imagination versions I’ve created in my mind. Often my endings are totally different, but equally as satisfying as the real episode.

Sometimes I prefer my stories. My endings were better than the ones the show followed.

This is all fun and mind games until you watch with somebody else, and freely express your thought as the show plays live. It should come as no surprise that other spectators don’t share the same excitement when I guess who did it, how and why all before the the first 10 minutes have passed.  I can be the worst kind of spoiler dude, ruining shows live, with solutions that may or may not be right.

I’m worse that the person who you overheard in a line at the theatre talk about Darth Vader being Luke’s father, or that “the Judge is a Toon!!” even before you’ve entered the theatre. I’m even more irritating kid behind you in the theater that always whispers loudly to his friend before each plot point, unless he also keeps kicking your seat back, then he is the worst.

My father has a reputation within my memories of being loud. I don’t have too many visuals of anything other than him losing his temper. It is his defining character trait that trumps his genius in my memory vault. We always had to be careful not to upset him. 

However, in this one particular memory, I made him smile. Every time. Whenever I was able to guess the bad guy, way before he could comprehend it, he was always happy. Proud. 

I’d say; “It’s him. He did it” and he’d smile, and say; “How do you do that?”, emphasizing the second “do” in a tone I read aloud in my head as I write.

I have no memory of him ever getting upset at me spoiling the ending, even if I wasn’t right, which I usually was. I usually am. To be fair, TV shows are pretty easy to guess most of the time. It’s not rocket science, but to my father, it was a skill he didn’t process. His mind didn’t work that way.

 

A few weeks ago I was watching an episode of the BBC series Sherlock off my Plex. A friend had recommended it, and was eager o re-watch it with me. I was given permission to talk aloud as we watched. Very early on, I paused and declared; I’d like to solve the puzzle Pat.

She didn’t know what I meant at first, so the joke fell flat, but I followed up with an explanation of how rest of the hour long show would play out. I got all the major plot and character elements right. She seemed a bit shaken by the experience. I could witness her face mould through a few variations before settling on a response. I’m sure she may have even thought about accusing me of having seen it before. I get that a lot.

Instead, she asked; “How did you do that?”

I smiled. It reminded me of my dad.

I told her this story.



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