Daddy’s Girl

1978

I BECAME more forthright in my opinions of my father’s behaviour. As far as I was concerned, he had lost any moral authority over me. Besides, it was a good way of overcoming my discomfort at sitting on his lap and keeping him on the back foot. If I was really lucky, he might eject me.

I would pull him up over how he treated Mum and ask him why he couldn’t be more understanding, considering she was mentally ill. It was no wonder that she sometimes forgot to turn off the grill. And didn’t he realise that the best way to stop my brother from destroying his tools was to spend time with him in the shed and teach him how to tinker properly?

“Common sense, Dad. Common sense.”

On learning that I had an adopted half-sister, eight years older than me, once it had sunk in, I was stupefied that I was the second time he’d got caught out.

“Couldn’t you at least have used some kind of birth control?”

******

IN OUR increasingly heated debates, I knew that if the only argument he had was “I’ve lived a lot longer than you”, then he knew he had already lost. Whatever the situation, it wasn’t difficult for me to adhere to the moral high ground. It devastated me to know that others, including both my parents, thought that made me weak. Mum made no effort to defend me when I got upset and he was in the wrong; if anythng, she took satisfaction from it; he would tell me that I should be more aggressive.

Why? So I can be more like you? No chance.

“It’s a dog eat dog world,” he said.

“That’s just human nature”, he said.

Then how come it’s not my nature?

If you asked me, the world was a pretty stupid place, with a stupid set of rules, full of contradictions. What was the point of going to Sunday school to learn how to behave only for bad behaviour to be accepted as the norm? And how dare Dad tell my brother about responsibility when he was plainly incapable of setting the example.

Another cool new word I had learned was ‘hypocrite’. I just needed an excuse to use it.

Daddy, you’re a hypocrite.

Practice what you preach, Dad.

Always ‘Do as I say, not as I do’. Dad.

******

ON this year’s viewing of The Wizard of Oz, the realisation that the Wizard was nothing more than a fallible little man whose power was naught but an illusion hit me right in the face.

Copyright (c) M K MacInnes 2020

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