Y’know, not to go on and on about this shit, but the old man called last night, and we’d just gotten the hey-how-are-ya stuff out of the way when he blurted out that he’d forgotten why he called. Okay, that’s fine, so we kicked back and just talked about baseball and quitting smoking and how he was the guy who opened up Motorola’s market in Mexico (a favorite topic), until he suddenly interrupted himself in mid-sentence. His reason for calling had come back to him, he announced, at which point he proceeded to lay on me a few choice tips for getting laid.
• Be yourself. Don’t try to impress. Instead, let them impress you.
• Department store sales clerks are often lonely.
• Women 36-40 are “the horniest”.
• Hotel bars are a good place to meet older women with money.
There was no real context for any of this; he was just sharing the fruits of a lifetime’s research with me. Aside from the fact that Don Draper would reject these ideas as degrading to everyone involved, I’m a little freaked out that this is what an 83 year old man thinks is fitting advice to give his son—in the year 2010, no less. (At least he didn’t suggest that I croon “Stardust” to the rich old hotel ladies before looting their steamer trunks.) He’s sober nowadays and he at least sounds in control of his faculties when he’s saying this stuff, but I’m fucking-A starting to wonder. I’m also starting to wonder if him splitting when I was a kid wasn’t the absolute best thing that could’ve happened to me, even if it did mean being raised by Mommie Dearest. With all the proclivities and hang-ups I’ve managed to come up with on my own, I hate to think what I’d be like if he’d stayed.