A Happy Memory for an Otherwise Somber Birthday

Today would have been my father's 84th birthday. He passed away 2 years ago. There's a larger post in me somewhere about his death and its effects on me (which I may or may not be ready to write).

But for today, I want to just share something that makes me smile.

My dad was a quiet man (yet somehow very loud) and not a man of many words. “You smell” was his way of saying “I love you.” (He was a softy at heart though and let out the normal three words enough so that I knew.)

One distinct memory I have of him when I was younger was his fascination with our gaming systems. Two games in particular:

On the Atari, his game was Breakout. He would sit there in what seemed like hours (when I wanted to get “my turn”) and just break away at those 8-bit blocks with the skill of a tennis pro. He was a fan of tennis, so this kinda makes sense to me now. He was never a hog of the game and probably played more when it was our time to go to bed than anything, but it makes me smile, thinking of this 50-something-year-old kicking his kids’ asses in their own video game.

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That’s my dad, in the kids’ bedroom mind you, playing Tetris on the old TV that sat atop a dresser.

When we got Nintendo, those Russian theme songs would play endlessly in our house: Tetris was the game of choice for my father. And you probably guessed it, yes, he was incredible at it. Oh, I’m certain I recall him cursing it out from time to time, perhaps even calling it a “piece of junk” — his standard review of most movies and games. But more often than not, he was the coolest cat lining up his L-shapes and crosses with the best of them. (See actual visual proof of this phenomenon in the adjacent photo.)

It was the memory of this love of my dad’s that inspired me when I was stuck on writing lyrics to a song my friend Michael had sent me several months back. The tune became a retrospective of ‘80s and ‘90s video games (as well as board games) loaded with familiar titles that were played in my house as a kid.

“1-Up” written and performed by Michael Aquino.

(Listen to the song 1-Up above and follow the lyrics at fawm.org/songs/52552/. Music and a mouthful of a performance by Michael Aquino!)

I miss my father often and in more and more ways with every birthday, holiday, life event, etc. that passes. Memories like the ones above help me smile a little through the tears.

Go call your dad.

Writer-Artist ✍ Contact: ernio.com →in New Yorker: http://bit.ly/NYernio Find @ernio_art →on Instagram: http://bit.ly/eh-art License →via CartoonCollections.com

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