I was in my teens when I became aware that my father and I could actually be friends. And it was all because of the Disney afternoon cartoon Talespin.
I don’t remember every detail, like if the tide was ebbing or flooding or what time of day it was. I do remember it was late summer according to the weather, early autumn according to the calander, and we were fishing for any fish that would eat a live shrimp in that particular creek on that particular day and there weren’t a whole lot takers.
My old man and I were going through kind of a quiet patch at that time mainly due to me wanting to spend most of my free time hanging out with my friends, or really doing anything else, instead of going fishing with him. It wasn’t as if I didn’t like to go fishing, it was just hanging out with your dad was kind of lame and I thought I had an image to keep up (many years later I realized I was the only person that I knew that thought I was cool and believed I had any kind of “image”).
So there we were sitting silently alone in an anchored boat waiting for a fish to bite when my father, beer in hand, cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth, turned to me, scratched his chin through his beard, and decided it was a good time to start a conversation. “Hey… Um… School? How’s that going for you?”
A few minutes later with no sounds but the breeze blowing across the deck and the cry of the occasional seagull, “Grades?”
“So far so good.”
“You know I don’t.”
“Y-yeah,” more beard scratching and beer sipping. “So… You ever watch that cartoon Talespin?”
“I guess sometimes if it’s on,” I said in the most noncommittal way I could while knowing full well he knew I watched it almost religiously and didn’t want anyone to know I still watched cartoons.
“Yeah, I like it. Good show.”
“Yup,” I started fiddling with my rod trying to look too busy for the conversation he was insisting on trying to have.
“You know what I wonder?”
“No… What do you wonder?” He probably actually heard my eyes roll as I asked.
“If Baloo’s ever going to get around to fucking his boss, ’cause for a cartoon fox… I mean, shit man, I’d fuck her.”
We haven’t had trouble finding things to talk about since.