Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A new story

Men can’t help but think that fathering children is a good thing; it’s nature; it’s the way our brains are built. And so, after the children are born, it’s only natural that men should think that being a father to them, for the rest of life, is a good thing, too, and should be joyous. We men are expected to cherish those monumental moments: the births, the graduations, the marriages. And we are expected to be proud and happy, and often we are. But just as often, we feel a twinge of regret. Regret, that we have not had a closer relationship with our own fathers. Regret, that we are not emotionally closer to our children. We think of all the child-parent activities we begged off from and feel shame for not having been the dads we could have been, or should have been.

Some dads seem so close to their kids. They are the weeping dads, the huggers, the ones who always seem to be with them or on the phone with them, in regular communication about the simplest things, long into the offspring’s adulthood. Sometimes, I envy their bonds, their mutual dependency, because it has always been different in our family.

I learned fatherhood from my father; he learned it from my grandfather, who learned it from his father. It goes back much farther than that, but I know the history back to the 19th century, which is when this story begins.
As always, I know how this story starts, but not exactly where it’s going or when it will end. Please feel free to comment about your own experiences with fatherhood. The comments are just as interesting as the story.
This one starts tomorrow. We’ll call it “Fathers.”

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Being near my son is the most important thing. But I understand that I like my people begg out of things that we should do and will later regret. I spend more time with my son than my father. In fact, I probably spend more time with my son in a week than my father did in a 6 month period. BUT it never feels like enough and when my son says "play with me Daddy" I feel guilt that I am tired and don't feel up it and many times begg out of it. Thanks for the idea of this story and I can't wait. As always you are an excellent writer and one can only inspire to write as well as you.

Ellipses said...

I swear to God, Park... You haven't done it yet... but if you make me cry in the next week I am going to cancel my subscription...

Oh, wait... nevermind :-)

Anonymous said...

See Ellipses you should buy a paper rather than take the content for free.. Newspaper have been killing themselves giving it away..

Anonymous said...

Certainly there are many examples of great fathers, but I'm sure many a man learned how to be a father by doing the opposite of what his father did. I know that's the case with me. My son & I actually do things together, something my dad stopped doing when I was about 6. And we talk -- in fact, he is my most reliable source of intelligent conversation.

Ellipses said...

I generate a lot of page views for the advertisers on the web... That model needs revised, but it DOES create revenue...

A tangible newspaper doesn't interest me much... I can't chat with all you fine folks above, below, or on the fold.

Anonymous said...

You won't be able to chat with ANY of us pretty soon if you don't buy a newspaper.

Ellipses said...

The ads in the hard-copy paper are targeted for my demographic... because my demographic doesn't read hard-copy papers.

It's a vicious circle...

Ellipses said...

I meant are NOT targeted for my demographic... dern it to heck gee willikers!

Anonymous said...

Who cares, dude. Circulation # = $$$ regardless of whether you look at the ad.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not Ellispes there are people that just want to know the news and not chat constantly about it..
In fact some find the endless chatter annoying and avoid it.
Give the paper some money, let alone the Sunday with all the ads that save you money at the grocer.

Ellipses said...

Or not...

:-) Sorry... but I'm simply not going to buy something I don't want... and all those money-saving ads on Sunday... I can get those same coupons online.

Don't get me wrong... I love news... I love newspapers... I just don't need to hold them to get what I want from them.

And... I don't have a bird.

That said... if there was ANYTHING I could do to help the OR's business, I would be more than happy to oblige.

Mike Jones said...

If you want to help our business, subscribe to the Observer-Reporter... Seriously.

Ellipses said...

You would have to offer a compelling reason to do so. What is there in a plastic-wrapped, bulky, physical newspaper that is of value to me and is either available ONLY in that form, or has a worthwhile added value in that form?

C'mon now! I'm a 25 year old male... In the advertising world, I'm a leprechaun-riding-a-unicorn... Everybody is trying to get my pot of gold... Everyone knows exactly where I am, media-wise (and everyone who fits my demographic profile)...

If you were me, why would you subscribe to a newspaper?

That, for those of you who aren't salespeople, is called a "buying" question.

Tick Tock... I am getting older and less desirable by the minute :-)

Mike Jones said...

I am you ... 25 yoa working male ... and I subscribe to the Post-Gazette because I live in Allegheny County. Gotta keep an eye on the competition, right?

The argument is that the online model does not pay our salaries. And if the print edition goes down, then you won't have any of us to play with online anymore.

Ellipses said...

I understand that, Mike... so there are two issues to address:

1- How can you increase revenue from the online model? What can be offered on the web-version that is unique and useful for your readers while generating revenue? Gross impressions isn't going to do it... The web is not TV and it's not print...

2- What is a compelling reason for someone to subscribe to the hard copy... assume for a moment that I neither know you nor love you :-) Suppose that I am just a guy who has a marginal interest in what is happening locally and great appetite for national and international news...

I want a reason to get a real newspaper... however, as it is now... it would be akin to my buying horseshoes solely for the reason that I don't want blacksmiths to go out of business... I don't play horseshoes, I don't have a horse, and I am not superstitious... and I don't make my own magnets (have I covered the uses for horseshoes?)...

There are a million possible answers to these questions... some might be viable, some may hasten the decline. However, one option that is absolutely off the table is inaction.

Hell, I have some possible answers to those questions myself... but I'd bet the copy of Park's book that I bought (plug) that few, if any dailies will undergo the massive paradigm shift that would be required to carve out the much needed new niche in the industry...

Tell you what... I will buy a paper this weekend... I won't commit to subscribing yet, but I will buy a resource-intensive, stagnant textual snapshot of the world on Sunday, March 15th.

Because I like you :-)

You are caught between two customers... your readers and your advertisers. Your readers are old, so your advertisers are businesses that serve old people.

Here's a quiz for you...

Why did I buy Park Burroughs' book?

Why did I buy the LAST issue of the O-R that I bought?

The answers to those two questions are the first step toward a solution to your current situation.

Mike Jones said...

Thanks for buying a paper (or at least using the online coupon). That's a good start.

Ellipses said...

*sigh

You slay me :-)