Toughening up.

My Mom married Jim. He quit drinking so much and turned into a great guy. He was always there for me when I needed help, and he taught me more than my Dad ever did. He actually took the time to teach me greasy car repairs and he did it right! I came to love him as a Father after the years had hardened me and I could look back from a distance. But I hated his ass back then. He was a bully that lived in the house that I used to call mine. Tony is still the same. I see that guy about once every few years or so. I say  a few words to him and that’s about it. His kids are wonderful. They have a good Mom. Too good for Tony. Imagine having to spend the Holidays with the people that used to victimize you. You start to hate the Holidays all around. When Jim first started hanging around, it was all “My son is tough and could kick your ass” and “We need to toughen you up”. Toughen you up. It worked. I became hard and remorseless in a fight. They turned me into an East Side tough guy/thug. I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to save my hands for art, but there I was, smashing them with tools and breaking fingers in fights. I was the kid that went to school wearing the vinyl ‘concrete construction’ jacket. 090091

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