As a child I thought the weatherman on the News was really in control of the weather. I would regularly hear my father cursing and complaining: “The weatherman screwed me out of my golf game today! Or, “I hope the weatherman lets the Yankees get the game in today, that son of a bitch.”
“Geez,” I would think. “I hope so too!” I had no idea the weatherman held so much control over the fate of Major League Baseball. Dad’s golf game, fine, I could see that. Just a handful of old fogies smackin’ it around the fairways, yelling at their clubs after missed shots — but the Yankees were the most powerful franchise in all of sports. Though apparently they still relied on the divine powers of Al Roker and Mr. G to allow them to play on any given day. My childhood understanding of the hierarchy in the subjective realm was: God, Santa Claus, and then the weatherman.
I grew up hating the weatherman, feeling conflicted as a result of his jolly demeanor and pleasant nature, but also relentless insistence on ruining so many special days, and even a lot of ordinary days. “What was the point?” I’d think, and sometimes ask. “Why ever make it rain? What’s Roker getting out of this, that bastard?”
Sometimes something awful would happen, like the San Francisco earthquake or terrible hurricanes, and I figured the weatherman must be in a very bad mood.
Other times it wouldn’t rain for a while, we’d drive past the local reservoir and Dad would shake his head. “Look how dry,” he’d say. “We need some rain.”
What?! We do?! It was so confusing. What does that mean? We need the weatherman to “screw us” again? Why do we need rain?
Eventually I found out the weatherman was just some guy on TV — probably someone else’s dad — and not in control over the entire planet’s meteorological reality. Soon enough I found out Santa Claus wasn’t real and God wasn’t real either, and then I waffled back and forth a bunch on the latter; but have been steadfast in my belief system around Roker. He’s not some vicious bastard with an unpredictable agenda for randomly ruining sporting events, big and small. He’s just the messenger, who somehow ended up getting lost in translation between Dad’s quirky expressions and my childlike stupidity, and I’m so grateful for this memory.
It’s my belief that it is our responsibility to take all of the good from our parents and make it even better, also to take all of the bad and make it… well, not as bad. We can aim to take all of the good and leave all of the bad, and then we can grow the hell up and realize that’s not how life works. That’s not the human experience, as we’re all destined to become some variation of our parents.
Don’t worry. It’s not as bad as it seems. I’ll always have Dad’s temper and a bit of his hypersensitivity, but if mine can be just 50% of what his was then I’m doing great. After all, we do need some rain. As for the sunshine, I can only hope to exceed Dad’s playfulness and wordplay and carry on the legacy of that son of a bitch, weatherman.
I first had the idea for this entry a week ago. We had plans for a socially distanced outdoors Father’s Day, then noticed rain on the forecast for the entire weekend. “Don’t screw us over, Erick Adame,” I yelled at NY1 for my wife’s entertainment. She laughed and concurred: “Yeah, Erick, come on!” I never told her my rhetorical request was a reference to an old Dad joke but I didn’t have to. She’s an intelligent adult — not a stupid little kid. She knows Erick Adame’s not in control of the Goddamn weather, but she got the joke and played right along.
I hope to one day confuse and entertain, then educate and enlighten my kids the same way Dad did me. I hope they grow up thinking it was Erick Adame’s fault the Yankees didn’t play or we didn’t go to the park last weekend. I hope they grow up hating him, but loving me, then ultimately loving Erick too, loving God, then hating God, feeling indifferent about God, but loving themselves. I hope I’m even better than Dad and they’ll be better than me.
Thank you, Pops. RIP