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dad: some serious generation gap I

At about 19 I decided I didn't want to live under my mom's unreasonable rules (like doing my own dishes) anymore, and I decided to ask my dad if I could go live with him in Chicago where everything was cool. Also I had no car, and I had already gotten fired from every crappy fast food job within walking distance (Beef-a-Roo, Dairy Queen, K-Mart).

The reality was that my dad was living in his mom's rent-controlled one-bedroom apartment on Barry and Belmont. But hey, I was only going to live there for a couple of months until I could save up enough cash to get my own place in the big city. He said he'd love to have me, so one fine afternoon I showed up on his front step with my bags and my queen sized futon.

I noticed something strange was going on as he began to stash my things in the hall closet hastily. It occurred to me that he hadn't mentioned to my grandma, Bubby Glore (bubby is yiddish for grandma, and Gloria was her real name) that I was planning on an extended stay. I suppose she figured it out soon enough.

One of the first things I noticed were the stacks of newspapers, books, magazines, notebooks, and bags of same that covered every available square inch of floor, table, counter, and horizontal space in the entire apartment. When my dad finds something interesting in a newspaper, he marks the interesting article, and then saves the entire newspaper. Plus, he is a prolific collector of books like Ostrander's Superlearning, Zig Ziglar's See You at the Top, Nathan Pritikin's Live Longer Now, Richard Nelson Bolles' What Color is Your Parachute and Napoleon Hill's perennial classic Think and Grow Rich.

Bubby had the only bedroom, and slept on a king sized bed that filled up most of the room. My dad slept on the couch in the living room, and I slept in a 3' x 8' area graciously cleared of the piles. There I was...in Chicago.

I never realized how real the generation gap really was until I got a chance to get to know my dad. We both liked movies, and we both liked coffee shops, but that was about where the similarities ended. We didn't even like the same kinds of coffee shops. I couldn't understand how he could drink coffee at Starbucks, but it turns out that the Clark and Diversey Starbucks was quite a mecca for big business movers and shakers. My dad loved to sit all afternoon in a Starbucks putting things in notebooks like this:

10 people each year x
10 of their friends x
10 of their friends x
$1000/ea. lifetime membership =
$1,000,000/year

For a non-made-up example read his article, What Is The Reality of Self-Employment.

I don't know how he does it, but he gets people in the Starbucks all fired up and gets them to invest in his newest thing, and buy lifetime memberships sometimes. Then he lives on the money while he tries to line up more people to pay for what he promised the first person. Eventually it crumbles. Two months later I get a phone call, "I've got something cooking. It's big. It's really big."

This was the first time I got to see it first hand. It was also the first time I got to truly experience the generation gap. I mean, I always knew he said things like, "hey, look at that attractive gal" and "allll-right!". I was just used to my mom, who had had 19 years of practice in trying to be at least slightly cool. My dad was still totally into Barbara Streisand. One time he hitchhiked to New York in the 1960's just to see her. My dad had no idea of what cool even meant in 1992. I don't think he even cared. It did make it a little hard to relate to him.