Rites of Passage

 

Today I received one of the payoffs of being a Dad. Bronson came up to me at home and ask me to teach him how to shave.  He's 17 and it's April 8, 2006.  He said all his friends do already when I said, "So you are going to shave already."  Which means he could have asked his friends for advice instead of come to his Pop.  After using the cheapo disposable Gillette (the one with the plastic blue handle) from Costco and lather from the hand soap, he said, "That was easy."  Later after dinner out with him and Mom, the guys went to Longs drug so he could select his own shaving cream and after shave.  He picked the cheapest, proudly buying the stuff by himself, receiving his items and change from the teenage girl cashier.  Ah, fatherhood!

Later alone in the car he asked about organized "religion."  I said I didn't truly believe in the afterlife until after 40, even as a long term Catholic, until the death of my mother and her spirit's visitation to my bedroom on the second day after her passing.  Then I truly believed in the life eternal and the existence of souls. My son understood what I was conveying and I think it helps answer some of his doubts that occasionally surfaces for the rational mind.

At dinner he finally articulated the question of why I had bothered to get ten college degrees.  It ended by me saying it helped foster an attitude and belief in aesthetic self that materialized the works to be published in my upcoming book, "100 Pygoyan Cyber-Paintings."  I told him the book served as a summary of art experimentation and developmental effort since age 17.  The works reach a cumulative height which I am satisfied with, providing me the choice to continue or continue to create in the visual arts.  It is also "documentation" and "publication" for history and posterity, even if there isn't any apparent interest in my work by the official art world.  I told my son, at age 60, I now acknowledge there pure talent, effort and persistence doesn't guarantee success like we are fed, that there is much phoniness, corruption, self-interest, and supply and demand at work in the establish art world.  Many creative geniuses will die undiscovered and socially unfulfilled.  Yes, I said, I agree that the passion is most important to continue the meaning to "do."  But, at 60, I told him, I've done it all, am satisfied with what 40 years of effort had materialized, and the only thing left to pursue my art really is the marketing aspect of the body of works.  I am free to expend the time, money and energy or simply continue to ignore it.  Nice talk with son No. 1 about Pappa the artist, not just the doctor.

Such a day of bonding!  Guess he is really heading out to college, leaving home, in a few months.  My boy indeed is turning into a man in quest of a personalized philosophy of life, death, and God.