the proverbial tiger in the bathroom.

at my dad’s birthday dinner he mentioned wanting to see the hangover. my sister was taken aback at first, detailing my dad’s history with movies, how he turned off from dusk till dawn after one minute thirty seconds because it had already grossly exceeded his fuck quota, how he would fastforward through scenes of kissing, and how he still didn’t want us to watch pretty woman.

she had forgotten, however, that human beings can be complicated creatures, unable to be reduced to a sum of their tolerances. i pointed out that he liked american pie an awful lot, and he burst into laughter, reminiscing about teen sex comedies. through the chuckles we heard, when that guy porks the pie, then something indecipherable before emphasizing, he’s porking the pie.

it was a good moment to interrupt, if only to block him from saying pork again in that connotation, so i proceeded with something that had struck me as peculiar earlier, namely the contents of his dvr. around four am the reality show about video game players i had been watching stopped, a message box alerting me that, in order to continue, i would have to cancel one of the programs being recorded. other than me, i thought, who would be taping one show at this hour, let alone two? i scanned the database to determine if they were absolutely necessary, or if i could delete one and go back to viewing the white-knuckled action of people competing to be the best at guitar hero, fingering the chords methodically, without facial expression or emotion, as if their bones had fused with the instrument and they were one with the system.

listed were six or seven porn titles, like gangbangs of new york, ocean’s eleven inches, thirteen going down on thirty, how stella got her tube packed, and, um, mating to sex-hale (okay, these were not the real titles — they were more uninspired, like love beach seven or pillar of romance three or girls on the run). at dinner i brought this up. had my dad, in the absence of my mother, turned to poorly-written scripts and characters that were not fleshed out (pardon the pun)? the truth, although it made my father appear really naive, was much more believable and, thankfully, more amusing. he had recorded the movies because he couldn’t comprehend how pornography could possibly be freely broadcast on television. he had viewed a few minutes of each (i’m not sure why exactly he kept going after he turned the first off) and discovered to his amazement that, yes, they were indeed allowed to show nudity and some amount of sexual engagement.

sometime between my late night/early morning inspection and dinner he had erased the contents of the dvr, entering his sixth decade on the earth a little wiser about man’s inclinations and the scope of technology.


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