I might have well titled this as "struggles with your father figure." The original Pt. 2 was the story about how I ended up in SoCal, and has a little tidbit about Monica Lewinski. I'll get to it eventually.
I don't get along with my dad. At this point, it's evident I never will. I'm deeply jealous of friends who have a good relationship with their father. Here I am with my father in stage 4 prostate cancer, and all I can think is the Coyote Shivers lyric, "I'd rather be missing you than wishing you were gone." It's a great song to get through a break up (Happiness Is a Warm Bong), but it feels really cold for a son to lament his father. I've been putting a lot of thought into a eulogy for a couple years now. I have nothing nice to say. I've got one good story about Uhaul not suing the Dead Kennedys for trademark infringement (not as lenient as copyright laws), where he went to bat for me, but really he was all about his public image, and he didn't want his kids to be pissed off enough to take him down. Obviously, that didn't happen, since he got named "worst father of the year" in the Phoenix New Times "Worst of Phoenix" edition. I'm going to use this space to try to flesh out my goodbye with some tact.
My father was an idea thief second only to Edison. (ok, bad start, but I'm trying to give kudos to his only strength). His contributions (taking credit for other people's ideas) to supersonic travel was a monumental stepping stone for mankind with the development of the XB70 bomber (project Valkerie), and from what he has told me about his time with Boeing, he actually did stand up to General Electric against the photo op that killed the project (it was unanimous from the engineering team that it was a dumb idea. GE wanted a picture of all of their engines in formation from the various planes that used them, and the Valkerie sucked an F104 Starfighter into its engine when it got too close to its wake). After his career at Boeing literally exploded over the desert just north of Barstow, he moved from Seattle back down to Portland, just across the river from where he grew up, and went into the import/export business. Stories from that period of his life taught me all the ticks & tips to smuggling anyone would ever need to know to be successful at it. That wasn't the point of his stories, but he let a lot of information slip. After that, he joined Uhaul, where he met his future wife, and the person who would eventually be my mom. As he steadily failed upward on the shoulders of other people's ideas, he found himself in upper management with his first task being orchestrating moving the entire company to Phoenix, AZ. After the move, he wrote a data transfer protocol so that every Uhaul location could communicate via computer network, pre-internet (clearly he didn't. I have to set this guy's clocks twice a year and reset his router every time the power goes out), and was promoted to Vice President of Operations. The encryption was actually pretty impressive. So much so, that he was approached by the CIA. They wanted to buy it. Uhaul said it wasn't for sale, so the CIA just rented a floor in an office building across the street, laser mic'd the windows to capture keystrokes, and monitored the power supply for pulses. They were able to backwards engineer it, for far less what they would've paid Uhaul. Because they copied it exactly, you used to be able to log in to our government from any Uhaul terminal across the globe (in case you ever wondered why I know all of our government's secrets). He still remained in our government's good graces, and received a Christmas card from Ronald Reagan every year. Hand signed, not auto-pen. He retired at the early age age of 50 (no pension, leeching mostly off my mom's family's money, and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from my brother & me).I'll obviously leave out the parenthetical asides, but I think I have enough to work with to say something from the pulpit.