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Todd Sawyer

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Is The Sixth Time The Charm?

Posted: 03/ 8/2012 6:36 pm

I interview people about their worst relationship choices for mypickerisbroken.com. I had a thought, "I should interview my Dad. He's been married five times and getting ready for number six."

I've been a stand-up comic for over twenty years, I've seen a lot of very funny people, and to this day, my Dad is the funniest guy I know.

With most comedians, the old saying, "laughter is the best medicine" is true. Their life stories are pretty tough; it's either laugh or cry, so why not go with the joke? The same is true for my Dad.

He was raised by his father because his mom left when he was two. She died when he was twelve and he never really knew her.

He's the father of six, my hero, and once described perfectly by my Grandma, "Your Dad is a great father and shitty husband."

In all fairness, he didn't have a very good example. His father was married four times, twice to the same lady. When Dad agreed to do this interview, I thought I would change his name, so he wouldn't throw all the ex-wives under the bus, including my Mom. But Dad said he could do it without saying anything bad about them.

You got to love his optimism.

Me: Last I knew there was a sixth marriage planned?

Dad: Well, um, yeah... Beth, um, well, just, things just kinda got a little sideways for a second. She didn't, she just... ah, it's hard. Maybe, I don't know... we're working on it.

Beth is a 33 year old Filipino woman with two young kids. Dad met her six months ago, while he was visiting an old friend in the Philippines. He spent a month with her then came back to Seattle and slowly revealed to his six grown children that he planned on getting married and moving to the Philippines to retire. Her two year old and six year old would help him stay young.

The beauty of my father is all in that answer. He doesn't give away much information in the answer; vague is very much a part of my father's game plan. Once, he and I were at a convention that his second wife was also at and she had asked me for the third time where Dad was, I didn't know and I said, "you don't end up with five ex-wives, because you tell everyone where you are going."

Dad thinks it's his business, where he is and what he's doing. Not really an attribute for most marriages.

Me: This interview is about the worst choice in relationships, so this is the part, where I have to ask, who was the worst choice?

Dad: Look, it doesn't matter; I could pick an emotionally unavailable woman from across the room.

I don't want to pin Dad down on this one, and not just because I really like some of my step-moms or because I don't want him to say my Mom was the worst choice. (Though he and mom got pregnant when they were teenagers and getting married was what you did then. They had only dated a couple of months, so I don't think he "picked" mom or her him.)

But I don't want to pin him down on the answer for another reason; trying to pin Dad down, only shuts him down. A shut down Dad makes for a tough interview. I don't want that.

Grab my dictionary and look up "emotionally"-- of or showing emotion. A strong feeling.
Then "unavailable" -- the opposite of: present or ready for immediate use: ACCESSIBLE, OBTAINABLE: qualified or willing to do something or to assume a responsibility.

I read that to Dad then:

Me: So are you emotionally available?

Pops runs his hand through his gray hair, cracks his neck, stretches and looks out the window.

Dad: Um...hmm...well, that's a good question.

Again, the beauty of Dad; after all the hemming and hawing, still no answer. I love it, because he is true to himself. He doesn't give in just because I asked a question. Nor does he give an answer that might later come back and haunt him. You can see how being married to him could be a little difficult.

Me: Pops, I'm not very good at this, you know I don't want to pin you down and I don't want to make anyone look bad, maybe if we do your story and change your name, then you could be a little more direct.

Dad: Son, I am being direct. It's not them, it's me. I keep picking the same woman.

I agree with that. He picks Type A women. Almost the exact opposite of Dad. It's my Mom; it's all my Step-Moms. (I'm not sure about #5, they got married when I was thirty-six and were only married for two years, I'm not sure of much about her, except her name, and I have to think about it.)

I think Einstein said, "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity." I have a friend that says, "That's not insanity, it's stupid." Either way, it seems like it's what's happening for Dad.

One of the reasons I support Dad marrying Beth and moving to the Philippines is that she is different than the others. I would love for Dad to have someone that's not Type A.

Hell, he's 65 years old, she's young and beautiful and thinks the sun rises and sets with him. Let the Old Boy enjoy the golden years. And if it doesn't work, seven is a good number too.

So there you have it; a two question interview with my Dad. I don't know who said, "You never want to meet your hero." But if you do...I hope he is an easier interview. And I hope Beth is the one!