Teamwork, Chinese food and Lou Ferrigno

To this day I measure my father’s best quality (his selfless generosity) in the weight of a white plastic grocery-bag, slightly damp from being carried on top of a cardboard box filled with Chinese takeout.

 We were living in a small two-story semi-detached. It would be the house I first saw my baby brother in, and the house that I would walk in bandaged after surgery, surviving a brutal attack from an Alsatian that almost left half my face paralysed. It would also be the house in which I would have my first memorable toy experience.

Dad walks in from work. The smell of sweet and sour pork, hot rice and chicken egg-flake soup fills the lounge. He sets the container on the coffee table in front of me. The incredible hulk was just starting on television. Lou Ferrigno was running in the intro. The plastic bag catches my eye. 'Toys, toys inside!'

My folks didn't have much money back then, but that didn’t stop my dad from coming home with takeout and a grocery bag with the entire fucking A-team. Not just my favourite, not even two.  All four figures, all at once. Is there any better way to do it?

I’m all grown up, there are many things my dad may not understand about me: my idea of the perfect job (writing comic books), my toy collection, tattoos and choice of sneakers. But we do share the most important thing, we share his outlook, the kind that jumps in, get excited if I’m excited, and somehow knows, that if you’re gonna buy a kid something he loves, you might as well do it right. I’ve let this memory shape my worldview, I’m reflexively generous with what I have. I attribute it all to this simple weekday memory.

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