Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Countdown To A Wedding - 'Second Position'"

It is possible to view my daughter’s upcoming wedding – now less than two weeks away – as a runaway train. But that would not be right. The wedding is not a runaway train. It’s a train coming straight at me.

I’m not talking about the logistics. That is a runaway train. I am talking about what the wedding actually means. And by that, I of course mean, to me.

There’s this situation in show business. You want this actor to be in your pilot, but they’re under contract to another pilot, or to a series that may or may not get picked up.

This actor is perfect for the role you are trying to cast. But the only way you even have a shot of getting them is if you sign them to a contract, in the hope that, if there’s a God in heaven, the other project will somehow fall through. This contract process is known as taking the actor in

“Second Position.”

This term came to mind because, we were at lunch with another couple recently, and the woman, a colleague of Dr. M’s, was describing what it means to a Dad when their daughter marries. She’s informing me, with what I detect as barely hidden glee, that, when their daughter gets married, suddenly, the Dad finds himself in

“Second Position”

I thought psychologists were supposed to be sensitive. Maybe that’s just when they’re on the clock.

This is not the first time I find myself in “Second Position.” For almost thirty-five years, I’ve been a Step-Dad to Dr. M’s daughter, Rachel. “Step-Dad”, especially when the Dad remains in the picture, is the “Poster Child” for “Second Position.”

Rachel is a joy, but “Second Position” is nobody’s “Position of Choice.” And in this case, it’s even more challenging. As the Step-Dad, you’re in “Second Position” from the get-go. Here, it is literally,

“Step aside.”

It’s not easy, giving up “First Position.” After a lifetime of memorable, her-and-me “bonding moments.”

Holding her when she was just born, and she’s crying her head off, and I didn’t know what to do.

“Potty Training.” Where I looked away for a second, and she toppled from the toilet, and landed on her head.

Taking a shortcut to the Santa Monica Pier and ending up having to walk across the freeway.

And many, many, many more.

I am no fan of change. That was never more obvious than when, on the morning we were dropping her off at college on the other side of the country, I stepped on an expensive pair of sunglasses, and I brushed my teeth with BENGAY.

Change is a coin toss, and I prefer not to gamble. I ate Spoon Sized Shredded Wheat for breakfast for thirty-five years. It was the perfect cereal. No sugar. Stayed crunchy in milk. Nutty flavor. I never varied. It was always Spoon Sized Shredded Wheat.

Then my acupuncturist, Dr. Tan, put me on a Gluten Free diet, and it was goodbye, Spoon Sized Shredded Wheat. Okay, it turned out that I really liked oatmeal, so the “changing cereal” thing worked out, but this is hardy the same.

Cereal doesn’t get a busy life and forget about you.

Cereal doesn’t move away for a job.

Cereal doesn’t have a kid. A kid. Perfect. Now I’m in “Third Position.”

It is going to get worse!

Hey, knock it off, will ya? You and Anna have a special relationship. If you mattered before, you’ll always matter. That’s just the way it is.

Sure. Just what I need right now. Reason!

This is a joyous occasion…

I know that. Please stop talking.

There’ll be no answers in this post. This is a work in progress. But I better work fast.

There’s a train on the horizon.

And it’s barreling my way.


Zaraya said...

Dear Mr. Pomerantz; I find the image of a train and Second Position to be at odds but I don't know why. Maybe I don't like train analogies...


diane said...

I know that it is said that you gain a son in these cases, but I believe that is not compensatory. Good luck, Earl. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

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