Like a lot of men, my relationship with my father is complex. Over the years it has moved from love, to hate, to love again. When I was a boy, he was the hero of the household, leaving to conquer the world each morning, and sitting at the head of the dinner table each night. But as I moved into adolescence, and then into my young twenties, we argued a lot. The problem was, we were similar people looking at the world in different ways; he with jaded cynicism, me with rose-colored glasses. I resented him for always dousing my idealistic optimism for a better world with resigned pessimism for a worse one. He was no hero, I thought, just a bitter curmudgeon who’d let life beat him down.

As my resentments toward my father deepened, I wrote him ...

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