July 6, 2011 10:58 AM   Subscribe

My Father Is an African Immigrant and My Mother Is a White Girl from Kansas and I Am Not the President of the United States Or, How to Disappoint Your Absent Father in 20 Words or Less
posted by minifigs (28 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
It doesn't mean let YOUR name not be forgotten—it means let HIS name not be forgotten! It has nothing to do with you!"

Wasn't this obvious?
posted by nathancaswell at 11:05 AM on July 6, 2011

That was great, thanks minifigs.
posted by peep at 11:09 AM on July 6, 2011

The only "obvious" part to me is that it's an absolutely gorgeously-written piece.
Thanks - bookmarked for a less hasty read later.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:12 AM on July 6, 2011 [6 favorites]

Yes, this was wonderful. I love how sometimes we are our own unreliable narrators. Beautiful essay.
posted by mothershock at 11:15 AM on July 6, 2011 [5 favorites]

this was a very nice read, thanks
posted by infini at 11:20 AM on July 6, 2011

It'll be pretty funny if he takes his wife's name when he gets married.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:33 AM on July 6, 2011

It'll be pretty funny if he takes his wife's name when he gets married.

Not likely.

"Ahamefule J. Oluo has two children that he loves and two ex-wives that he hates."
posted by HopperFan at 11:38 AM on July 6, 2011

This bodes well. Glad he learned these things early.

His personal website is brief but fun.

Cat's a good writer, a comedian, a trumpeter who digs Miles' Kinda Blue and Radiohead, and he's played with John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz, and Julian Priester. . .
how come I haven't heard of him before?

(Answer seems to be: he's in Seattle and I'm not.)

Curious now to hear him play.

posted by Herodios at 11:44 AM on July 6, 2011

Woah, this essay was like looking into a funhouse mirror for me.

When I had my single lifetime conversation with my African immigrant dad, he too expressed "disappointment" with my choices -- I mean seriously, you just met your kid, and that's the first thing you do? "Lucky" for me, as it turns out he misheard me, and once we cleared that up, he was thrilled with the superficial yet socially acceptable thing he'd learned about my life.

He also tried to give me a ten dollar bill from his wallet within 10 minutes of meeting me. I had no idea what he was doing and was terribly confused and gave it back to him, which made him even more thrilled. It was only later that I realized he was testing me to see whether I was just in it for the money. Seeing as how he knew I knew he was a college professor because I met him by attending his office hours (yep), I'm not sure why he thought I'd think he was wealthy enough for that to be my main motivation.

And among the many, many other similarities between my life and Oluo's, my father also regularly lied about his age (but he didn't have a birth certificate, so he could get away with it) and he died in his 70s of diabetes.... I'm not going to get into the rest of the similarities, but wow... that was freaky.
posted by lesli212 at 11:47 AM on July 6, 2011 [18 favorites]

Must add my voice to chorus. That was a wonderful (short) piece and it made me remember why good writing refreshes my soul.
(the footnotes gave me a laugh, too)
posted by mer2113 at 11:52 AM on July 6, 2011

Why you should always spend as much time as possible with your children: the less you talk to them, the more of a negative impact you will have on their lives if you say one incredibly stupid thing.
posted by davejay at 12:06 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

It'll be pretty funny if he takes his wife's name when he gets married.

posted by asnider at 12:25 PM on July 6, 2011

You... really need that joke explained to you?!
posted by hincandenza at 12:27 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed that. Thanks.
posted by kinnakeet at 12:34 PM on July 6, 2011

That was sad and funny and awesome. Thank you for sharing that.
posted by smirkette at 1:07 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

What a great, great piece. Thanks for posting.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 1:22 PM on July 6, 2011

An excellent, well written work. Thanks.
posted by absalom at 2:26 PM on July 6, 2011

I laughed out loud at the nickname part. Great story since I didn't have to live it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:58 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

That was fucking delightful. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Diablevert at 3:07 PM on July 6, 2011

Awesome writing puts smile on my face.

posted by mistersquid at 3:38 PM on July 6, 2011

Great essay!
posted by yarly at 6:30 PM on July 6, 2011

Asnider: why?

Ahamefule's dad gave him that name with the hope that his (the dad's) surname (Oluo) would continue. If Ahamefule takes his wife's surname, then his dad's surname would be discarded.
posted by hootenatty at 7:07 PM on July 6, 2011

This is good.
posted by bardic at 8:25 PM on July 6, 2011

wow, that was so good. Love his website too.
posted by sweetkid at 9:05 PM on July 6, 2011

Yes, I was delighted by both the essay and the website.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:39 PM on July 6, 2011

Saw a book at Barnes and Noble titled "Behind Every Good Kid is an Awesome Dad," in the clearance bin.

This was great!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:22 PM on July 6, 2011

That was great, and the footnotes had me laughing out loud.
posted by dabitch at 12:03 AM on July 7, 2011

lesli212 sounds like you have a half brother...
posted by Meatbomb at 6:27 AM on July 17, 2011

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