When he was 30
my father had built and torn down
and rebuilt again a shed
with his own hands;
had planned a future for himself and his wife
and the two children he knew he'd have.
My father had serious hobbies.
I remember the oscilloscopes and the smell
He would come home from work and pore over
financial documents, figure out how to keep us
safe and secure and comfortable.
Because that is what grown-ups do.
And he'd worry and frown and talk seriously
to serious men.
It was clear to me then that there was a line
between child and man, and that I was
on this side and he on the other.
That was fine. The line would come closer
and one day I'd leap over it
and be a serious man, too.
I am still waiting.
I am 30 now.
It is not what I thought it would be.
It is no different from being 16, only that now
I have no one to send me to bed at 11,
so I stay up until 5,
I have no one to tell me to get my finances straight,
so I don't.
And I am not alone.
We are not grown-ups, but overgrown
children with no supervision.
Yes, certainly, our parents, they faked much of what they did.
Surely no one could be as certain of everything as they seemed to us.
But my father knew how to build a shed.
My parents married before they were 20, because they had to.
We have so much freedom that we cook it in a spoon
and mainline it.
My mother keeps one book of memorabilia for me
and my sister each. One day, she showed me mine.
Here's a picture of little Daniel in the hospital, bringing flowers
to his little sister only just born.
Here's a picture of little Daniel in the bathtub, with littler Daniel
poking out of the foam.
And here's a chart of temperatures. My mother points at a peak.
"This is when you were conceived," she says,
and I guess I wasn't an accident then.
There was one girl once that I nearly loved sufficiently
to think about a family. But then I loved her less,
and when we broke up, after I was done crying, I thought,
well at least I won't have to think about the future anymore.
I am 30 now.
When I was in high school, my father ran a factory.
That went poorly, but with the certainty of a son I knew
that it was not his fault. And he faced the music and soldiered on.
For a time, there was no one in the world who knew quite as much
about laser-drilling printed circuit boards as my father did.
I am still so proud of him.
And even though toward the end he hated it, he saw it through,
a career spent knowing all there was to know
about printed circuit boards.
My career has been a series of extremely lucky stumbles.
Where do I see myself in five years' time? Holy shit,
ask me about tomorrow night.