Like Father, Like Son

Submitted into Contest #120 in response to: Start your story with the line ‘Back in my day…’... view prompt

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Christian Drama Contemporary

This story contains sensitive content

“Back in my day...” The words were barely out of my mouth when, as is common these days, I was rudely interrupted.

“Back in your day? Geez Dad, you’re 50 not 500.”

“That’s the whole point,” I said, attempting to win back a conversation I should never have lost in the first place. “How, in the space of 30 years did we go from there to here?”

“From where to where?”

“When I got out of college in 1981, there was one country, two genders, ten commandments and endless possibilities. Now there are just excuses. If this is what progress looks like, then thank God I’m not a progressive.” 

“In your day, there were endless job possibilities, ten rich nations running the world, two options of living your life, and one patriarchy that controlled everything from where you could pee to what color you could dress your baby.”

“You’ve seen the polls, son. The majority of Americans reject the liberal agenda. We’ve seen your socialist ideas fail time and time again in other countries—and we aren’t too keen on trying them here. You can’t believe in a system that thinks the government can make better decisions for the people than they can for themselves.”

“Dad, for God’s sake…”

“God? What God? Back in my day—yes, I said it again—God was a rock, a true north, the foundation. Today everyone is their own god. You may like that when it comes to choosing your gender or choosing no gender at all. You may like that when it comes to men legally being able to marry men and women, women but where does it stop?”

“The slippery slope theory, really? That’s your argument?”

“Disparaging the slippery slope theory? Really? That’s your defense?”

“Your damn fucking right it is. It’s the old guy way to try to win an argument. Don’t argue the present, argue the future. Prove me wrong?”

“I wish your generation would give one hairless fuck about the future. You want to bring children into this world where there are literally no boundaries or societal conventions? You want to argue human rights? Let’s just start with the most basic human right of all: the right to life.”

“Please don’t bring up, abortion, Dad. You don’t have a uterus. You don’t have a dog in this fight.”

“I do have a right to say that life is a God-given gift. If a woman is impregnated, whether she is ready to be or not, that isn’t her concern anymore. The life she carries deserves it’s inalienable right to be born.”

“Dad, it’s a women's issue, plain and simple. Women have the right to control what goes on in their own body. You should understand that. Isn’t that your vaccination argument?”

“A women’s issue? That’s a red herring. It’s a children’s issue. Do we as a civilized society defend the weakest among us or not? Back in my day…”

“Shit, would you stop saying that, Dad?”

“Back in my day—women protected their children. They didn’t kill them. By the way, if you must know the truth, abortion as a tool to destroy the black community is a dirty little secret no one talks about at parties. If you really are a progressive and if you really do believe black lives matter, then stop the genocide.”

“Back in your day, women and blacks were so marginalized, they needed whole ass social movements and reams of governmental regulations to get a seat at the table. And you know who else your generation kept at bay? Queers, Dad. Faggots. The evil homosexuals.”

“Son, the Bible says—”

“Will you give that obscene book of fairy tales a rest? For someone who’s never met a Jew, you certainly live or die by their ancient history.”

“Christ is the Savior for all, son. The commandments prepare us for the Rapture—”

“When you Christians start living your religion and practicing what Jesus actually preached, I’ll worry about being beamed up to a magical space ship while the whole world burns.”

“You spend so much time trying to find ways imperfect people make imperfect decisions that you never even read for yourself to see if what the Bible says is true. Back in my day…”

“That doesn’t even fit here, Dad. You’re just saying it to piss me off.”

“As I said, back in my day—we weren’t cowards.”

“Cowards? Fuck you.”

“You and your ilk are cowards. You think kissing a boy or wearing your sister's dress makes you brave? It doesn’t. It makes you weird. The worst part is that’s the point: you want to be weird. Heaven forbid you fit in.”

“Give in.”

“No fit in. And heaven forbid you love your neighbor as yourself and love God. That would mean admitting you aren’t the center of the universe. What a fucking nightmare!”

“I don’t need some made up man in the sky to tell me who to fuck, what to wear, when to pray, or what to eat. If God loves me and if I’m a child of God, you would think he’d be thrilled for me to actually figure some of this bullshit out for myself.”

“Exactly. That’s the meaning of your life: to know who you are. The purpose is for you to keep his commandments and help others know His will.” 

“That makes exactly zero sense. If God knows who I am then what exactly is he testing me for, especially whether I keep some ancient code that is inherently sexist and racist, written down by Jewish scribes thousands of years ago. Sorry, Dad. I’m not buying any of it.”

“You don’t have to believe in God, but he believes in you.”

“Well, you don’t have to believe in homosexuality, women’s rights, abortion, sex before marriage, drinking alcohol, or a government that actually helps out the less fortunate either, but you sure as shit can’t have it both ways. Either we love our neighbors AS THEY ARE as we love ourselves, or your entire religion buckles under the weight of overweening hypocrisy.” 

“God doesn’t test you. He loves you. He loves you no matter what you do; however, he only forgives you if you ask for it and repent. It’s easier today to pretend he doesn’t exist. That way there is no right or wrong. Here’s the thing. Sexual preference is not something anyone is born with. It’s learned. The same way love and hate is learned. I don’t hate homosexuals. I don’t even believe they exist. Gay is what you do, not who you are. Back in my day…”

“Are you serious?”

“Ok, that time I was just kidding. Maybe it’s time we bring the temperature down a notch or two.”

“Maybe we just don't discuss religion or politics. Ever.”

“Agreed. At least for a couple of decades or so.”

“Deal.”

“So, is halftime over?”

“Yep. I feel the Giants will make a comeback this quarter.”

“You say that every quarter, Dad.”

“Well,” I say, looking at him pointedly. “Back in my day...”


November 17, 2021 01:09

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8 comments

Francis Daisy
11:39 Nov 22, 2021

Nailed it. This is definitely spot on real. Great job!

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H L Mc Quaid
09:15 Nov 19, 2021

Omg, this this too similar to the conversations I've had with people (excluding the the religion bit), that I'm getting anxious just reading it. :0 Very well done, how you've laid out the slippery tactics that people like the father uses to 'win' arguments. Drives me nuts. My only note, is I'm wondering whether the father would swear (eff-word particularly). Right now, other than the content of what each is saying, they sound like the same person (in terms of speech patterns, word choice, etc.). So perhaps there's an opportunity to differ...

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Jon Casper
12:32 Nov 17, 2021

This certainly exemplifies the futility of arguing about politics and religion. The dialogue is wonderful. An almost entirely dialogue-driven story is hard to pull off but you did it. Great work!

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I.B. Dunn
01:12 Nov 17, 2021

I’ve missed you Mister X. I love this one. Keep writing.

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Howard Seeley
04:51 Nov 27, 2021

Great effort. Keep up the good work!

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Jane Ruth
12:43 Nov 26, 2021

LIked the discussion aspect, but the swearing so much turned me off. I agree with the person who said it could be expressed differently. I don't remember old guys using it that much. And it wouldn't help the Christian argument. The different arguments between the two sound like today.

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03:15 Nov 24, 2021

Great (and real) arguments from both characters, and well stated. I'm not sure you should have tackled soooo many topics in one half-time argument, and I agree with H L McQuaid that if "Dad's" voice were a little different with less cursing, perhaps, even some old fashioned expressions like fiddlesticks or balderdash (or not) it would have been an effective way to tell their voices apart. It cooled down pretty fast for having been so incendiary, so maybe an interruption like "Look, halftime's over..." to stop the arguing. Or maybe Mom: "You ...

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Patrick Otvos
15:28 Nov 22, 2021

Living in interesting times, aren't we? So much division, yet aren't we all the same. Great topics of discussion and it can get heated. I particularly like that sports brings them together again in the end.

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