In Which Chemotherapy Must Be Accounted For

Various Impressions of My Father

by Alex Carnevale

My dad was born in 1956, where it is rumored there were no blackberries.

My father was diagnosed with a tumor about three months ago. Before Thanksgiving I went with my dad to the offices of a doctor who knows about these kind of things.

Unsurprisingly, my father’s doctor is a Jew. My dad is the original Hebrew lover, he married a Jewish woman before it was cool to do so, and he has remained with her long after it became very uncool. Snap.

My dad is 100 percent Sicilian. Sicilians have never been the most level-headed of people. Frank Capra is probably the best one. I mean, after myself.

We’re an angry people. That’s why for most Sicilians, The Sopranos was really about us.

Oskar Schindler, another Hebrew lover

As for the tumor, they are shrinking it with chemotherapy and they are going to operate on it in three months most probably.

Seven years, my father and I were looking at an exhibition of Georgia O’Keefe paintings. “They’re very vaginal, aren’t they?” I said. “You said it, not me,” my dad said.

Since the blood flow isn’t really getting to my dad’s head, he’s been tired and the chemo-brain doesn’t help. The nausea is the worst part.

My dad’s pretty brave, I would probably be crying a lot and talking about how Harry Potter is an orphan. He’s still working his regular schedule. He’s a periodontist.

After we went for the biopsy about a month ago, we found out that the tumor is a thymoma. The biopsy confirmed it was benign.

my little brother

My dad is a great catch, he’s really nice. He bought my brother an XBox 360. Yes it was for Christmas but that is still a considerate gift.

A man in a gray leotard came up to me on the subway a few days ago. He snickered at me and said, “Don’t you know we’re all going to die?”

Sometimes I think about my dad as a dork in college. If I were to walk up to my father then, I would say, “Stop being such a nerd, nerd” and fuck his notebooks up.

the newark skyline

In my parents’ wedding photo, my dad looks like a crackhead, and my mom has long hair.

Things I do strictly because I am the son of my father: good at lying to self and others, bravery, good hair, study skills, big nose, rage issues. My dad doesn’t have very many of my bad qualities. He swims every morning. He really takes care of himself. He was a lieutenant in the Navy.

I think you stole chris rock’s hairstyle there big guy

Once I came to my dad and said, “Remember that story you told me about your friend who drove a pickup truck who stepped out into traffic and died one day?” “I never told you anything like that,” my dad said. This is the meaning of fatherhood–you impart lessons in the same fashion Monet painted landscapes.

It is hard to know why some men become family men. When I was younger I did not know any other way, surrounded by men who married, if not necessarily for good. Does my dad ever imagine a life for himself without a family? I mean, I like families, but they are no slam dunk.

My parents both went to Rutgers. They met in a laundry room or something. I don’t know. It’s gross. My dad calls women with short-haircuts “he-shes.” He likes long hair. He was born Catholic. He hasn’t voted in over a decade, because he doesn’t want to get jury duty and miss work. He’s been working his entire life. He enjoyed Deadwood but was often lost without the subtitles. He wants to retire in Arizona. He wants to retire close to his children, but this is not going to happen. He was born in Newark, New Jersey, as too many children are. His favorite character on Lost is Charlie.

“Time” – Timbaland feat. She Wants Revenge (m4a)

“I Don’t Care Anymore” – Phil Collins (mp3)

“In the Privacy of Our Love” – Hot Chip (mp3)


Things always seem to be happening to me on the subway. A five year old Indian kid gave me his Gameboy, then his mother yelled at him for it. I gave it back. Mothers shield their babies: “We saw you on the internet! We don’t want our children reading your blog!” The kids ask for coins, but I don’t carry pocket change. I once gave my dad heart palpitations by throwing out a bunch of nickels.

One year I came home for Christmas and my dad was wearing a shitload of FUBU. I was like, “Dad, you know what FUBU stands for, right?” “Yes,” he said, “For Us By Us.” He did and he didn’t.

a little father-son portrait I did with my dad one afternoon in the studio. boy was that a long day!

We had a german shepherd named Isaac. Isaac kept it very real. My father loved the dog dearly but never showed a thing. The poor thing was falling down, about to die. He took it to the vet and put it down, my brother rode with the dog in the backseat. The convenient part of being in my family is having someone else to do the thing for you.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.


Andrew Lasken grows up.

Something special for Jackie Robinson’s birthday.

Leave it to Samberg, Molly writes.

Relive the last season of Lost as the specter of new episodes approaches.

5 thoughts on “In Which Chemotherapy Must Be Accounted For

  1. In 1971, Capra published his autobiography, The Name Above the Title. Uncompromising in its details, it offers a compelling self-portrait. It is, however, not considered to be entirely reliable as regards dates and facts; one commentator asserts that it “appears to have been a lie practically from beginning to end”

  2. Does your dad still have nausea? Ginger is really great for helping nausea… candied ginger, ginger tea, it’s one of the few things that works.

  3. I had your father for dental services today, he was damn good at it. This was a good read seeing as how I haven’t seen him in about 10 years before today.

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