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That's My Boy

Mike SteffanosTuesday, September 25, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

I never had any biological children. It wasn't so much a choice as a consequence of my inability to sustain a relationship when I still had the youth and patience to be a father. Still, like many fatherless middle-aged men, I have surrogates who satisfy my need to mentor and nurture without the responsibility of full-time parenting. Then there is my adopted son Metsie 2007, who frankly gives me nothing but grief.

What's really frustrating with this kid is that despite how much I care about him, there's little I can actually do to help him when he goes astray. I've tried getting angry, I've attempted unconditional support, and even tried ignoring him for a time. Nothing seems to work. Sure, Metsie will have stretches where it seems like he's turned himself around, but inevitably, he will fall flat on his face when I am just starting to believe he might make it.

Metsie I don't even know where his Mom and I went wrong. He got off to a promising start in life. He was tops in his class for a while -- a bright, gifted kid who fairly oozed promise. Still, there were little signs that we probably should have picked up on, like when the little tyke passed out drunk at his fifth grade graduation, and those phone bills with thousands of dollars worth of calls to 1-900 numbers. There were those disturbing email exchanges with imprisoned serial killers that I guess should have raised red flags. Still, we loved Metsie, and blindly put all those foibles down to youthful hijinks.

Sadly, though, as Metsie moved from the springtime of his life and into the summer, his problems got much worse. His performance was often abysmal, but what mother and I found really disturbing was that Metsie seemed almost ambivalent to his own struggles. It was much harder to tolerate his constant failings when he would only shrug them off. He didn't even seem concerned enough to fake caring.

As my despair and disgust threatened to dry up any residual affection I felt for the lad, he finally seemed to wake up and tried to do something with his life. Sure, it wasn't always pretty, but Metsie began to enjoy some success of late. Despite my misgivings, I found myself hoping that he had at last turned the corner. Not to be...

Last night I came home from a hard day's work and found Metsie stoned out and cavorting with women of ill repute. He had stolen a car and robbed a couple of package stores. He was as bad as I've seen him this year, and I lost all remaining patience. I'm beginning to think this ne'er do well is a lost cause. I fear the worst, and know that there is absolutely nothing I can do to set this callous wastrel on the right path. It's up to him now.

Despite all, I will miss this kid when he's gone, whether it's next week or sometime next month. There will be a new Metsie next spring. He may look a lot like his predecessor, but he will inevitably be different. I can only hope that he values a division championship and a playoff spot more than his older brother. I'll tell you one thing, though, if I see him starting off down the same path I'm dragging the little punk out behind the woodshed.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (4)

excellent as always mike - i will leave you with one thought - parent to parent, so to speak...just when they are most difficult to love, is when you need to love them the most...

I loved this post!

My first thought, though, was: "Yut-oh, Mike's been hanging with Greg Prince too long." The piece struck me as one of Greg's masterful ramblings, filtered through Mike's mindset. And understand, I really like Greg Prince and love his writing, but...

The bit about "Metsie's" bad behavior reminded me of James' comment about Rickey Henderson when Rickey was still a youngster. It went like: Rickey will break the lifetime stolen base record. He could rob a liquor store tomorrow, get caught, receive a sentence of 5 to 7 years, get off on good behavior in three, and STILL break the stolen base record. That's how far ahead of the necessary pase Rickey is today.

Does any of the above make sense, I hope?

Anyway, I loved this post. Let not that thought get lost.

Joyce - What are your thoughts on corporal punishment for these difficult lads?
dd - I wouldn't put myself in Greg's league as a writer. I just got tired of writing the same old crap about losing games the same damn way. I have no idea what I'll write tomorrow after tonight's loss. I know everyone is worried about Humber, but Glavine didn't set the bar too high his last 2 times out.

(Handwritten by the Rev Al from hospital bed and typed by wife, Selma) "Hi Gang. Recovering from a massive heart attack, open heart, quad bypass surgery and a stroke may be easier for me than recovering from this year's Mets season. This team has done something to me that I am not sure I can recover from. I have that same gut feeling I had when the Brooklyn Dodgers left and went to L.A.I couldn't root for them anymore and still can't. I don't know if I can trust this team with my heart anymore. They just seemed to give up. I can see myself getting involved with the minor leagues; Brooklyn Cyclones and the Binghamton Mets. They play to win every game...exciting baseball...can easily will two in a row. I am turned off by this team. I watched the Cubs from the hospital and it was fun. A young nephew of mine just became a Yankee fan and I asked him why and he said, "Because they win." I had no further comment. This is going to be a long hard road for all of us....Looking on the bright side: Maybe we ALL can get together and go to a Cyclone game or a Binghamton game. We will buy out a whole section and root for the "future stars". I think that would be therapeutic for us. What do you think? We will let Mike buy us a hotdog! It's going to be a very interesting season and a "Hot Stove" league! Is anybody making new lineups yet? Or starting rotations? For me there are NO "untouchables". "We crashed with you, so we can crash without you." As bad as I feel, I am still wearing my Mets hat and using my Mets fleece blanket in the hospital bed. This is “Yankee” territory and I get sympathy from them. Some say, “There’s a Mets fan in room 218.” They come in and say to me, “I feel your pain.” Then I say under my breath, “Thank you, but no, you don’t know this kind of pain.” Not even the 4 straight choke losses in the U.S. This is very different. It will always be there…...like a Boston curse…. until they win a W. S...And one may not be enough!”
(Rev Al is now in Allied Services Rehab Hospital on the Morgan Highway in Scranton, PA. I will bring him printouts of the website everyday I visit him..Please root him on guys and gals! He is playing to win this series everyday! Thanks, Selma)

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