Monday, July 14, 2008

The Story of My Father - The Boxer

This is part one of the story of my father as best as I can piece together from the little tidbits he’s shared over the years.

My father was born on a ranch far from the city, deep in the dirty hills of Mexico where the ground cracked, the sun charred and the water froze. He was the youngest and toughest of seventeen, worked harder than a mule, and learned to herd sheep and stave off wolves by eight. By ten he was herding sheep on week-long journeys where he lived off cacti and the occasional mutton.

At thirteen he developed a penchant for boxing. Few knew his boxing prowess as few were familiar with how a life of farming, herding, and poverty primed a fighter with toughness. He once told me that he was play-fighting with his siblings and he fell and hurt himself. There was blood and crying when my grandfather tended to him. “Your grandfather,” he said, “uprooted a 150 foot redwood and broke it in two over my head. ‘That’s what you get for hurting yourself!’ he scolded.” My parents would do this to me all the time, so I have no trouble believing the story.

My father trained furiously. Every chance he had, he would punch a boulder into dust. This was rare, as rocks were scarce in those days due to a boxing fad, but he found a good many and put them to good use. He progressed quickly, disintegrating boulders with fewer and fewer punches. It didn’t take long before the compressed air at his knuckles from his swing pulverized granite. “There were countless untapped veins of boulders in the caves atop mountains. Other fighters never dared venture that high. Far too many orangutans, they’d say. What fools. Little did they know they were my finest sparring partners.” He said it was the exercise, the early rising, and the boulder punching that made him such a great fighter, but I think it was all the orangutan meat he consumed.

The first swing of his first match ended his career as the punch exploded his opponent’s head. It was a sad day for my father, not so much because he couldn’t pursue his passion, but because he’d exploded someone’s head. The judge ruled that he take care of his victim’s family in accordance with the laws of Mexico at the time. “I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I’d never cared for a family of rhinoceroses before.” A daunting task indeed, especially for a dismayed thirteen year old.

And so ended that chapter of my father’s life.


Aimee said...

this story explains so much about yo daddy...i always wondered why he punched me during sex....

frank said...

It's natural for someone to try to punch their way out of a cave.