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Thursday, June 19, 2014

My Dad, the 60's and Mad Men

My Dad, God rest his soul, was a 1960's man until the day he died in 2010.  He always wore a suit jacket and trousers, always wore a tie, and a short-sleeved white undershirt under a button-down dress shirt. He always wore an overcoat. He had the same haircut for as long as I can remember.

Lately, I have been watching Mad Men.  And I couldn't figure out until today what it was that I like about it.  I don't like all the drinking; as a recovering alcoholic, all I see are sick people making bad decisions under the influence.  I don't like all the smoking; as a former smoker, it makes me a little nauseous thinking about what the set must smell like (assuming they are actual cigarettes), and it reminds me of what it was like in the late 80's, when I used to smoke at my desk, when everyone used to smoke at their desks. I could barely breathe. 

No, it's not the drinking or the smoking. So that's most of the substance of the show, unless you consider Don Draper.  Now, Don Draper is not a bad-looking person, but he's a bad-acting person. He's a drunk. He's emotionally impaired, sexually promiscuous, reckless in his relationships, and neglectful of his family. I don't know what all of those women supposedly see in him that makes him so supposedly irresistible.

So no, it's not Don Draper. Not for the obvious reasons.  It's my Dad. Even though Don Draper and my Dad have very little in common, he is the same age my Dad was back in the 60's and he reminds me of him. Black hair, clean-shaven, suits and white t-shirts, 60's values, "when men were men."  I don't agree with all of those 60's values, and sometimes my Dad's clinging to those values drove me crazy, but watching Don Draper the suit move through all of those 60's-era sets, with those 60's era costumes... it's easy to imagine my Dad in those places.

My Dad wasn't a "creative guy" like Draper, he was a self-employed salesman.  If he could have, he would have been an account man, probably more like Ken Cosgrove than Don Draper. He never did get to be the kind of man he wanted to be.

But he was definitely a 60's man, and I miss him.