I fuck up. all the time. I let stupid thoughts sneak into my brain sometimes and screw around with my self esteem and on occasion have one night stands with my vindictive side. I let my hurt and anger get the better of me more often than I care to admit. I slack off and let my body get unhealthy…
Belief is for the stupid. Belief is for the ignorant.
Belief is for those who never read Origin of the Species, who really believe that chromosomal nightmare that the entirety of the human race was created by two people in Mesopotamia (now Iran & Iraq) who just happened to be related to each other.
When my father was alive, he used to ask me to take him to Mass…especially on days like these.
Being that he was my father, I, of course, obliged…but I drew the line at getting the ashes myself.
He’d try to convince me…but I’d always refuse.
"I have nothing to believe in, Dad," I’d say.
"There’s ALWAYS a reason to believe, Tete," he’d respond.
And even though there was this sadness in his eyes when I’d refuse…he’d respect my wishes.
My father was not a saint.
For a Sicilian immigrant from a small farming town outside the capital city, he sure caused a lot of turmoil…turmoil that, in many ways, the later generations are feeling today.
He was part of a “family” organization (as they prefer to be called)…his name is forever immortalized in the history books as a Colombo soldier (really, how many “Giuseppe Giacomazzo’s” do you think there are, people?).
He smuggled heroin in the floorboards of cars — took the finest china white from Turkey, smuggled it through Sicily, and brought it into the United States. For his trouble, he served four years of Federal time, was forever branded a “felon” by the People of the United States of America, and gave me a name that I tried (in vain) to run from.
He hated Rudy Giuliani because, when he was a prosecutor, he single-handedly put my “uncles” in prison for decades at a clip. When my “uncle” Joe Lamberti went “inside,” my sister was a baby…babbling, not talking, and crawling, not walking. When my “uncle” came out…my sister had a baby…babbling, not talking, and crawling, not walking.
His philosophy on drugs was ruthless. It was “Us” vs. “Them.” Give it to “them” — those not like “us” — and let them kill each other over it. (And boy, did “they” kill themselves over it…)
What the hell was the difference, really?
Hadn’t his family (his “blood” family, I mean — the assholes I have the displeasure of sharing a gene pool with, I mean) subjected “us” (my mother, myself, my sister) to enough of that “us” vs. “them” garbage?
My father knew he wasn’t a saint.
But the angels are sinners, and the sinners are saints.
And the man I knew was a man that, for whatever his reasons, some of his decisions in life were less-than-favorable…both for himself, and for his two daughters that, at the end of the day, are the only two REAL Giacomazzos on the planet.
And for that…he had a lot of making up to do, in his mind.
Hence, his faith.
I’m not a believer.
In keeping with the “us vs. them” mentality that I railed against with every fiber of my being, I refused to believe that Our Jewish Savior would co-sign a Pope that, in a previous life, goose-stepped with the rest of the Nazis down the strasse to exterminate six million Jewish people, and now rocks a haute pair of red Prada shoes (so much for the vow of poverty).
And as for what the priests were doing with the altar boys back in the vestry…don’t get me started.
My father died.
March 15th, 2009.
Beware the Ides of March, Caesar…you cannot serve both God and man.
What a sick joke.
The only man who, through his simplicity, taught me more than all my highly-educated professors…combined.
The only man who, through his hard-headed Taurean (he was a Taurus) gangster way, prepared me for a life in the music industry…who was able to give me the strength to tangle with the most “gangsta” wannabe thug rappers…and who made me fearless.
I’m not a believer.
I’m smarter than that.
And then…there was that video.
Summer Jam 2011.
Before he went onstage to perform what would be one of his most defining shows of his career for that year — that would earn him accolades in The New York Times — he did something that sent a shiver down my spine.
Maybe about 1% of the world caught it.
But I couldn’t miss it.
He did the sign of the cross.
"What are you doing, Dad?"
Me? I’m doing what I do every morning, and every night — I’m saying a prayer.
"What do you ask for?"
That God will forgive me.
"For what? You haven’t done anything wrong."
If only that were true. But we all need forgiveness.
"Not me. I’m not a believer."
That’s okay. I ask God to look out for you when I can’t. More than anything, I ask God to make sure you’re safe.
"Dad…come on. I’ll be fine."
If you say so.
Too many close calls.
Too many times that my ass should have been handed to me.
Too many proverbial skin-of-the-teeth moments.
All things I have somehow avoided since March 15, 2009.
And then that Sign of the Cross. Before Summer Jam.
Maybe the Church is nothing more than a corporation that uses its pomp & circumstance to push a less-than-favorable agenda.
Maybe the things that have been done in The Savior’s name have been less-than-positive, and certainly not what He wanted.
These are indisputable facts.
And I’m far from a Catholic…but I know there’s something bigger than me.
How I find It, of course, is entirely up to me.
And that is my point, he says in that inimitable, provincial Sicilian accent…an accent that was so distinctly his.