I was sitting in church, trying not to daydream, when the priest stepped to the pulpit and read from the Book of Genesis: “Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born to him…”
I snapped to attention and thought, “Wow! I’m nowhere near 100. There’s still time to have a son!” With the longevity rates rising and the number of centenarians increasing every day, I could have TWO sons — with my wife’s permission, of course.
I couldn’t wait to get home and tell her the good news. After 37 years of marriage, four daughters, four college educations, three weddings, a few mortgages, and several dogs, there’s still time for … Joey Jr.
To his credit, Abraham lived to 175 and that was before low-fat, high-protein diets, before Larry King and his plan to freeze-dry his body for future millennia, before sperm banks, even before Planet Fitness. The Book of Genesis had all the low-tech solutions.
Abraham was obsessed with having a son. As an Italian, I can appreciate that. You know what they say about having a son to carry on the family name, the family business, the family wine cellar and all things family.
My son-in-law recently told me, “You’re not going to have anyone to carry on the family name.” What a chauvinistic thought. I explained to him that I don’t care about the family name as much as I care about spending all my savings so my sons-in-law don’t get anything.
From my perspective, I love my four daughters dearly even though over the years they’ve proved a little troublesome, but I’ve endured it because … that’s what fathers do when they have no other choice.
I’ve known a few guys who had five and six daughters. The thing is that daughters are wonderful, especially with the opportunities that abound in the 21st Century — except when it comes to wage equality and C-suite opportunities. But with two women running for president, let’s hope all that changes.
Everyone always told me that daughters take care of their fathers, but I haven’t seen evidence of it yet. I’m just happy if they send me a card on Father’s Day. From my experience, the only downside is that daughters like to bicker and are pretty skillful at turning one parent against the other, usually the mother against the father. But I’ll ignore that if they remember me in my old age.
It would have been worse with four sons and their rough-housing, which I’m convinced would have turned our home into Wrestlemania. On the other hand, if I had four sons, I wouldn’t have had to pay for those weddings, and that money could have gone to my retirement account. With all the talk about women’s rights, why does the father of the bride still have to foot the bill? I wonder whether President Hillary could issue an executive order from the Oval Office to change that custom?
I was starting to get over this son obsession until I read a story about a woman who gave birth at 60, and I realized anything is possible in our age. Sarah, of course, was 90 when she gave birth to Isaac, but Abraham had God on his side, performing miracles behind the scenes. Plus, he had another wife — Hagar the Egyptian, who gave birth to Ishmael.
Abraham also had a little-known concubine named Keturah, with whom he had six more sons. I know there have been changes in marriage law since 2,000 BC, but they haven’t legalized polygamy yet, and in America, they don’t allow concubines. We have “partners.”
Then, I got to thinking about my friends who had sons in their 50s. These guys will have to bring home a paycheck until their 80s, and by the time they retire, their sons will be out carousing and getting into trouble. And let’s not forget the “generation gap,” which has tormented fathers and sons at least since Abraham, who was 100 when Isaac was born. That’s a triple-decker generation gap.
I suppose Larry King is a sort of modern Abraham. He’s 81, he’s been married eight times to seven women, his current wife is 55, and they have two teenage sons. If you think about it, he outdid Abraham when it comes to wives and concubines included.
When I shared my fantasy with my wife, her advice was “Shut up, and be happy with what you’ve got.” Hmmm, I wonder if Sarah ever said that to Abraham.
Contact Joe Pisani at joefpisani [at] yahoo.com.