Don’t be that guy

Scott Douglas Jacobsen
4 min readFeb 21, 2024

My biological father was not a pleasant person. He was a drinker, a drunk, or, in the clinical era, an alcoholic. He drank his face off for decades. I have heard enough stories as an adult to get a clearer picture.

He was a product of his generation, his culture, and his substance misuse. An adaptation to discipline as a youngster involved beatings and overindulgence in the home as a man from a house of means in Canada.

A man with excellent grades who then found girls and liquor, to paraphrase my late grandmother. A man who went, his partner wanted him to be home. He would be, as one, talking to a brick wall, ignoring the clear need for his partner’s home and his family.

Do not be this guy.

He hated working in Whistler. However, he would work there to make much money. A man stuck in a box of “should be” for a man. Lisa Hickey calls this the Man Box. It’s the same condition of a woman stuck in being the perfect housewife.

Nonetheless, this became the eventual trap for him. He set himself a gender role trap, which would be his undoing, but the seeds for this began in the formative years for him. These scripts came from parental sources, which generally arose from cultural scripts in Canada, arguably North America.

Do not be this guy.

However, as a cognizant adult, he has to own everything despite his childhood. He did not change. He became more entrenched and resentful. He began to relinquish self-control to liquor and substance. He would not come home. He would always stay out, which is fine. Unless you say you’re going to come back, then do not.

Food made, thrown out. Kids waiting, now in bed. Wife sitting, now sleeping. Rinse, wash, and repeat for years. My mother became fed up. She set boundaries. What followed? He went to a woman, giving false comfort.

A woman looking to leave a marriage with a Hell’s Angel member. Does this make sense? He would leave on weekends to the place he hated the most, Whistler, to do minor repairs for the construction company. Why? He was too selfish for that behaviour. My mother knew immediately that he was cheating.

Do not be this guy.

At this point, he is an estranged father, ex-husband, alcoholic and barely working man. Is this a legacy? Is this a man? Is this healthy? Is this an image? In order: of a negative kind, destructive kind, and no.

It is an image of a kind, but it is only worthwhile as an image in the inverse or the negative. An example of that which one does not want to be in life should not be in life. Like me, I would take this from another guy who had to suffer through that father: do not be him.

Moreover, I learned from his example in reverse, as I did, to be a good guy. By not being that guy, you will fall and make mistakes. However, you can always commit to being better each month, each year. You will only see the changes in retrospect.

The gods have not haven’t left us.

They have not returned.

Why?

Because they were never here in the first place, we only have each other. We have one life. Eventually, we will have to pass on what was left to us as something to someone else. What better story than a transmutation, a transformation of tragedy into something, at least, a little better than the yesteryear?

A breakage of a cycle of tears and terror. We are our stories. We only have our stories. We are made of stories. And those stories will, eventually, go away, too. Wisdom is depositing the metanarrative of human culture for the good.

Something that will evolve into something unknown to you or your descendants but bearing characteristics far beyond you. It will be for them, but maybe a bit better than it was for us.

Be that guy.

As Lenny Bruce reminded us, as a pierce in the shade of history, a long time ago in a culture near you, someone ‘gifted’ an ought to people. A way that the world should be rather than itself.

But living the way the world “should be” or “ought to be” is a terrible, terrible lie given to the people a long time ago. There only is what is. My father is a bad man by many metrics, but my father was victimized by his time and his culture.

Douglas, my middle name, his “should be” or “ought to be,” was around me, imposed on him as a boy and then as a man. These became the expectations, then became thoroughly internalized. If culture’s lies broke his authentic Self, then his internalized lies broke his life as the fruits of his life. I wept a lot for him as a child, many nights. I do not anymore, as I do not know him and only see him insofar as I see half his reflection in the morning and the evening, waking up and going to bed.

Be that guy.

In the end, these are choices. Some are more difficult, but the choice for change sits with us.

Even though I am of him, I do not have to be him.

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Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen supports science and human rights. Website: www.in-sightpublishing.com