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I went to a Saturday matinee showing of that great Sidney Poitier movie, "Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?" and I reveled in that confrontation between Poitier’s world-renowned doctor character and his inner-city postman father. The postman father plays the "I sacrificed everything for you" card and the doctor plays the "father’s duty" card. That scene epitomized my feelings. My own father had already done his duty. Why didn’t he just leave me alone?

He didn’t leave me alone because he knew that I wasn’t anywhere near as brilliant as 17-year-old me thought he was. In fact, he could see the gaping weaknesses in my armor of pseudo-sophistication, the unprotected portions of my helmet of academia. If I had been as smart as I thought I was, I would have listened to my father about a lot more things, and I might not have experienced all of those hero-to-zero rollercoaster experiences that I ended up having in my life.

Frankly, the father’s duty isn’t over until the father dies. And if the father has done well, the father’s legacy takes over when the father has gone on.

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