David Beard is associate professor of rhetoric and director of the Master of Liberal Studies program at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
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I dated a single mom for a few months. It was an experience that made me rethink so much. Inside my head, on every date, I was with her and I was watching myself with her. I watched my every move from the imagined perspective of her two sons.
I like to think that Father's Day is an opportunity to reflect on the web of men who helped me become a man, myself. When I was four my father left me a fishing pole and a box of comic books, and then he left my family. My dad was a "deadbeat," someone who paid neither alimony nor child support. In the 1970s, there were no fancy ways to track him down to force him to pay. My mother was traumatized. In the 1970s, to be divorced was still a Catholic family embarrassment. To be a single mom was an insurmountable challenge.
As many Americans watch a single wrestling match on a single night as will watch a year's worth of performances of "Hamlet." And in the same way that Hamlet can teach us what it means to be human, so can wrestling. Having spent the last two days with pro wrestler and author Terrance Griep, I feel like I understand the complexities of identity inside and outside the wrestling ring a little better. Griep recently visited students at Lake Superior College and University of Minnesota Duluth to talk about his work on the page and in the ring.
Children grow up thinking that their mother's love is unconditional. No matter how many mudpies they make as kindergarteners and no matter how many hasty, possibly dangerous risks they take as teenagers, their mothers will always love them. As Sarah LaChance Adams, a Duluth-area author and assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, writes, "Maternal love and care are supposed to be a given.
I live three blocks from the end of Interstate 35. That still amazes me. On one hand, I am so far north, the freeway ends. On the other, I am at one edge of a network of interstates and highways that connect the entire United States. I could drive from Duluth to Minneapolis to Austin, Texas, on the same road. I thought about that network of highway connections at the “Bridge” exhibit by Vance Gellert at the Zeitgeist Atrium (I also saw the exhibit in January at the MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids).