Who is perfect; certainly not John Purcel in Hugh Garner's short story "The Father" about a desperate alcoholic father (John Purcel) trying to get closer to his son (Johnny) who seems to be slowly drifting away from him. This will be demonstrated through out a series of examples which will prove the father's drinking problem, his neglective attitude towards his son and his low self esteem.
Alcohol can control a person's life and make them irresponsible which affects their relationships. John Purcell showed a lack of judgment by stopping to have a drink before he even got home from work making him late for the scout meeting with his son. His irresponsibility continued when he met another irresponsible drunken father at the meeting. When the stranger offered John a drink, he gladly accepted the offer stating "you're a lifesaver". Due to his drunkenness, John Purcell embarrassed his son even further.
"In a paroxysm of pride and happiness he grasped the boy's hand, and facing the audience, held it aloft like a referee signaling the winner of a boxing bout. There was a short burst of embarrassed laughter from the tables".
His drinking affected his actions and caused his son to be humiliated in front of his friends. It is very difficult to have a healthy relationship with someone when you are controlled by alcohol.
Building good relationships involves time and effort. John Purcell never put any effort into trying to know his son because "most of the time he was too preoccupied with other things to pay much heed to the boy's activities". He never encouraged or supported Johnny and never participated or went to any of his son's events. He did not even know what baseball or swimming team Johnny was on. When the curate, Mr. Redpath, complimented...