When I asked you that that question, I didn’t quite realize the well of experiences I tapped into, as well as your desire to tell them. Many of these stories you hadn’t told me, like your (almost definitely illegal) Stony Brook Monopoly business and you flunking most of your junior year. Even the ones I knew about, like the occupation of the Administration building, you provided richer detail. (I couldn’t contain myself when I saw “State of New York vs. William Camarda.) Thank you for your honesty.
One thing that struck me was how different you were in college from who you are now. That was not the same Bill Camarda who takes several online college courses and until his dad’s death, called him almost every day for years. You talked about being self-centered, but having watched you as a husband and father, this amazes me. I suspect that, given the chance, you would knock some sense into your past self.
One passage in particular aroused my suspicion:
“Back then it was trendy to talk about how people needed to let go of all the guilt they’d been taught growing up. Bull. Guilt, for lack of a better word, is good. Guilt is right. Guilt works. Guilt clarifies, cuts through, and captures… when you ought to be behaving better than you are. I needed more of it, not less. I gradually got a clue, but it took way too long, and I needed to do a lot of growing up.”
I’m guessing that learning this was central to how you became the person you are. I’ve often wondered what the appropriate balance was. Clearly, we can’t walk around constantly feeling guilty about everything. But at it’s best, guilt guides and clarifies. It’s an immediate reminder of the commitments we’ve made to others, especially our loved ones.
Okay Dad, I asked you a really big question and you answered it. Now, I want you to ask me something. I’m eager to see what you come up with.