Great Moments in Proud Parenting

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My father and I stood outside the movie theater box office, arguing. It was the summer of 1979, I was six, and there was no way in hell I was going to go see Rocky II with him. I had an aversion to anything involving sports (insert your own comment here), which flew in the face of my father's obsession with boxing. The only thing my father and I really had in common was our love of going to the movies. But on that summer day, there was no love—just negotiation.

My dad listed all the reasons why it would be great to see Rocky II, but I wasn't having any of it. Well, we were at the movie theater, so, dammit, we were going to the movies. And the only other thing playing was The Amityville Horror. My dad gave me a choice: Rocky II or the R-rated haunted house film.

My father thought he had won, but you already know how this story unfolds. "The Amityville Horror!" I asserted. My dad listed all the reasons why it would be terrible to see that movie, but I wasn't having any of it.

He bought two tickets to The Amityville Horror, and we went in.

That movie scared the living shit out of me. The window slamming on that kid's arm, the flies attacking the priest, the demonic voice screaming "GET OUT," the gateway to hell behind the brick wall in the basement—these things disturbed my sleep for years.

Present day. I watch horror movies by myself, my dad has seen every Rocky on his own, and I know that when the devil tells you to leave the motherfucking house you leave the motherfucking house. It all works out in the end.

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