“If a fourteen year old suddenly finds out his dad was previously married and lied about it, how should one proceed?”
This one comes to Zamboni from a young reader named, “O”.
Young reader, be kind. The cardinal rule of parenting is “do no harm”. What information your dad guy did not give you, well this did not hurt you right? To stories like this (which happened long ago in a world in which you did not exist!) there is always more muffins than the ones you see…
Look at it this way, my adoptive cheesfarming parents, after making me milk goat from dawn until noon, used to make me -after a lunch of breadcrumb- do a thing called “gassers“. They had a hairbrain idea to turn me, just me (yes, my eleven adopted siblings all got to go down to the mudhole after lunch and swim) into an Olympic fencer of great strength. So, they would make me run all the way up Smolenka Hill (covered with thorny Carpberries in Summer!) and run down and repeat 25 times without stopping. My point is, there is cruelty, and then there is cruelty.
What makes Humans so beautiful is not beauty. It is frailty, mistakes, misteps, mishaps, omissions, forgetfullness, and ultimately, the mighty heroism of simply getting up in the morning and trying to do the right thing.
Zamboni has a good friend, “C” who recently lost her father. She is a young woman and she really loved this guy. He is gone and will not come back. She very strong, but this doesn’t change the loss.
So your dad disappoints you- suck it up and move on. In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter. I’m sure he has complaints about you, so spend less time wanting your parents to be perfect, and like Voltaire said, “cultivate your own garden.”
You don’t like the advice Zamboni give? So run a gasser, you’ll feel better. (And by the way, I did make Estonian Olympic team, 1936! Thanks mom and dad)
The root of your problem my friend is this very scary realization: your dad is a person, and had a life before you. I, know, strange.