By Stephen J. Dubner
As a boy, Stephen J. Dubner's hero used to be Franco Harris, the famed and mysterious working again for the Pittsburgh Steelers. while Dubner's father died, he grew to become obsessed—he dreamed of his hero each evening; he signed his college papers "Franco Dubner." even though they by no means met, it was once Franco Harris who shepherded Dubner via a fatherless boyhood. Years later, Dubner trips to satisfy his hero, yes that Harris will include him. And he's . . . good, flawed. advised with the grit of a journalist and the grace of a memoirist, Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper is a wide ranging, heartbreaking, and sometimes funny tale of wonderful advancements. it's also a glowing meditation at the nature of hero worship—which, like faith and love, tells us as a lot approximately ourselves as in regards to the item of our wish.
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6 A Mother Is Not a Man M y mother , I now have no doubt, tried to be everything to me at once: mother and father, guardian and role model, teacher and friend. But this was a barren new world in which we found ourselves, absent of landmarks. Just a few years earlier, she was the queen of a hive thrumming with life; now she was a widow home alone with her youngest son. With Beth and Dave gone off to college, I was suddenly an only child stranded with a pious, headstrong, depleted mother. Neither of us was prepared for a one-on-one encounter.
Albany was an hour’s drive, so I didn’t have to go. My father was the ﬁrst person to testify at the meeting. ” But no waving of the arms, no gurgled shouts: my father called no attention to his agony. He simply slumped over, didn’t even fall off his chair. My mother rode in the back of the ambulance, reciting the Rosary. At the hospital, he ﬁrst appeared to be dead but then showed signs of life and eventually stabilized. My mother explained all this the morning after in a tone of grim exhaustion.
A Steelers fan was said to have planted a bomb for Tatum at the Oakland bus station. This game, like the previous year’s, fell on the Saturday before Christmas. On Friday, we were let out of school early for the holiday break. My mother wasn’t home yet. After a while, I heard her car in the driveway. She came inside and asked me to ﬁnd Beth and Dave, and I did, and then my mother told us that our father had died. She went upstairs to lie down, and Beth and Dave went upstairs too. But she said he’d be home!