Like Lenin Wrote…

Lenin once wrote a pamphlet called Chto Delat? (Что делать?). For those of you who are Slavonic linguists, the verb is in the imperfective, and the question appears a bit more wishy-washy than using the perfective aspect, which would imply focus and achievement. In this article I need to used the perfective: Что cделать? What do I do about my Dad? What can I do about him?

So, “Sunray,” an ex-22-year man from the British Army. No longer in the Army, but still a soldier. Allegedly.

All of Sunray’s adult life, he has been a heavy drinker. In the macho, testosterone-packed ghetto that is the British Army, despite this trait, he would remain “under the radar” and not stand out. Likewise, his fondness for alcohol and spending more time and money down the corporals and sergeants mess than with his family made him a far from outstanding father and husband.

Who is really going to expect much sympathy from his offspring in their middle age after years of leaving his family so hard-up, that his children could only afford one fried egg sandwich out of their daily dinner money… while their Dad never went without down the sergeants mess, running up a £80 (sic) drinks tab in one month in 1981, on top of what he’d paid cash for during the month.

“That was then, this is now. Forgive and forget.” Isn’t that what being a Christian all about?  After all, what about Matthew 18:21-22?

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.


But this is not about forgiveness.  This is about the principle of first aid: don’t become a casualty yourself.  Can you always rescue a drowning man?

Remember this one?

It rained for days and days and there was a terrific flood. The water rose so high that one man was forced to climb on top of his roof and sat in the rain. As the waters came up higher a man in a rowboat came up to the house and told him to get in. “No thank you, the Lord will save me!” he said, and the man in the rowboat rowed away.

The waters rose to the edge of the roof and still the man sat on the roof until another rowboat came by and another man told him to get in. “No thank you, the Lord will save me!” he said again, and the man rowed away.

The waters covered the house and the man was forced to sit on his chimney as the rain poured down and a helicopter came by and another man urged him to get in or he’ll drown. “No thank you,” the man said again, “The Lord will save me!”

After much begging and pleading the man in the helicopter gave up and flew away. The waters rose above the chimney and the man drowned and went to heaven where he met God.

“Lord, I don’t understand,” he told Him, frustrated, “The waters rose higher and higher and I waited hours for you to save me but you didn’t! Why?”

The Lord just shook his head and said, “What are you talking about? I sent two boats and a helicopter?!

So, fast-forward 32 years.  Alone, estranged from some of his family, few real friends, a grumpy old man, overweight, type 2 diabetes out of control, and a bottle of Famous Grouse to glug down his neck two or three times a week.  (Is that an attractive profile for

Early July – Diabetologist:

Mr  Sunray, if you want to see Christmas, stop drinking now.


Will he stop?

Horse feathers.

Is he an alcoholic?  ICATQ (I cannot answer that question.)  He clearly has a psychological dependency, maybe even a chemical dependency.

How do I feel about Sunray?  Am I heartless, in not flying to him to hand-hold him?  Give him a pep-talk?  Pay for him to see an addiction counsellor?  Do I care about him?  What is caring, anyway?  What does caring look like?

My answer: motivation is etymologically linked to the word “motor.”   Where do you find the motor on a car?  Answer: on the inside.  Likewise, motivation comes from within, not from without.

You see, the strange thing about love is, whatever love you give out is paid back – with interest.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on Sunray, the sinner.



10 thoughts on “Like Lenin Wrote…

  1. Du machst das schon alles richtig.

  2. Without challenges, there is no success. 🙂

  3. Spruch der Woche 🙂

  4. That sums up the lives of so many ex-forces children. The question of are they an alcoholic or is it some kind of dependency must have been asked by the majority of us. I have to thank you though because so few of my friends are military brats, so they have no real understanding of what we went through. To be able to talk to someone with the same childhood experiences is great. I never really talk about that time, so it’s nice to let it out of the bottle, so to speak.

    • Mhairi – Many thanks for your input. My blog fulfils a number of purposes for me, in fact, probably two-fold: normally a chance to play the role of the comedian, but also to use blogging as a form of therapy, which also gives me the chance for a spot of co-counselling with fellow military brats. I have had many a conversation with fellow brats from my Dad’s regiment, where the words, “Wow, my Dad was like that/did that, too.”

      Should I feel guilty about giving up and feeling so exasperated? What more can I do to help someone who is so deeply in self-destruct mode?

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