Doing numerous radio interviews for Takes on Life, presenters off-air have been careful to enquire if it’s agreeable to make mention of my progeny and in particular my first born.
I am approving of their etiquette and manners and I quickly assure them that is absolutely fine. Hell, had ‘Tom’ not happened, it is unlikely that I would be interviewed at all. After all, it was Tom’s story that was the catalyst for my blog and his popularity that has made my writing more findable on-line and this is the basis from which I am able to write and sell whatever books I can.
I even wrote a book about father and son and our diverging careers, so by all means, mention that my son is Tom. Of course, it is noteworthy and interesting. Most people can see the humour in my familial circumstances and I would add, most people are delighted by what has happened to Tom and to the Holland family more generally. Although, sadly not all people, I am afraid.
During a run through for a TV pilot show, I was introduced by the show’s host as a comedian and the father of this bloke – whereupon Tom appeared on a large screen in his S-M outfit. He hadn’t been long been cast and the audience gasped more than they laughed. A famous Irish comedian on the opposing team seemed much less impressed than the audience. After his introduction, he quipped that there are so many incarnations of Spider-Man, that no doubt, his young son would be the webslinger when he was old enough!
He waited for his laugh… but only an awkward and embarrassed silence came his way. He’s a bright lad and to be fair to him, he did apologise afterwards but there was no need. In-spite of his considerable success, he is in a battle with the green eyed monster – and losing.
Jealousy is an affliction and it is particularly rife in show-business. Schadenfreude is an expression to denote finding pleasure in another person’s misery or failure and is never very edifying.
I’m fortunate that I am not a jealous type and particularly so of the comedians who can do things that I can’t. The stand-ups who can rock rooms year on year and with new stuff are worthy of their success and good for them.
And this applies to my boys too. I am occasionally asked if I am jealous of Tom but thankfully not by anyone who knows me very well. When I was growing up, I imagined being famous and how cool it must be to be recognised wherever I go. I had a little taste of this during my purple career patch which was probably not as long as Andy Warhol assured me I was due.
Tom eclipsed me many moons ago and I fully expect my other boys to follow suit. I hope so anyway. I will continue to help them along and I’ll cheer when it happens.
In all areas of life but for one…
The other evening, wet outside and already dark, Nikki, Sam, Paddy and I are and about to have dinner when Nikki’s phone pipes up which is bad timing and irksome. Ordinarily we would leave it – but it’s a call from America and Nikki takes it.
It is Tom on FaceTime and he’s in a heightened state of excitement – which given his life so far, it means that this must be something special. Call it a Dad’s intuition or just something in my marrow but I know what it is already.
“Is dad, there? Quick, put him on, quick…”
His urgency means that he has already called me and I have a Missed Call. Ordinarily this means I am in trouble but I suspect, not on this occasion.
Nikki hands me the phone and my suspicions are confirmed…
On one hand he is wearing a white glove and it has nothing to do with Michael Jackson. He is playing golf. The brilliant blue sky of Atlanta in stark contrast to our own and adds to my sense of grievance.
“Dad. 193 yards. Par 3. 7 Iron. Hole-in-one.”
I knew what was coming and I stopped listening on “par 3…”
In more than 25 years of playing golf, I have never had a hole-in-one. In what must be thousands of attempts I have never even come close. Not really. And on a hole of 193 yards in length, if I selected a 7 iron, then I would need to use it twice.
Am I jealous of my son?
Sometimes is the truthful answer. But in all the right places and this is how it should be.
The TV pilot never got made btw and as far as I know, the son of the Irish comedian is not yet a famous actor. But if this does happen or to anyone I know, then I would be pleased for them.
And this is definitely the better way to be.
Since this blog was posted on Patreon – it has been politely explained to me the difference between jealousy and envy.
Jealousy is guarding against losing something we have.
Envy is coveting something someone else has.
And so to conclude, I am never jealous of my son but I am fleetingly envious and thank goodness. These days, with my needy bladder I have enough trouble sleeping as it is.