When I came to Cornell, I faced some unexpected challenges. I didn’t expect to have any issues with the daily consumption of excess adderall. I didn’t expect I’d be facing my own mortality at 10:30 PM after a chem prelim when some strange force within me stopped me while crossing the bridge back to North, forcing my body to turn and having to stop myself from scaling the railings.
But the struggle I expected the least was that when I came to Cornell, I would unwittingly find a father.
You might think I’d have been glad to find a father. After all, isn’t it the dream of every little boy and girl who grows up happily in a two-parent heteronormative household to be like Jessica, the goth chick from school with two dads?
Hannes isn’t like most fathers. First of all, he’s German, and not the good kind of German who happily drink themselves into a warm stupor at a local craft brewery after a long day of precision engineering at the Volkswagen plant. No, Hannes is the kind of German who takes two gap years during which he travels to the Rocky Mountains and learns to slaughter a Bighorn ram with his bare hands. Hannes is the kind of German who adopts you when you sit next to each other in Biology 1610, which he has to take to fulfill medical school requirements. Hannes is the kind of German who is extremely demanding about your time and puts inordinate amounts of pressure on you to follow in his footsteps and become a doctor, even though he’s only 4 years older than you.
When he surprised me with the adoption papers on the third day of class in fall, I thought “Well, he’s just socially inept and doesn’t know how to make friends in a normal way,” so I signed away my life and rights and Hannes legally became my father.
Ever since then, Hannes has been unfairly pressuring me to do well in classes, even though I’m doing as well as he ever did. I even tutored him in bio. He tells me that if I plan to keep racking up debt at an expensive private school, I had better get a job and work my way through because that’s what he did, even though when he went to college it was significantly cheaper (two or three thousand dollars cheaper every year ahead of me he is). He tells me if I don’t get my act together then he’s withdrawing financial support and it’s up to me to either take on more loans or transfer to a community college.
When Hannes met my biological parents, he charmed them with his German good looks. They agreed he was a good match for me, and my dad mentioned after Hannes left that he preferred Hannes over all the other fathers I’ve brought home over the years. My mother told me I’m growing up handsome like Hannes.
When Hannes and I meet new people, they tell me I have his eyes. Little do they know that the last thing I want is to continue being his son–having your father as a TA in Cognitive Science is an added difficulty when you’re already having a hard time making friends in a 300 person lecture hall.
The worst part of all of this is that my friends have started making fun of me ever since I became a legacy student.
– F. Jonatan