December of 2016 was my father, Harold Malkin’s, Centennial. Since we timed our June Men’s Issue to coincide with Father’s Day, I thought I would take this opportunity to briefly celebrate his life.
Reflecting on who he was in terms of measured achievement and what he “coulda, shoulda” been in some ways by using career, status and money as a measuring stick, he came up a bit short of his dream. He loved sports but he could not go to college and study journalism and become a sports writer. By today’s standards, his family was working class and his opportunities were limited by the Great Depression and WWII. He compromised his goals and talent after that to make a living and raise a family. However, I believe in looking at his life as a generational continuum. He now has grandchildren who have collectively succeeded as adults in their careers and families above and beyond the level to which he aspired. There are also three great granddaughters (and maybe a couple more kids if we’re lucky) who are as smart as they are beautiful. Who knows what mountains they will eventually climb?
So this delayed satisfaction and achievement can be viewed existentially. According to the renowned philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, “man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world—and defines himself afterwards.” The principles, morals, ambitions, inherited talents and intelligence flowed through my father to subsequent generations. While none of us who came after him are perfect, I think if he were here to witness it, he would be pleased. As for us? All we can say (and really mean it) is “Thanks Dad!”