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Normal life events get complicated when your dad is Tommy Chong

My dad has early stage prostate cancer.  It’s very treatable.  It’s contained.  He’s taking very good care of himself and he has an amazing attitude.  Really, his reaction and action to this event has been an inspiration to me in so many ways.  However…

What I want to talk about is being celebrity spawn.   The sometimes awkward and uncomfortable situations this entails for me.

For instance, my dad informed me of his illness, he told his close friends and family a month or so ago.  He did, however, forget to mention that he was going to tell the press about it.  So I woke up on a Sunday morning with random messages of condolences from “Facebook” friends (i.e. people I don’t know that well).  They were along the lines of “I’m so sorry to hear about your dad” or “You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.”

I was like WTF!  Did my dad die?  What happened?  So you know what I did?  I didn’t call him or my mom or my brothers or my sisters.  The first thing I did at 7am on a Sunday morning;  I googled him.  I googled “Tommy Chong”.  How impersonal and crazy is that?  But I did.   I googled my father and found out that he had told CNN that he has early stage prostate cancer and that he was using hemp oil as part of his treatment.

I was livid.  I called my dad and told him “You can’t do that!  I thought you had died.  You can’t tell the press without warning me first.   I’m your daughter!”. “I’m sorry honey, I didn’t realize.  I hadn’t really planned to talk about it.  They were interviewing me and it just came out.”  By the way,  my dad is terrible about keeping secrets so don’t tell him anything that you don’t want him to use in his stand up act or in an interview with Playboy magazine.

Ah,  the joys of having a parent that is a public figure.  It’s amazing most of the time.  I love my dad.  I’m proud to be his daughter.  I appreciate the perks of being one of his offspring.  Don’t get me wrong it’s cool to have drug icon as a dad.   It’s just challenging sharing your parent with the public.

What does this have to do with me co-parenting Jack?  Well, nothing really.  I just wanted to talk about.  I wanted a chance to address it in a public forum because that’s what feels invasive.  The private feelings feeling violated by public knowledge.  It’s a strange dance.  Especially when I think about me writing this blog about me being a parent.  I’m doing the same thing myself.

Will Jack get mad at me for writing about him playing video games?  Will he find out something personal about me, his mother, in a public forum and feel violated and embarrassed?  Probably.  Oh god.  That’s it.  All the things I got mad at my parents for when I was a kid, I’m now doing myself.  It’s the circle of life.

(Cue Lion King music.)

Previously in Being Precious: Breastfeeding and Dating Don’t Mix

Precious Chong is a writer and actor living in Toronto. She’s also a professional stilt walker and is the daughter of cult movie hero Tommy Chong.

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