Copyright 2003

Dad had slipped in weight again. Still making music whenever possible, such as back-to-back Durufle Requiems. And booked for Japan in June. But the awe and wonder of his tenacity was mixed with the frustration that Roger just wouldn't listen to some life-saving advice on nutrition. For 20 years Dick had been a health nut. Dick's running, fasting, Vitamin C (including intravenous), health shakes (the infamous "Puke Shake"), and enlightenment seminars all were pretty much wasted on Roger. Dick had given him an article written by a fellow with the same birthday, who had for 6 years outlived liver cancer starting at age 76 through the use of Vitamin C and other ingredients. Dick had given Roger this article perhaps 5 separate times, had lined up a doctor to give him intravenous C, had suggested, pleaded, demanded, joked, and in every way tried to get him to adopt this harmless regime. Of course, to no avail. Now he had slipped further in weight. As if each previous crisis had not been enough, now this. Here was a shining example of health and vitality, urging his own father to do something with no known side effects that could likely save his life, and his father wouldn't listen. Dick had seen that this was the pattern long ago, and was part of the co-dependent trap with his father. The man was a world-wide success, rich beyond imagining compared to ANY other person in his field, acclaimed by dignitaries, Popes, Queens, Kings, Mayors, Presidents, etc. and yet he was basically insecure. He needed 8 times more attention and adulation than any normal person. That, of course, made for the rabid demand for acclaim and fueled his charismatic on-stage persona. But to be the same old son, day in and day out, was not interesting enough for him, and an impossible task. If Dick were 3,000 new people every day, now that would have worked. But just one person, with (God forbid) his OWN standards, agenda, and priorities, well that was never going to work. And it didn't. In that maddening and sometimes difficult to understand pattern, they battled with each other in subtle and sometimes gross ways. Dick would occasionally just blow up at some intimidative tactic, and lay down the law of respect. Roger reacted with astonishment and defense, of course. How could anyone question the great Roger Wagner at anything? How come you're not rich? How come you're not world famous? It was a frustrating circle that kept repeating. In a pattern that research is now proving to be highly repetitive against all logic, Dick would attract or gravitate toward problem people. People who were nice on some level, but with personality defects that he felt compelled to correct. All such situations were proxies for his own father-son relationship, and his pattern was only trying to fix them in order to fix him. It took him to about age 40 to see the futility of that approach. In the cataclysmic schism in 1985, he severed the three ropes his father had bound him with: threats of withdrawal of his love and destruction of his relationship with the other family members, the threat of financial withdrawal and punishment, and the threat of physical violence. Dick was no longer afraid of any of these. Roger had proved he could not hurt Dick physically (although he never really had), nor could he pit the family against him as it had just been proved by their unity, and he no longer had any financial stake in Dick's heart. The next 18 months were massively painful for Dick. For 6 weeks he would wake up in the morning no knowing what to do. The definition of who he was no longer revolved around how was Dick handling the big problem in his life, his father, today. It took that 6 weeks for him to finally gear up and start creating for himself. The following year and a half was painful, as he battled with the guilt of no longer fixing his father. Roger had written into their settlement agreement that the purpose of this settlement was to forever silence any argument regarding the house and all prior matters. Yet, Roger constantly harangued Dick on a daily basis for the next 5 years. Thousands upon thousands of times Roger would stir the cauldron of discord at family dinners, at any social gathering, sabotaging many of Dick's painful attempts to create a relationship beyond the prior discord. Those 18 months taught Dick that putting distance between him and his father was necessary to create the safest and highest level relationship he could have. Inevitably, Dick would make forays into closer and closer relatings, only to come up against his own fix-it pattern and Roger's predictable resistance. So it stabilized at a place where Roger would call Dick and proclaim, "What's wrong, where have you been, I've been trying to reach you for a week, How come I haven't heard from you?" Rather than coming straight out with his own loneliness and desire for Dick's companionship, Roger would rely on his time-tested technique of asking by intimidation and guilt. Dick was wise to this, and would joke with the family about this.

Back To Books