Dear Bill Cosby, I need a Refund on the Childhood You Stole from Me
I will try to keep this short and sweet because it won’t be a pleasant experience expressing my utter disbelief at the realization that the man that I used to pretend was my father has turned out to be the big bad wolf.
A big shaggy, frightful predator masked under the disguise of a well-groomed, well-spoken, well-choreographed representative who operated under the name, Bill Cosby. It was just by lucky strokes that I became a disciple of The Cosby Show. Born in the United States but bred in Lagos, Nigeria, my mother worked for the Nigerian Television Authority, and her duty was to secure programming from around the world. She did a magnificent job, I can attest to that. From The Beachcombers to Fawlty Towers, my world expanded and blossomed accordingly.
But it took the arrival of The Huxtables to rock my world. It was perfect timing and a much needed escape from the unexpected chaos that clouded my existence. I was a twelve year old girl reeling from the premature death of her much adored maternal grandfather, while also adjusting to life as an isolated nymph searching for mental grounding. I needed a break.
I was lonely, lost and prone to episodes of intense mental arrest, which translated into pages of assembled words that my mother explained to me was poetry. I was published and regionally revered but the controlled adulation paled in comparison to what The Cosby Show delivered to me weekly. I fell head over heels for Dr. Cliff Huxtable because he was the exact opposite of my real life dad.
He was overtly accommodating to his brood in a way that disarmed my fragile makeup. My favorite episode happened to be the first one I ever saw. Theo, the only son, decided to get his ears pierced against the advice of his ultra-hip older sister, Denise. She had warned him against it but he was determined to surpass the cool quotient and do it anyway. Even though I was rooting for him because of my throbbing crush, it ended up being a disaster.
But instead of getting read his rights, his amazingly cool pops hilariously funneled the lessons of life in a way that gave me reason to question how he would have managed my sprouting hang ups. I found myself setting the scene for when I would run into his arms and admit that I had been violated. If only. If only Cliff were my dad, perhaps I would be able to survive the urgency of my predicament. I trusted him because there was no issue too big or too small to garner his attention. He was savvy in his execution and despite the weightiness of the topic; viewers never got pummeled because America’s favorite dad always had the most endearing comeback.
But it was all a lie. And in my case it took thirty years for me to be privy to the purposely implemented scheme that devoured us all. We got sucked into a sophisticated vacuum of defeat that convinced us that those good ole American values do exist; you just have to be first in line to partake.
William Henry Cosby – the educator, comedian, patriot, philanthropist, and savior of his blighted people was in fact an undercover weasel that reveled in his notoriety enough to coerce young feeble minds to buy into a scam that took decades in the making.
I trusted that smile, the witty disposition, and seductive familial adherence so much that I literally evacuated from own father from further responsibilities. My daddy was and is stubborn in his approach but I would gladly receive an aloof version over a sexual predator.
But I won’t deny that The Cosby Show did help me became acutely aware of why I was underwhelmed with my father’s method of “putting me in check”. As an early creative, I needed a path that deviated from the standard. My assigned male figure was incapable of providing the requirement because his upbringing was grossly temperamental and so he had no choice but to rely on improvisation. We can’t all perform flawlessly on cue, so I don’t fault my dad for stumbling. I’m just racked with guilt that I enthusiastically chose a serial rapist over him.
Fast forward to the present, and I am abandoned with memories that don’t quite cuddle my soul the way I had envisioned. I internalized a system that was graphed for my benefit- for the sole purpose of rallying a dream that was out of reach. Of course, I understand that nobody could be that perfect, Cliff Huxtable charismatically maneuvered situations in a way that was awe-inspiring and as a young impressionable pre-teen, stuck in a quilt of tradition, I snuggled without question. He was the father I thought I needed to weather the storm. Clearly I wrong.
The pain. Oh, the pain that destroys you when you realize that you’ve been callously duped by the person that was supposed to rescue you from the filth of life. The playground of folly that allowed me to be a kid again after I had been violated into a response that was beyond my immature makeup has now been overrun with weeds of incomprehensible tokens. My allotted dad is really a conniving, self-indulgent and brutal wizard who founded a kingdom based on a need to divide and conquer.
He ploughed through sleeves of victims and conquered the consequences long enough to maintain his integrity but as the laws of the universe dictates, no matter your mission, you can’t escape judgment day.
So, here we are. Bill Cosby is undeniably a serial rapist of the worst kind and I’m an overgrown adult, still stuck in 1984, the year my life changed forever. I trusted you Mr. Cosby. I soaked in all the laughs and directional guidance that you spewed out to Sandra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa, and Rudy. I prayed that I would be Claire when I grow up because she was so vividly secure in your abiding loyalty and even as a youngster, I hoped that would be my destiny.
You deceived me. You fucked up a nation. I hate you Bill Cosby. You penetrated the very depths of my soul and it hurts a lot more than the experiences that brought me to you in the first place.
You owe me Bill Cosby. Big time. The victims of your slithering habit will never recover and neither will I. I suspect I’m not alone, but I’m astute enough to demand a refund.