Things My Father Taught Me: Alex Beh

Though Al and I have been pals for more than a decade, it was only about five years ago that I first met Holmes. Yes, “Holmes.” They all call him “Holmes.” Some people are “Dad.” My dad is just “Dad.” You look at the guy, and you say, “Obviously, a dad.” You look at Alex’s dad, and you can’t help it. He’s a “Holmes.”

Not five seconds into meeting Holmes, he and I were talking about my dad’s 911 Targa. And from then on, Holmes was showing me one car or another, a man obsessed. He wore a Ferrari belt buckle to his daughter’s wedding for cryin’ out loud.

A piece centered on cars, I made sure to highlight all the mentions of automobiles – color, make, model, and sometimes the year. Alex’s father talks like this, as does Alex. They’re obsessive. It’s the family business.



Dad on set of Warren“Holmes” and Alex on the set of Warren. Directed by Alex Beh, September 2012, Chicago.

Roy G. Beh was the worst. He spanked me, he put me in the cold shower, he yelled at me, he embarrassed me, he would come down on Saturday mornings yelling at me and my friend and my sister about how the TV was too loud, he worked all the time, he made me rake the leaves in the cold, he made me empty the dishwasher, he made me get a job at thirteen as a bagger at the local grocery store, he made me come with him on trips up to Wisconsin in his old 911 Targas, he made me play golf with him when I was two, he made me who I am.

1972_911_SoftWindowTargaThe red 1972 911 Targa Alex and Holmes drove to Phoenix from Chicago in 1989.

He doesn’t know this, he has no clue, he doesn’t realize that all that embarrassment, that work, that struggle, molded me into the man I am today. I hated doing the dishes, I hated raking the leaves, I hated getting spanked, I hated getting disciplined, I hated being told what to do, I hated having to get a job, I hated those long days on the golf course (I was terrible! I still am!), I hated packing up the cooler, I hated his weird lemonade and grape juice mixture bottle thing.

On Saturday mornings, where I could have been playing with friends or hanging out with my brother or my sister or my mom, he’d take me up to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin to look at old Porsches. I grew to love those drives. I learned to drive on one of those drives in a Silver 1972 911 Targa.

1966_330GT2+2_FerrariHolmes’ champagne colored 1966 330 GT 2+2 Ferrari, before he painted it Rosso Rubino.

My dad has owned hundreds of cars. He still has a 1967 911 Targa. It’s been sitting in a shop in Arizona for the last six years. Why? I don’t know, but that’s my dad for you. When I was born, he drove me home from the hospital in a 1978 Black Porsche 928. He had a 911 in the garage, alongside his — and now my — dream car; a 1966 Rosso Rubino 330 GT 2+2 Ferrari (pictured in champagne before he had the best guy in town paint it the only color a Ferrari should be). I remember the bright red interior, I remember not being able to touch the car, I remember how much my dad loved it. A few years later he sold it.

Dad_and_Me_1969_Targa_Sept2009“Holmes” and Alex in front of his 1969 911 Targa, September 2009, Chicago.

At the end of the day, he was my dad. To nail down the main thing he taught me, among the many things he taught me: he taught me how to be me. His presence in my life is invaluable and whether or not I want to admit it, whether or not you or your brother, or your sister, or your friend want to admit it, your dad’s presence or his lack of presence may or may not be the most influential thing in a person’s life. It certainly was to mine. He was my dad. And he always will be.

Alex Beh