…Or, my Quest For The Holy Grail, which I eventually did find by spending a life of studious observation, sometimes deep serendipitous thought, gawdy mis-informed and unabashedly arrogant fun, a dash of inordinate happenstance, and then… by the most fortunately-unfortunate of Accidents…
It’s no secret to those who know me well that I’ve learned life’s greatest lessons with a kind of “ridiculous oppositional defiance”; with that line of thinking having been one of my life’s greatest teachers. Though I now bow to it as my master of destiny, I cannot recommend this course of study to the faint of heart, weak of mind, or anyone who CANNOT become completely convicted of it’s arrogant, self-righteous path of expectorating the most resistance between any two points in the continuum.
In other words, if you have to be brought to your knees and dragged kicking and screaming before some of life’s simplest concepts, then… you may be considered a candidate for my school of thought. Admittedly, there ought to be a better means to attaining wisdom. But as has been for me; NOT.
Self indulgent… yes. Self centered… definitely. Self defeating… mostly. Self aware… acutely. Self serving… without question. Selfish… morally bound by it, yet in a positive sense. Self-hatred… never and not even for an instant. Self-Actualized… I like to think so. Self motivated… once upon a time…
“WTF? Whoa… what happened Diggeratti? Why? I mean… your Dudeness, you kinda sound to me like you need to see a shrink. You don’t sound like the guy I once thought I knew.”
“You know what? You’re absolutely right. I mean, about that last part, but if there’s one thing I DO KNOW FOR CERTAIN, IT’S THAT I DO NOT NEED A SHRINK. Got it?”
For all of my known life I’ve searched for “the secret” to it… (that being, the secret of life).
I have never divulged this story to anyone in it’s entirety, though perhaps I’ve shared small morsels to some close friends along the way; but only here and there and never enough for anyone to frame a complete picture of my personal Quest for that Holiest of Grails.
I can remember my fourth grade teacher calling my parents to request a parent-teacher conference because I was “the most argumentative boy she had ever had the displeasure of teaching.” She reasoned that I thought I knew more than she did, and that would just be the height of stupidity. Of course, she was right on all accounts.
Fourth graders HATE the idea of being told they’re wrong. And sometimes they are RIGHT, but they can’t say why.
But hey, did I let that stop me? “Uh-uhn. No sir, Not today Miss Smarty Pants. Not me. Nada. You can’t embarrass my little ole’ butt and expect to get by with it.”
Fourth grade was a rough year for me.
Looking back, it was the year I framed the questions, and then demanded answers. Yet, no answers were forthcoming. But still I weathered on…
Having grown up on… let’s just say… not the bright side of the road (a lower middle class blue collar too many kids neighborhood), and being a tad small for my age group, I HAD to learn how to defend myself amongst the sea of bullies and general fuck-wads of Louisville’s South End, while keeping the blood flowing inside my nose.
I mastered the art of “holier than thou” with double-edged insult and crafty innuendo, tough guy talk (but not too tough as to result in fisticuffs), and then finally making friends with the biggest and toughest guys so as to keep the multitude of snapping sharks at bay. Still, I was not immune to an ill-advised attempt at busting some ass myself, which generally resulted in my own busted ass. Yet, I drunk it all in and I learned something new every day.
But not the reason for my existence.
Somehow god smiled on me around high school and I became a high school sports star (distance running), bringing glory and fame to my hood and school and earning exalted status amongst the good guys and neer-do-wells alike. Life, all of the sudden got a tad simpler for me.
I run. I win. They love. All good.
Now, I wasn’t an “A” student at any point in my young life, preferring to glide instead of propel. Though from my earliest days I can remember, too many times some school person informed my parents that it was a bit unusual that I did not make straight A’s given my way-above-the fray IQ. On standardized tests I invariably scored in the 98-99 percentile while dragging home C’s and B’s on my report cards.
My parents, who were more than all-too ready to indulge me in whatever it was I might happen to desire at any moment, were extremely smart uneducated folks. They used logic and reason (and pots and pans) to argue their many disagreements over the pettiest of issues. They were never bitten by the bug of glutinous consumerism, and were just happy enough to love their children immensely, while still not setting the bar too high for them; I assume to somehow insure our future dog-eat-dog worldly success. It worked.
The moral of that story has to do with familial LOVE in it’s most raw, unconditional sense.
So… anyway, I had devised my own little secret quest by around 7th grade. That not-so-small idea was: that I was going to find out for certain what our/my purpose was on this here little-ole spinning ball of dirt sitting way-too-far away from billions of way bigger balls as to be arrogantly considered of any significance by even the most unreasonable of minds in all of mice and men.
Having spent 10 years attending Catholic School I was absolutely certain that they (Roman Catholicism) were so full of shit that even a little fourth grader couldn’t buy into their baloney ass stories. I mean, by fourth grade I had already surmised that getting into heaven simply meant winning the genetic lottery. No god of any denomination could be that stupid, I figured.
My questions became arguments with seemingly (at the time) much smarter people early on, but I wasn’t about to shut up until they told me the truth. They never did. Nor did I ever STFU… and I realized far too soon to be considered healthy for any young mind that “they” (conventional wisdom) hadn’t the slightest fucking clue. To be sure, I wanted some REAL answers!
But, that little hate-show of mine disappeared once I became a high school sports star. I was too busy buying into the BIG LIE because it was fun, exciting, sexually conducive to my screaming testosterone, and material worldly attractive as a MO-FO to a guy who grew up thinking that a new pair of white high top Chuck Taylors was the ultimate gift in all of heaven-kind. Possibilities were becoming boundless and I was soaking in the poison and drinking it up like a lap dog with a new doggie bone.
Then came College. The Life. The Audacity! I had more fun than fourteen barrels of monkeys and forty-two barrels of single barrel malt Bourbon Whiskey, any Kentucky boy’s drink of choice and one-upmanship. And, it was the mid-seventies so pot was collegiately legal as well. It seemed that the world was here to become my personal oyster, and I had the munchies.
Or was it?
Post College. The BIG BUY-IN to THE BIG LIE. Now here’s where there are men, and there are boys on our puny little thin crust of oxygenated Garden of Once-Upon-A-Time Eden, soon-to-be Sodom and Gomorrah. (Why I do love me some Biblical quotation and/or reference!). Which one did I want to be? Take a guess. Go on, git’ you one. Oh, I’m all man… babeeey!
For sure, at this point in life’s roulette wheel of fortune one can either JOIN or NOT JOIN. Not Joining will surely NOT get you the keys to the best and finest of anything. Better to JOIN if you’re in the least enthralled with power, pussy, money, fame, highly limited material items, world travel, bad golf on the finest green lawned courses, or all other humanly delusions of grandeur. Boy, I liked ‘em all. If there had been a Facebook Page for them I could prove it to you right now, and they just might wish to then, “like” me back.
But then, I digress…
Some folks who caught my flash thought/think they knew/know who I was/am. I played my part like a virtuoso for them all to see and marvel about. And, I might just add in a bit of total narcissistic self-immersion, I marveled at my damn-self a bit too. Deep down in me I felt a growl. Buried under my own self-image of worldly greatness there still lay that little unfinished business of a secret quest. But, it by then had had gathered much dust.
Truth be known, when I first learned of it, I denied its existence completely, blocked it from my intellect, refused its admittance into my panopoly of raging-life-parties. Yet, I somehow felt it was always standing just outside my door, peering in my windows day and night. But, it dared never knock at my door! Denial.
After all, I was by then a star of my own astronomical proportions. Call me space man. But, please call me so we can figure out what it is you can do for me, OK? And guess what? Me being all that I could possibly be, there was likely a shit load that I could do for you too. Mutual astronomical greatness we were! The vaunted “Win-Win” in the solar system cliché ridden parlance of the day.
Now, it can also be said that in most “core value” ways I have never changed one single iota, nor would I have ever considered it as worthy of my almighty damn-self to do so. After all I had eclipsed Mt. Olympus and now was considered by a small group of people (me, myself, and I) to be of the very essence of the gods.
Tru-dat. But alas, it was NOT to be.
I rumpled feathers every step of the way up the ladder of ascension to material worldliness and ironical self-absorption. If it reeked “the best” or “most expensive” I was all in. If they said “no”, I demanded “yes”. Good was no longer acceptable. For I was all about GREATNESS.
During those heady times the elusive answer which I did faithfully seek since childhood remained elusive, yet it began to slide uneasily to the forefront of my mind and studies, as I read hundreds of books containing both new and ancient wisdom from every perspective on every subject. (Crazy enough, I did all this while driving many long hours almost every day in my profession for over 20 years).
I eventually came to the ultimate truth in an odd way; since not one book that I had read contained the answer (unless one considers “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” by Carl Sagan). That book stunned me to my core, and tied together various newer ideas in physics and philosophy. So then armed with Carl’s brainy wisdom, I eventually figured it all out for myself. But, still I wasn’t at all certain. It was just too simple.
Though it would be remiss of me not to mention that there had been a goddess driving my chariot during a near 20-year span of semi-marital bliss, it would also be imprudent and essentially wrong of me not to say that herein the first cracks began to show in my own majestic glorified godliness.
So… just when the gettin’ was gettin’ absolutely fabulous, the bottom sorta fell out. Plunge.
I had sunk to committing the most egregious crime most men seek out with an unworldly zestful appetite… adultery. Ungodly for sure. Un-Saintly, yes. Most un-Diggity, for certain.
On the surface infidelity may sound a bit trite to the accomplished reptile.
But here we had a man-god who had built his god-self-reputation out of all things pure unadulterated integrity. His own self-image was now rendered a literal a sham of the highest immoral degree. Having long since vanquished the various world religiosities as total and absolute frauds, I now had only to rely upon simple humanistic ethics.
Almost too sleazily human, I proffered.
Now un-deification of oneself requires a re-start of sorts, not to be confused with a do-over or a mulligan. Starting over from scratch. Ground fucking zero.
To further muddy my suddenly stormy world, I apparently was caught in the eye of a nasty hurri-karmic cyclical deluge of sorts. In fairly quick succession I weathered the deaths of my sweet (nonnie) grandmother, then my loving mother, and finally my always you-da-man dad. A personal tsunami of epic proportions. Fuck an el-Nino… this shit was bad. All wet and no place to hide.
And like a fine motor yacht that has been cut loose from its moors, I drifted out into a raging, foamy sea.
That world, the money-as-god-everything world from which I had laid the foundation for my existence, and then had built gold brick upon gold brick with my own golden sweat was nothing but a thinly veiled house of cards. It was THE BIG LIE.
The good news was that within these unfortunate events lay the definitive answer to my long sought after secret to my existence, which I immediately NOW understood all-too-well but all-too-late. I won’t say that I was elated, but I was way smarter and wiser than the fool I had left behind me.
That’s the secret. In the end your family is the most important reason for your living and being. Mine were now all dead, save my two “the real deal” better-than-me, wiser-older, childless sisters.
It seemed that almost every fool on the planet but me had known the simple secret, and all without knowing they knew it. It was just ALL TOO SIMPLE and all-too-humanistic.
But seriously, if one does consider science to be a revealing and enlightening subject, a cursory review of evolutionary history will belie my point over and over and over and over again. Read it and weep. Forget Deuteronomy. Learn the history of life.
Family. It’s what we live for, it’s what we die for, it’s what we strive for. Was I too little too late?
Suddenly, like some drunken riverboat gambler aimlessly pulling slots who haphazardly strikes THE BIG JACKPOT, I stumbled into an epiphanic episode of REAL TRUTH, that one which I had previously been loathe to avoid.
In fact, I was rather brought kicking and screaming into this ultimate reality bite (see above)… at almost fifty years of age; I was becoming a first time dad whether I liked it or not. At the time, I had rather not.
But then the very moment my newborn son was placed in my arms and our eyes connected I was forever lost then found by life’s highest order of it’s highest order of it’s highest order of all things sacred and TRUE and GOOD. Pure previously unfathomable, but now undeniable unconditional LOVE. I swooned. All of life’s past, present, and future shook me, rocked me to my very essence… oh my!
My purpose. My reason of reasons. Bang! Bow! Biff! Yeah! Oh yeah! YES. A primordial orgasm that gave its fiery commandments to me with my giddy consent… and like Moses I looked around for my tablet. And lo’ Brother and Sister, I sayeth unto you; god-life hath honoredeth me with the highest joy ever beknownst unto all of mankind. The heavens were exalted!
My “family” secret. Solved.
Happy ending? I think so…