Two months ago a very good friend suddenly left this plane, and though it had been some time since I last had heard his voice, I often wondered how he was doing. But now I think about him several times a day, though not in the blame filled guilt trip kinda way, just sadness, a sadness in that I never knew he was even sick. I’ve always joked (not joking) that I am the sanest person I know. With Doug though, if pressed I might have given him a slight edge on me. He had his shit together before I moved away from Greensboro, NC 13 years ago, when we ran hard and worked even harder, and then sometimes ran even faster again. Doug and I shared the work hard-play-hard life philosophy of “buy the ticket, take the ride”.
Now I feel sympathy for him and empathetic to his partner (Christina) and their son Noah, who is one year older than my 10-year old first-born son. I’m sorry that one of the finest persons I’ve been lucky enough to have called my friend found himself trapped inside one of the most vile twisted and horrible conditions in psychiatry today. And one that would eventually strike and unravel, deciding his fate. I know it must have been unbearable suffering, because the Doug I knew rarely lost at anything in life, his natural constitution was using his considerable talents to find a way to win. And a winner he was in every respect.
Ironically in 2007 we discussed some of these same issues that later haunted him, issues that from all accounts he later apparently struggled with mightily. He and I talked about it over a couple of long phone calls when my two-year old son’s mother died, ironically in the same out-of-the-blue mind-fuck way in which he later succumbed. It was only after some time that I was able to personally heal enough not to be mad at her when I looked at my son’s beautiful face, but I eventually researched it enough (with counseling) and studied the disease (manic bi-polar dis-order) enough to understand how she had been very sick, and her’s was not a selfish act… in some ways heroic. I admit to being mad at Doug too for those first couple of days as it is only a normal reaction. But, I hope that those who loved Doug will find it within themselves to forgive, and give Noah the love he will need going forward.
I’m now certain she (my son’s Mother) thought she was doing me and our son and maybe the world a favor. How could it happen only a few years later that Doug apparently didn’t recognize the symptoms he was experiencing as being eerily similar, and NOT seek immediate medical help?
“Perhaps the greatest faculty our minds possess is the ability to cope with pain. Classic thinking teaches us of the four doors of the mind, which everyone moves through according to their need.
First is the door of sleep. Sleep offers us a retreat from the world and all its pain. Sleep marks
passing time, giving us distance from the things that have hurt us. When a person is wounded they will often fall unconscious. Similarly, someone who hears traumatic news will often swoon or faint. This is the mind’s way of protecting itself from pain by stepping through the first door.
Second is the door of forgetting. Some wounds are too deep to heal, or too deep to heal quickly. In addition, many memories are simply painful, and there is no healing to be done. The saying ‘time heals all wounds’ is false. Time heals most wounds. The rest are hidden behind this door.
Third is the door of madness. There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind.
Last is the door of death. The final resort. Nothing can hurt us after we are dead, or so we have been told.
Our friendship was special in many ways, and I never doubted it was one that was built to last despite wherever our individual paths would lead us. The few times we did talk in the last 3-4 years it seemed like yesterday that we were laughing, golfing, partying, or talking through long hours of a weekend night, building a unique bond of brotherhood. And, so times remain in memories too, and though we’ve duffed our last good times together on the front nine of this “good walk spoiled”… My Dougly, I’ll catch you on the backside.
Doug will always seem near, and I doubt that feeling will ever yield, serving as testimony to all that we weathered together and how at one time we were bonded as if tethered. Time passed, and distance drew us further apart only in this physical realm, his life essence today as clear to me as anyone I’ve ever encountered who has passed my way..
In my minds eye I still see those bright sparkling sea blue eyes smiling that eternal grin, a slightly toothy and twisted grin that always uttered a quick shortish chuckle like a verbal wink, not a sneering snarkle.
I can still hear him saying…
“My Tommy-boy, what’s happen.n…in’…huh-huh-hnn” his standard opening line in modified uptalk.
“You, my brotha… you’re happenin’. What might we do to make this sunny Friday good reason to call it a week? I make an air-golf-swing and give him an inquisitive look as if asking a question?
“(Laughs out loud)” You’re on, but let me take care of a few things first. Let’s meet at Stoney Creek in an hour… they’ll squeeze us on. But, not before I buy you an ice-cold beer,” he offers, pulling one out of the small cooler in his tiny back office.
“Schweet, See ya’ at 12:45ish”, popping the top for a cool swig of cerveza.
The golf the excuse, the time spent laughing and chatting it up (and a few cold-uns) the real reasons we were playing. Of course, he almost always won, and I almost always got the tab later. Usually, he paid half anyway.
And so it was, that we sometimes were out late-ish. Closing time.
We sometimes but very rarely meet a person who shares a common natural vibe, manifesting itself as a subtle synchronous one-man-ship. Perhaps it is luck when two minds and hearts of like kind can instantly formulate and understand the other’s deepest thoughts and bind effortlessly in such a short time? True friendship, lastingly rare as it is, transcends the world we think we see and enters into a more sublime reality; where life and death are no different than time and distance, just a weird cohesive illusion. Maybe mind stays fresh for a time in the Consciousness of the Great Immensity? People who have died that I knew well never do seem as far from me as those whom I am merely acquainted with. Then again, maybe its just a function of the brain’s electrical neurotransmitters and neural networks, and there’s no big truth to discover after death? For now, I’ll take what I can get.
Neither of us a nihilist, and both always too real, we never disagreed about what is here and now, though we differed on the eternal spinning of the wheel. Doug, a religious believer, and me a skeptic… one never cared to convert the other, because we agreed that hey, “it is what it is”. Apparently Doug had one year earlier sold his restaurant, a business that started as a tiny cramped sandwich shop that he nurtured into a large, thriving, one-of-a-kind place to eat by the time Doug had hit 35. It was the epitome of the term “cash cow”. I often wonder if his having sold his life’s work recently and somewhat stumbling around free and without a solid plan for his next big move contributed to his fall from grace. “Idle hands are the Devils work”, they say, but then one must first also believe in the Devil. Doug did, not me. May be I’m just lucky? Lucky?
Well… curiously enough, I too “retired” from a successful career with the intent to take some “idle time” first before embarking on another big challenge at around the same age as Doug did (47). That was 12 years ago, and I’ve not worked at a job since then. But, don’t sleep on the fact that the years surrounding age 47 can be a difficult period for many men, as it is around the time we experience one of our greatest “changes of the seasons”. It is a time where questions outnumber answers, reason gives in to fantasy, and suppressed Jungian archetypes arrive unannounced to ring a gentle alarm, seemingly without an off button but a relentless snooze reminder.
For me, an avid reader from way back and a suction for knowledge of all things anything, I trust that this malady of Doug’s will stay at bay throughout my less-than-ideal projected number of remaining days. Smart and stubborn, when told in January ’06 I had “less than five years” to make my indelible mark on humanity, I simply refused to accept it, or believe it was a possibility.
After all, after 50 years of child-free living and loving it… I had become a father. I was a single father, and this wonderful life-giving “reason for reasons” became my duty bound refusal to leave as scheduled. I mean, to me it was as simple as, “No, I have a little boy to raise.”
Maybe in the twisted end we’ll all find that in sublime irony, “living is dying, and dying is living, or something a thousand times more weird. But, NOW is the only sure bet we have. It pays to have hope, reason, and expectation of a future… but we should never take our eye off the ball of NOW.
“The human being cannot live in a condition of emptiness for very long: if he is not growing toward something, he does not merely stagnate; the pent-up potentialities turn into morbidity and despair, and eventually into destructive activities.”
I admired a man named Douglas Fricks, an honest and loyal friend killed by one of (god’s) nastiest tricks. Smart and funny, happy and caring, humble, sharing, compassionate and never once was he over-bearing. Confident and cool, his actions were the example his employees didn’t learn in school. He didn’t worship money, he worshiped Noah and (sometimes) even his honey.
He spoke the truth and he knew its limits, but he never seem to pass on one more ice-cold beer… and I was right there, but we always usually sometimes held it together. He was “My-Fugly-My-Dougly”, and my “Friggy-my Diggy”. And me, to him… just “Tommy-boy” (my habit of nicknaming and his return sally).
I hope you found your peace my brother, I’ll always be your biggest fan. You in the fairway and me the woods, your smooth swing had you dancing, and me hacking, whacking, hatchet thicket smacking… but you never let me know how far down I stood. I loved YOU for the you that was you… and you, My Dougly… I always will.
Daddy-hood sort of caught me by the nape of my neck. In the summer 2004 I was surprised to learn that… like it or not I was going to become a Father. Whoa!… after 50 years I had long decided against and avoided that (to me) unfortunate scenario. But, fate had chosen another route for […]
Don’t bother playing this if you don’t want to listen to every second of it. But… if you can handle it, there is much wisdom and simple truth to be found in this dynamite incredibly fabulous song… Pessimistically optimistic, but as Raw and REAL as it gets.
I’ve been a Louisvillefan since growing up in the South End there in the late 1960’s. In those days Wes Unseld held down the post while Junior Bridgeman (oops wrong year… it was Butch Beard) drilled bombs that would now-a-days be NBA threes. I was also a Kentuckyfan back then, as my limited scope at 11 only suggested that both teams were from my home State; and for me… that was good enough. I cried after the 1966 Finals when Kentuckylost to Texas Western. It was the first televised game I had ever seen (if you call a 13 inch B/W TV using rabbit ears at Rough River with fuzzy reception actually “watching”). I remember Louie Dampier and Pat Riley playing well, but Texas Western was loaded with quick athletic jumpers who cleaned nearly all of the glass. No matter how hard we played T-W was relentless and refused to reliquish an early lead. They shot 38 free throws and made 24, while were 11 for 13, because we could not stop (Calipari’s Don Haskins Dribble-Drive).
I could not then, nor do I now understand the hatred that exists between the fans of these two highly vaunted programs at (UKand UL).
Since those formative years I’ve remained a spectator and college basketball fan, eventually forsaking football, baseball, and other sports to concentrate on basketball, and found new love… in playing soccer. After college graduation one generally finds that career and other diversions tend to implore us not to spend so much discretionary time on sports. Somewhere along the way we should also gain a certain “adult” perspective that allows wins and losses to affect us only in “momentary” situations, without changing our personalities or affecting our priorities. I can remember once thinking (as a Cleveland Browns fan), “what if they win the Super Bowl this year?”
My internal answer came back solemnly… “well… you’ll have a hangover at work the next day. And then, it will all be over as quickly as it unfolded.” Of course, I never got to test my theory on Cleveland.
But, I’ve always known that the special UL/UK hate was limited to the fans, but not the players. The players, for the most part all respect one another and truly wish them well when not in direct opposition with one another. This last week, I was incensed after reading a Louisville fan blog, where a number of (so-called) humanoids berated Russ Smith’s game against their hated rival Kentucky. It is the epitome of classless, spineless, little man complex to even suggest that Russ Smith ISN’T the epitomeof college basketball. I mean, holy sh&t, without Russ Smith, Louisville wouldn’t be on the map this year?
If I could have traveled through cyberspace I might have strangled someone. I wonder how much sweat these slugs must have lost watching Russmake a mistake or two? The nerve! And I hate to report that this kind of attitude is more commonplace than one could reasonably imagine. I witnessed Kentucky fans dropping wholesale after every disappointment this year, creating more Calipari is crazy conspiracies than David Icke does aliens are living next door. Now they’ve had to order a new fleet of “bandwagons” to accommodate the repentant.
Of course, as we advance both in age and financially we become further removed from the “good ole days”, as our lives settle down we find time for watching sports again; if only to harass our friends over drinks, use travel games as party excuses, and/or make idiotic blog posts about our two-time First team All-American’s deficiencies. Albeit, we do all this with the same passion and nasty vigor of our youth,unless by then we’ve learned anything about real life. But then, sports chatter using facts and figures can also be fun, even when all you want to do is watch from the couch with family and friends and berate the commentator (I mean homer/hater Doug Gottfried).
The last few years though, I have experienced a gnawing ache, which seems to grow as I follow my favorite teams on the internet on TV and in the news and through internet blogs. Admittedly, (and duly embarrassed) a couple of years ago I began to engage my acute sense of wit (my description of course), knowledge of the game and its history, and uniquely blatant in-your-face writing style to have some fun tormenting those brain-farts whom I felt were less informed about the game I love, or were just plain trolling ignoramus’ who apparently make a life out of denigrating other teams and their fans.
I can honestly (no self-efficacy here, huh?) say that when it came to words-a-cuffing, I was/am/can be the Mohammed Ali of heavyweight lightning factoid-icule. For awhile I got a kick out of out belittling (some unknown to me poster) with a twisted sarcasm that only I seemed to be able to produce in imaginative volume. For awhile, I admit it was fun…
Yet, it was internally hollow, and I soon tired of out-lambasting some teenager or sock-puppet who could barely spout, “my team is better than yours”, or wax philosophical about some ridiculous straw man argument, whom I quickly leveled with a few light jabs and then an overhand hay-word-insult-maker, landing him on his back not even attempting to answer the keyboard beep.
I particularly loved sparring with more intelligent fans (unarmed with my modestly? over-the-top imaginative hater vocabulary); unfortunately they too sometimes lacked the Ali-dance-cleverword-shuffle or even the hack-a-fact, and I found myself mocking them before finally throwing a swift combination Ali would have marveled at. Canvas. 1-10. Boom. K.O. Next…
It was easy especially if you’d ever read Darrell Huff’s book, “How to Lie With Statistics”, the most widely read book on quantitative analysis ever written. And if you’ve happened to have read his sequel, “How to Tell if Someone is Cheating With Statistics”. then…BOOM! Tysonian.
Thankfully, those days are done-skeey and I lament remembering some of the verbal beatings I gave. Almost…
Occasionally I can and do get drawn into a minor word wrestle with a formidable foe (likely because they have said egregious ignorant things with uncommon pride and arrogance instead of understated objectivity) whom I sense cannot go the whole fifteen rounds… even though I recognize my latent memory is beginning to escape me .
I’ll set ’em up with some obscure factoid, wait for the bell of my chosen round… then simply wind-up-round-house them before they can type, “Google”. Trust me, I had to learn a plethora of one punch put-down lines in Louisville’s South End growing up and I remember most of them.
But, I swear it’s ONLY because I hate the hater…
…and so I dose ’em with a dash of high-test-hate-o-line (then an throw uppercut to the super-ego with a lit match thrown in for good measure). BA-BOOM!
True is dat. But this a confession, even if it sounds arrogant, because I’m sorry… especially after what Louisville’s Russ Smith has recently taught me.
The following statement by arguably the best player in the nation over the last two years exemplifies the notion of
better than I or anyone could ever express with any brand of kindness or venom.
THIS IS WHAT EVERY COLLEGE FAN SHOULD LEARN TO RECITE.
Russ-not-so-diculous is, as of now my ALL-TIME favorite college basketball player:
Those who play the game (just like MOST OF US likely remember when playing sports), respect one another; it’s the fans who are LAME. Stop it you friggin’ idiots! It is a game. You have to work tomorrow either way, so STFU… (I know, I know… sure… its the refs fault).
Because in the end sports are about sportsmanship(learning how to win, and how to lose), not winning… and especially not whining like your 7-year old. It’s about enjoying true athletic skill which the common man can only appreciate with a certain awe. It’s about competitive fight, 100% effort, and all without cheating; and learning to LOSE well as well as WIN well. Well?
That trait alone makes one Russ Smith a true hero, and a real man. Those who play the game respect one another; it’s us fans whose ignorance is more than made up for by our lack of intelligence.
I mean, it’s a shame that stupidity isn’t painful…
Stop the hate, fans of whom-ever-in-the-rat-fk.
It is ONLY a game that you ONLY participate in vicariously. Your kids will still have to go to the Dentist tomorrow, so please STFU with the crybaby stuff.
And… unfortunately it is the fans of my beloved State of Kentucky (equally offensive ULand UKfans) who are among the worst offenders. Some of these Neanderthals have professional jobs and careers. I mean, I love Kentuckythough I’ve lived inNorth Carolina just as long, and now Floridanearly as long.
I’m still a UK and ULfan to the bone… because…
There’s nothing like basketball in KENTUCKY. I just hope it stays that way without us making fools of ourselves any more than we have already… well, all of us but those young inexperienced players on our teams… Bye Russ! I’ll miss your style, your smile, and your helter-skelter…
held my breath too long it seems finest place was just a dream rose to the top jus’ like the cream
but virtuous… a lonely theme the lies are told through smiles they beam as curtains hide the actors scheme gag the truth or it will scream.
you are just one and they are a team wrinkled shirts will get the steam so money’s god, but god ain’t green while power wins, fine ass is reamed.
play or lose you finally gleam know the truth but go mainstream but every crack will find a seam times gettin’ bad when good’s extreme.
FACEBOOK IT.(A recent comment to friend’s Facebook post about America.)
America? Where is it anyway?
I had a dream that I grew up there, but when I woke up… oh shit!?! I lived in a foreign land that existed only in the minds of an ignorantly deluded multitude, but in the “pockets” of a few greedy intellectual snake charmers with some bizarre ideas; who manipulated us (through their control of the monetary supply-system which they did privately own yet had surreptitiously presented as one being Federally regulated/owned), by using their powerful political, deadly, and financial force to corrupt and control this so-called “AMERICA”‘s political morally bankrupt leaders years many before my birth.
After a cup of Java or two had really opened my eyes and re-started my brain I learned that they had used lies and manipulation to hypnotize the masses into believing that we were living in and freely participating in the affairs of an ethically righteous political Republic; and one whom God had somehow annointed as “policeman to the world” due to our extreme technologically advanced capability of forcing will on nearly every aspect of the world’s populations through intimidation, blackmail, and destruction.
Sad that I had only dreamt about America’s greatness instead of actually having existed in an honourable country espousing freedom for all who wished to FAIRLY and HONESTLY excel through individual effort, determination, and innovation like I had been indoctrinated to believe…
I retreated, to the only real and local environment that I truly felt I could trust and love… my family and a few close personal friends.
To all myguy friends(NO, to all men… and women with a good sense of humor….well, themselves)… important that you read about this invasive Malware. Wish I had written the kernel to the code, because it is NOT open source and VERYdangerous to your future decisions.Read More »
I listened hard and watched the best. Secretly I’d one day be their litmus test. Late hours and freezing rain could not depress, the drive inside my lifelong quest. It wasn’t easy but I never faltered, the success I worshiped, on effort’s sacrificial altar.
On the day of reckoning, my mind prepared from daydreams of winning. Imagined moments never shared, except a mindless grinning. The fear of failure came nowhere near, compete and win my simple mission clear.
Nervously I toed the line, emotional tension outside-in sublime. I lurched ahead right from the go, then pushed the pace they wanted slow. Some seemed worried and took the bait, others doubted lay back in wait; on my demise they had sealed their fate.
Feeling strong and so relaxed, I stretched my lead never feeling taxed. While I saw turtles they saw a hare, as I blistered laps through the cool night air; on a record pace I had laid my dare.
Seemingly on a gun lap cruise, in retrospect I must have somehow hit the snooze. But glancing back at second place, he was so far back and wore an anguished face.
The crowd all stood with deafened screams, half o’ lap to enjoy my living dreams. That I glanced left is in retrospect my error, sprinting past my right was a nightmare terror.
Written a few years ago for a friend whose boyfriend was suddenly killed in a bike week motorcycle accident. I too was struggling through a recent sudden loss, making the moment even that more poignant… I thought I had lost the poem, but found (some of) it in a file drawer the other day. Here’s the edited version.
Vida después de su muerte mi amigo
Sitting here by Kimberly’s grave
thoughts turn to you and Tony
their lives too short for both of them
isn’t our grief the testimony?
Who lives or not whose choice it be
or just the dice who say?
does God play poker, is he the Joker
is it black and white, or grey?
And who are we that thinks of them
does our mirror speak the truth?
are we all just names etched in granite?
isn’t up hill down hill too?
Or are we just narrow vibrations on a playing field,
proving that we “exist for real”, or just “sense” we do?
manifesting our love not by, “they’re dead and gone”
but “they live in our hearts, and will see us through?”
Do we create our unique version of real
realizing ourselves… by all our think, our say, and do?
If we’re just the sum of who we think we are
I think there’s part of Kimberly alive in me…
…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 oflife).
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 Questforthat Holiestof 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.
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!
Woke up one morning after an ill-conceived fatty
Now instead of being his Father, they called me his baby-daddy.
And If life is like golf, they might as well called me her caddie.
She had the queen, I just held the jack
I played the joker and she played her rack.
AND, thats how the light gets in; it finds a SMALL crack.
As I was stiffin her, she was stiffin me
But when I first saw his face, it turned to… an Epiphany.
A whole life I’D spent…searching for my role, then I suddenly looked down… I was standing on the goal.
She got dealt some bad cards, QUICKLY folded her hand and left the table
But I kept the prize, and she’s now JUST a fable
Now I’m a seven year-old’s Daddy, and there’s no LOVE more willing or ABLE.
So here’s to being a Father,
All it took was a screw
I like it so much… NOW I’m a Daddy for two.