Today I Am A Man

350px LA Dodgers.svg Today I Am A Man

English: Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is May 23, 2011. It just so happens to be the 29th anniversary of my Bar-Mitzvah but I’ll round up and say that it is 30 years. Thirty years ago I gave a speech to the congregants, guests and family members who were there in which I announced that I was ready to assume my responsibilities as a man. I was sincere about it and figured that it shouldn’t be that big a deal because I was old enough to deal with whatever that stuff was that adults dealt with. It is not hard to remember thinking that my parents and the rest of the grown ups I knew took life way too seriously. Really all they had to do was relax and good things would happen.

The plan was to grow up and become a professional baseball player who would make a lot of money doing something that I loved to do. At the time it didn’t seem far fetched or unreasonable to me. After all the year before I led the league in home runs and was known for my fielding. I had a rocket for an arm and threw out two players at the plate, mind you one throw came from left field and the other from center. The 13 year-old I was didn’t feel like the majors were out of reach, I just had to wait a few years to get there.

It is not hard to remember watching the Dodgers play and thinking that if I was lucky I would get to play for my home team. Truth was that as long as I didn’t get stuck playing for the Yankees or the Giants I thought that it would be pretty cool. I was so confident that I would make it one day that I didn’t think twice of making a bet with one of my classmates about it. BTW, it was $20k that I bet- fortunately the statute of limitations has run out on that one. If not I am going to have to beg one of the teams to put me on the roster for a day.

Thirty years later I sit here in my home office staring at the dog wondering what I am going to do. Thirty years ago I didn’t have a clue that I would find myself in the position that I am in now. Thirty years ago I couldn’t have imagined that I would be wrestling with words and wondering about how much I should disclose about the situation I find myself in. Thirty years ago I didn’t worry about my words living on long after I wrote them. Thirty years ago I didn’t wonder about how they might impact me and whether discretion made more sense than just saying what is going on.

It feels a bit foolish to come so close to spilling the beans but I am treading carefully because experience has taught me that sometimes it is smarter to do so. This is not a teaser, This is not a post where I try to stir things up and see if I can generate more traffic and engagement. The primary purpose of this post is to serve as a tool for me to sort through my thoughts. It is one part evaluation and two parts therapy.

You see I am in the land that lies beyond anger and frustration. I have tried to remove emotion so that I can evaluate things more precisely than anger allows. There is no doubt in my mind that I have been fucked. That is the technical term, ‘fucked.’  There is no doubt that I was done dirty but what is done is done. I can’t turn back the clock. I can’t fix what is broken here. All I can do is try to work on the future.

That is both exciting and scary. It is exciting because I see opportunity and potential to make something awful into something special. I am reminded me of an old story that I’ll share with you. Here is the brief version. A king has a beautiful diamond that he loves to look at and admire. Somehow the diamond is scratched and the king is irate so he places a call to the kingdom to fix it. Many people look but none are able to. And then when hope is almost lost a man steps out of the crowd and says that he can do it. So he takes the diamond and carves a beautiful rose into it and uses the scratch as the stem for the rose.

Suddenly it is not a scratch, it is part of something beautiful. Perspective is what that is. He changed the king’s perspective.

Perspective is what I am looking for and at. Because the rules of the blog dictate that I admit that part of my anger/frustration is directed inwards. I look in the mirror and wonder WTF is wrong with me and ask how I got to be in this place. Ultimately I’ll forgive myself because I am not a mind reader and much of this was outside of my control. Even so it doesn’t change the reality that I still feel like I should have figured it out…somehow.

But there is no time for second guessing and not much benefit or future in beating myself up over this. The one thing that I know is that I will get beyond this because that is what I do. And as I tell the children, attitude makes a difference so my bad attitude will be set aside until I can fix things. But I won’t lie and say that there won’t be a day of reckoning- it just won’t be today because today I am a man.


  1. Frume Sarah says

    I love how you worked in that midrashic tale about the flaw becoming part of something wonderful. Hang in there, my friend.

  2. Karen Bice says

    Hey Jack. Interesting post. I can relate to some of what you’re saying. I don’t know the reasons behind your  feeling “fucked”, and I don’t have to know. I can say that I have felt that way on occasion and finally came to the conclusion that regardless of what the constitution says, happiness (or its pursuit) is not guaranteed. Although it sure would be nice if it were. Anyway, great post and best wishes to you.

    • says

      @KBice:disqus Hi Karen- nope, there is no guarantee in the Constitution. All we have it our obligation to ourselves to do what we need to do to make ourselves happy. And that is what I am working on. Thank you for the wishes, they are most appreciated.

  3. says

    Revealing the facets of your heart and mind is one of the bravest things you can do, Jack. 

    You are willing to face truth and you are prepared to address and overcome adversity. Thus, solutions will reveal themselves as you process these thoughts and emotions; through this creative process you are likely to find a renewed sense of your personal capability and strength, a revived sense of your personal power.

    You set a beautiful example here Jack, This piece will ring true with many people who are struggling with dashed hopes, unanswered dreams, nagging thoughts of failure and doubt that we confront during life. However, without these challenges, we may ever reach for and achieve true potential.

     Just know that within five years, you will have moved beyond this place of challenge as you did 30 years ago to face a life quite likely filled with wonder, hope, happiness and success. 

    • says

      @twitter-82134350:disqus  Andrew as they say, from your mouth to G-d’s ears. One of the reasons I blog is because it is cathartic and cleansing. It helps to bring clarity and reminds me of how I have come and how far I have to go.

      This is a moment in time that I just have to live through. Thank you for visiting, I hope that you come again.

  4. says

    Well all I can say is thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and what you are and have been going through.  I KNOW I’m not the only one who can relate.  Can I say been there WAY too many times.  Just so thankful that I had an attitude adjustment along the way.  Trust me, it definitely helps!!!  

    By the way Jack, love your writing style.  Love how you lay it on the line and are not afraid to speak your mind.  Yep, I definitely like that about you.  And you know what!  Life will get better, just keep the faith my friend, keep the faith.

    Be sure and have a great day!

    Adrienne  :-)

    • says

      @d1f6f72fd673fa202677b90f0774c7af:disqus Adrienne, I think that the best part of life experience and of blogging is that they teach you that life will get better and that it could be worse.

      The most important thing we can do is to keep pushing ahead or so I think. Sometimes it is frustrating and disheartening,but that is life.

  5. says

    What a moving post, Jack.  I can feel the tide of emotion that goes along with it and can relate on some levels to those feelings.  How much to divulge; how much to keep to myself.  Using the blog and writing for therapy.  Putting it all out there in order to look at it, chew on it, kick it around, and then figure out what to do with it.  I’m confident whatever you had to tell your children, you did it well and in a way that they could understand and process and in a way that made them feel safe.  

    I admire the way you’re controlling the outcome here and determining which perspective you’re going to put on things.  That’s a very powerful gift to yourself and to your kids.


    • says

      @EricaAllison:disqus I internalize a lot so I find that I am in regular need of a safe place to vent  and think. The blog provides that. I find it frightening sometimes to lay it all out there but it is also calming as it gives a structure to the challenges.

      And that structure provides a way to search for solutions to whatever challenges exist.

      Hope that your challenges are being overcome as well, although truth be told I don’t think that was ever a question.

  6. says

    As you know, when I lost my job in December, I was a mess of emotions, including unquenchable anger–with my former company and myself. These feelings made it impossible for me to move forward, but I realized that I had to give myself some time to work things out. Now, I’m just starting to stay on the optimism trail, but I admit, I still have those bad moments where I veer off onto a road of self-loathing. 

    I was a huge Dodgers fan when I was a kid. I was in heaven when my Dad bought me my first real shiny blue jacket. My favorite player was Davey Lopes, but I also loved Garvey, Russell, Cey, Yeager, and of course, Dusty Baker. I used to go to a lot of games each summer because back then, you could drive from Orange County to LA in less than an hour! Maybe we went to some of the same games!

    • says

      @marianneworley:disqus I think that blogging is a great way to vent and work through some of these rough moments. It is important to give ourselves time to deal with some of the harder spots so that we can move ahead or so I think.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if we went to the same Dodger games because the players you named are all big parts of my childhood.

  7. says

     Hey Jack,
    I don’t know what to say (so why am I still typing!) I can relate to your story, but I won’t bore you with mine. I’ve made naive decisions with optimism I sometimes wish I still commanded! LOL But one thing I can tell you is that no turn in the path is a wrong turn. All roads lead to the good place.

    Recently, as in yesterday, I had a minor epiphany. No, it was more a major one. I targeted something in my life that I wanted to change, thought about it and realized I COULD change it, something I really didn’t know before. I knew I could change it because I had a minor success in a different area and knew if I could do THIS I could do THAT as well. But how had I done THIS? (sorry – I’m leaving a lot out – this is YOUR blog afterall!) 
    Then I saw it – I saw what I’d done for the first situation and it was SO SIMPLE! I had said “This is what I want and It’s going to happen even though I don’t know HOW it will happen. It just will.

    So I applied that same formula to the second issue. Just thought about what I wanted, stated that I would have it even though I didn’t know how. I would. Immediately I felt better!???? I felt as if I’d been standing on a shore for a long time, with a cool dinghy in my hand watching the river go by, waiting, and suddenly I threw the dinghy in and jumped into it and here I am flowing down the river. I’m not there yet, in either case, but I KNOW I will be. NOW I can enjoy the ride.

    Hang in there Jack!

    • says

      @twitter-228904159:disqus Hi Lori, I haven’t any doubt that things will improve and that good things are coming. Good things are coming because I am making them happen and I have control of quite a bit.

      I am an active participant in my life- just so happens that at the moment the activity is centered around some things that I want to go away.

      I like what you said about roads leading to the good place. I don’t think that all roads lead there but I believe that we have enough control to seriously influence where we go.

  8. Columbiarose says

    Not even an emperor is so powerful that he can remove all chance of being betrayed. After a betrayal, you are the same you, but also forever something else not of your own volition. And you understand something you didn’t that day you committed to being a man. You see that there really are things that sorely tempt a heart to turn black, and you must now commit either to letting it turn black, or rejecting that and clawing your way out.

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