Thinking About The Boy Who Was

It is a few minutes after 12 and I am taking a break from work. A much needed break I might add. Last night I went to The Comedy Store for the #140conf and met a number of bloggers and Twitterers in person. It was my second event and a novel experience for me.

I have guarded my anonymity with varying degrees of ferocity so it is not always easy to allow myself to meet others in person. The freedom to write as I will is addictive. It is among my favorite narcotics because it is. Because I can open the closet doors and clear out all of the crap. Because there are very few that I ever let see what lies beneath the surface and this is the sole exception.

It is not that I am so afraid of being judged or ashamed of who I am and the things I have done. I am no different than any other person. I have a mental checklist of the victories and the defeats. I remember with great clarity things that have happened- a true dual edged sword. Because sometimes I can still hear the cheering and other times I can still taste the bitter swill that I was forced to drink when I could not save the day.

So here I sit, two days after my forty-first birthday, thinking about many things. Here in the home office I stare at a puppy who reminds me of the days when my children were true babies. He is teething this pup and I think that it is driving him crazy. His behavior is a bit erratic, but he finds great comfort in sitting in my lap and listening to my stories.

I stare at the wall and see pictures of a three year-old boy who barely resembles the almost ten year-old who roams the halls here. We speak frequently about the things that are important to him. Much of that relates to his interest in stories about myself as a boy.

And is my nature I think and remember about my childhood. I remember the boy who was. A skinny kid with curly black hair and endless amounts of energy. A boy that rode his bike everywhere, including where he wasn’t supposed to go. “G” was always a part of that. A partner in crime, whose wife wonders why it is that two grown men can still end up wrestling on the floor.

It makes me laugh, thinking about that. We end up wrestling almost every time we see each other, been doing so since 1974. It will be a dark day if we ever reach a point in which we are physically incapable of doing so. Did I mention that the look his wife gives us is the same one that we have received for a thousand years. It is a guy thing, something that we have never quite outgrown.

So when I see my son wrestling with his best friend I smile and wonder if they’ll be able to stand the test of time. Because in many ways G and were lucky. We grew up in the same neighborhood and lived within walking distance. With the exception of 6-9th grades we went to school together throughout our entire school career, that includes college.

That wasn’t planned, just worked out that way. So when he moved across country it wasn’t a strain on our friendship. Don’t get me wrong I miss the old bastard, but we always pick up wherever we left off.

I remember a time during summer break when we were around 12 when we had a discussion about whether we could take on a grown man. Don’t remember what prompted it, probably read about something in the paper. But what I remember is talking about it and deciding that we could. Wasn’t really a question, we trust our lives with each other.

But that is a side issue because as a father I want my children to have that kind of friendship. I want them to have that friend who’d you die for. I want them to have that person or persons that you can trust beyond all others. People need that. It makes a difference.

Last night Jeff Pulver made a comment about growing up lonely and how he still feels lonely. I think that I understand that because there have been moments where I have felt like I live my life alone and apart.  But…I never completely forget that there are a few people that I can always call upon.

I want that for my children. Their parents will always love them. They know that they haven’t created a monster that I won’t fight. Lions, tigers, grizzly bears or angry clevelanders will not harm them as long as I have breath in my body.

But that is not the same as a friend. They deserve it and I think that they’ll find those people. It kind of looks like they have, but we’ll have to wait and see because this really is a situation in which time makes a difference.

In a few minutes it will be time to resume working and I’ll put this aside. But for the remainder of the day I’ll sift through the memories of the boy who was and see if there something good to share with the boy who is and his little sister.

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