Life doesn’t come with a GPS and if it did mine would constantly say “recalculating.” Some people take the high road and some people take the low road. Me? I don’t take a road, I just follow my nose through thick and thin. During the good times I deem it part of my roguish nature and tell those who ask that I am 240 pounds of 5-year-old boy. During the bad times I attribute it to my disdain for authority and desire to march to the beat of my own drummer. Did I mention that my drummer is always offbeat.
Six or seven weeks ago I took my son and grandfather to the tux shop so that we could be fitted for the wedding. When it came time for me the guy behind the counter asked me if I knew my size and I asked him for a yardstick. Grandpa got a good laugh from that one and then my mother told me that it wasn’t very funny. I hadn’t a clue that she was anywhere close to me which proves that my mother has never stopped training with the ninjas who taught her how to appear and disappear when I was a child.
The Naked Truth
A short time later I stood inside the dressing room prepared to try on another tuxedo that wouldn’t fit me properly. I looked at my son and engaged in a running commentary about how hard when I was in my twenties I had to have my jackets tapered. He asked what that meant and I explained that years of swimming and weightlifting had given me very broad shoulders, a bigger neck and a thin waist. But what I forgot was that the thin waist was jealous of the broad shoulders so in the time that has passed since my twenties it too has worked hard at growing larger.
Had I not been required to try on the jacket and slacks I might have accused them of using a fun house mirror and scary lighting in the dressing room. Sadly the mirror and lighting were just fine and I was forced to confront the naked truth.
Remember When-Alan Jackson
Change is hard and I am not always good at accepting it. It comes from being a fighter and a scrapper of the first order. There are things, people and places that I remember. There are moments in time that are seared upon my soul and try as I might they don’t just disappear and I don’t just let go. There aren’t very many of them, but the very few that make the cut are deep. They burn and they ache and I am too stubborn not to wade into the deeper waters. I seek out the places where the fire burns brightest and I jam my hand inside the flame.
I stand there with my jaw clenched, sweat pouring down my brow and refuse to utter a sound. But the echoes of silence inside my head continue to reverberate and there is no place to hide. Inside I stand in front of my accuser and nod my head as the charges are read. I am, I said and I did. I went. I was and I would…again.
I tell my son that it is time to make more than a few changes. He asks me what they are and I say…many. He says that I don’t make sense and I say that he doesn’t make money. It is a dumb joke but we laugh anyway. We like spending time together and I never forget that he is watching me. I look at him and tell him that it is time for me to get more serious about exercising and he asks if that means that I am going to play more basketball. I say no, I am going to be more conscious of my diet and going to lift weights more frequently.
I tell him that I don’t want to talk about how things used to fit me better or how life was like this or that. He nods his head and asks me to explain myself. I tell him that it is simple, “life is happening now and I don’t have time to wait.” I tell him that I feel like I haven’t been serious enough about making some changes. It is a very heavy subject and there is a lot that lies behind my words but I am not talking about that nor do I need to.
Really the lesson that I want him to learn now is to make the most of his time. I don’t want him to waste it. I don’t want him to feel ridiculous amounts of pressure either. But I feel the need to make sure that he understands how much control we have over our lives and our destiny. I want him do more than seize the day- I want him to take it by the throat and throttle it. I want him to go to bed with a huge smile and sense of satisfaction. I want him to be grateful for what he has got and thankful for what he is not.
And when the time comes to talk about these times I want to know that I did all that I could. I want to stare at the naked truth and know that I did my best. And if I have and G-d smiles upon me I’ll have that sense of peace and satisfaction I seek.