Archives for September 2013

The Same 78% Who Share This Without Reading It Support/Oppose Obamacare

Workers

Midnight approaches and I feel a bit like one of the guys sitting on the steel girder.

The government has shut down and I want to ask what would happen if I refused to work with a coworker because I couldn’t get along with them. It goes without saying I have taught my kids that you don’t have to like everyone but that sometimes you have to work with them.

I sit here at the computer one of the uninsured because my coverage was canceled. I don’t worry about getting coverage because the reason it was canceled will be overturned on appeal.

I haven’t got any real pre-existing conditions that will prevent me from being covered because I am one of those people who knows how to write a letter and understands how to work the system. But that is shameful, wrong and disappointing. It shouldn’t be like that and I won’t accept it.

The Ignorant Fighting With The Ill-informed

This post may have political elements but I am not interested in providing a forum for the ignorant to fight with the ill-informed. Not interested in listening to people who don’t understand the law argue against it while others whose understanding isn’t any greater argue for it.

What I know is that we are almost at the time I refer to as The Thankless Thanksgiving which means it is almost time for me to rant about why I hate the term Christmas Spirit and how giving should be done all year long.

But it is hard for me to understand why we fight about taking care of our own and then I look at our government and I just shake my head. When you don’t worry about healthcare the way ordinary people do it is easy to fight and dicker. When you don’t worry about dealing with the TSA and fighting through security issues flying isn’t as much of a pain-in-the-ass.

It just reminds me about how easy it is to ignore the pain of the other.

My Good Friend J.R.R. Tolkien

Got a lot of things going on in the world at large and many more in what you call the personal. I am excited about some new things, good opportunities that I can’t pass up and sad about some of the compromises that they require.

In the midst of it all I look to the books/stories I have always loved and reach for words because I have always found comfort there. Reached into the midst and wrestled with what quotes to share with you here.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

There are many more that I want to share, that I should share, lines about courage being found in unlikely places, kissing the girl in front of many and lines that remind us that not all who wander are lost.

But instead we’ll look at the two above and remember most people live in interesting times and the only choice they receive is whether to act or react to what they encounter.

And we are also reminded that even though we might seek adventure and the danger that comes with it there is a chance it might find us. Sometimes you trip and fall onto the tracks or you get hit by the drunk driver even though you were minding your own business. Things happen. Life happens.

Sitting On a Girder

So I feel like I am sitting on a girder hundreds of miles above the ground. I am sure footed and confident about my ability to do my job and to work with the guys who are up there with me.

But sometimes when I look down the earth starts spinning a bit and I wonder if maybe I fooled myself into thinking that I wouldn’t get dizzy, feel scared or nervous.

And then I remember I have nothing to worry about because bad stuff only happens to people in the movies and to those others who aren’t lucky and or are just lazy and I am none of those, right…

She Died In My Arms

 

Sometimes I forget when and where I met Mike. I don’t know if it really matters because Mike is the best and truest friend I got. He is the only one who never leaves me and the only one who listens to all I got to say.

And believe me, I got a lot.

There used to be others. There used to be them that got my best interest in mind and those that claimed they did. I don’t remember all of their names because when you live the hard scrabble life you start to unlearn that which you once knew.

You can’t carry all them hopes and dreams you once had because they aren’t real. The streets are real, oh yeah, they are real. If you ain’t real you don’t make it for very long on the streets.

That is part of why I like Mike and why I need him. He keeps me focused. He doesn’t let me feel bad about what happened because it wasn’t my fault.

We were walking down Michigan Avenue. It was bright and sunny. She was holding my hand and she never let go. Even after that car jumped the curb and pinned her against the building she never stopped holding my hand.

I tried to pull it off of her. Tried to push it. Did everything that I could do but it didn’t matter, cuz she died anyway.

 Sleeping

 

I couldn’t save her. Couldn’t hold her and make her feel better or stop the pain. Don’t know why it hit her and not me. I was so much bigger. Why didn’t it hit me. Why did they have to take her. Why not me. She was better than I was and so much better than I am now.

She told me to stop screaming. Said that I should calm down, even as the life was running out of her and heading somewhere else she was taking care of me.

I should have protected her better. I should have seen it coming. I should have heard it. Could have done something more, I know I could have.

*****

Mike tells me that I should finish letting go and just forget. He says that there ain’t no point in thinking about her or remembering ‘cuz it only hurts us.

Mike says that it is good that I hit the driver ‘cuz he was drunk and it is his fault that we are what we are today. He says that I should be proud that it took so many people to pull me off of that guy. He says that it is good that I crippled that guy because I am crippled now.

But sometimes I don’t like it when he says it because she wouldn’t have wanted it. She would have told me it was an accident and that I should let go. But that is the thing, I did let go. That accident forced me to let go.

I ain’t who I was and haven’t been for years. Now I am just a shadow who walks the streets. Mostly I keep to myself, but sometimes people mess with me. usually I growl at them and they run away but sometimes the stupid and mean ones do more.

That is ok with me. I like stupid and mean because when I am angry I fight. And when I fight I forget about being so damn lonely.

They say that a fighter who learns to like the pain is one fight away from death or worse. I don’t fear either because I am already dead and I know what hell looks like.

Mike says that this is why I should fight because when you just don’t give a damn is when you are the deadliest. I tell Mike that it don’t matter much because we ain’t fighting for money. He laughs at me and says that it don’t matter whether we fight for money or for pride because all we has to do is win.

He says that man was born for this and that we are one step away from being animals so we might as well be who nature intended us to be.

*****

Sometimes she visits me in my dreams. She ain’t broken then and neither am I. We’re at Charlie Trotters and I can’t be happier because the prettiest girl in the world is mine. I don’t know why she picked me but I know that when she smiles at me I can be anything she wants me to be.

In my dreams she holds my hand and tells me that I got to stop fighting. She tells me that she forgives me and that I should forgive myself. Sometimes I wake up crying, but I make sure to stop that right quick because out here that is the kind of thing you can’t do.

Beside Mike won’t tolerate that. I already told you that he says that I should have done more to punish that guy. He thinks that we need to find him and finish what he started. I told Mike that don’t make no sense to me because he didn’t start nothing, but Mike just tells me to shut up.

He says that if he hadn’t started it we wouldn’t be sleeping in this alley. I says to Mike that without that I wouldn’t have met my best and truest friend, but Mike tells me to shut up. He says that I can’t forget and I can’t forgive.

*****

But she doesn’t believe that. When we dreamwalk she tells me that she still loves me and asks me to promise to take better care of myself. She says that if I stop drinking I’ll be able to think more clearly and that things will make more sense.

I always do my best to do whatever she asks because she is my girl and she deserves better than I can give. Most of the time I manage to clean up for a while. I go back to my place, shower and put on clean clothes.

It is hard though. We got a big settlement on account of that accident so I don’t have to work. She tells me that I need to say goodbye to Mike, that he is bad news.

One time I told Mike what she said and he cursed her and told me to tell the “dead bitch to fuck off.” I don’t think he expected me to get as angry as I did. No one is allowed to talk that way about her. I refused to talk to him for a week, probably would have gone longer but she didn’t dreamwalk with me and I started to get a little bit rougher around the edges.

I started to think that maybe she didn’t forgive me for not saving her. I started to think that maybe she finally realized that it was my fault for not pushing her out of the way of that car. I begged her to come back, swore that if she would forgive me I would do anything.

But she didn’t come.

So I finally gave in and told Mike I was sorry. And like every best and truest friend he forgave me. That is why I love Mike because he never left me and everyone else I loved did.

*****

Sometimes she tells me that other people still love me and that if I let them, they would come back. She says it wasn’t my fault and it is ok to forgive myself for not doing something that no one could have done, but I haven’t figured out how to do it yet.

She tells me that she remembers when I used to smile and have conversations with people. She says I was charming and that I had a way of making people feel comfortable but I tell her that she is confused because it was always her who did that.

It makes her angry when I say it and she tells me she has had it with my bad attitude and insists that I think about a party we had at out place.

I see her talking to the caterer, but when she hears me approach she turns to face me.

She is wearing a long black gown and I am wearing tails. She says it is a bit over the top and I laugh and tell her that if I am forced to dress up than I am going to do it my way.

Her lips cover mine and her hand caresses my cheek.

I hear a man’s voice thank the caterer. It must be mine, but it sounds wrong. It is deep and resonant with a different tone and cadence than now, but why should I be surprised.

That man died with her.

She is yelling at me again, telling me I don’t have to live this life, screaming at me that I am supposed to look at that guy and remember what it was like to be happy.

Her words are starting to have an impact and I am starting to think that maybe she is right. But just as I am about to ask her a question I wake up and remember she is not here, but Mike is.

*****

Mike is pissed off with me. He says I don’t listen good and that she don’t love me. He says she just wants me to be dead like her and that I got to let that dead bitch lie in her dirt box.

I want to tell him that he can’t talk about her that way. I want to say he didn’t know  her and it ain’t fair to be like that, but I don’t.

Mike is my best friend and the only one who didn’t leave me.  He is the one who looks out for me now and makes sure that no one takes advantage of us. I got to be stand up with him and not let her get in the way.

But that don’t mean I have to stop loving her or say goodbye. I just can’t tell him.

Cuz if I tell him he’ll start slapping me around again, telling me I am pathetic and weak. It ain’t true, I am anything but weak. And Mike knows that I don’t let nobody but him slap me and even then there are limits.

He knows if he pushes me too far I’ll come after him too ‘cuz I am like a dog that has been made mean. It ain’t as hard to do as people might think. Once you slip over that edge and start wandering in the darkness you learn that mean is what protects you and so you take that hard edge and make it harder.

Sometimes I wonder if Mike is jealous of her and if maybe that is why he acts like such an asshole about her. Maybe he is afraid that she might come back and I’ll leave him.

Dumb bastard tells me he don’t believe in no god, heaven or hell so I don’t know why he would be worried but people don’t do things because they are right or wrong. They just do them because they want to.

Maybe that explains why I have been drinking like I have.

*****

Been a couple of days since I ran out beer and longer since I ran out of Scotch. The fog has been lifting and I am thinking more clearly again.

Clearly is a mixed bag, because it makes it far more obvious to me how much it hurts and how badly I have slipped. I look at my notes and see that I keep mentioning that Mike doesn’t like her and that I won’t let him talk any shit about her.

It is true but I don’t know it bears repeating. Doesn’t take the edge off or make any of it easier to understand so why do I keep repeating myself.

I already know the answer. Already know that once again I am trying to make sense of the incomprehensible and that this is part of it. Don’t have to schedule time to see a therapist or go to any groups to know or understand this.

My head is pounding but I am not going to bother to look for any sort of pain killer. There is nothing here and even if there were I wouldn’t take it. This is part of my penance for not protecting her.

(Editor’s note: I started this story a while back and decided to continue it. Got a few ideas that I need to flesh out.)

The Breaking Bad Finale Hits Middle School

Some of you need to read these books.

Some of you need to read these books.

Saturday night and I am back at the computer with a glass of Bunnahabhain 12 year old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky.  I need to remember to go share that with the mighty Dad Blogger group on Facebook, but before I do I have to get in touch with Danny Brown and ask how to pronounce it.

It was a big day for my kids out on the pitch today.  My daughter scored the goal that tied the game and my son stopped the goal that would have given the other team the win.

Two separate games, two separate fields yet for me it didn’t matter because dad is in Texas and they aren’t. It reminds me of a conversation I had with some of the boys a while ago about What Happens When Nothing In Your Life Goes As You Planned It To?

At the time we were all stuck in our personal versions of hell trying to figure out how things had gone so very differently than we had expected it to, let alone planned for.

Change Is The Constant

I don’t know if I would say change is the sole constant in life but it has to be in the top five. I look back seven years at what I wrote about my son’s first day of school and compare it to the concern I felt when both of them started new schools in August of 2012.

What I do know is the conversations are starting to change and the influence of middle school is weighing more heavily upon him. There was a significant change in 6th grade that came along with a much heavier workload and far more homework but that is not what I am thinking about now.

He has adapted and figured out how to deal with it. It doesn’t feel as overwhelming to him or his parents now but what is coming at us at breakneck speed is how fast he is encountering topics and issues that I wish we didn’t have to discuss yet.

I am not talking about lock downs and school shootings. It broke my heart last year when he told me not to worry about him getting shot because he figured since he sat next to the door he could escape.

Not talking about domestic terrorism either. He knows about 9/11 and one of his teachers ran in the Boston Marathon last year (he is fine) and it hurts to know his innocence was taken there too.

No, I am more focused on sex, drugs, rock and roll and Walter White.

Walter White Hits Middle School

What I want to know is what parent allows their middle schooler to watch Breaking Bad. I love the show. I think it is excellent and I have this fantasy that during the finale someone will run around shouting it is a cookbook and that Jack and Sawyer will take Jesse back to the island.

I also have a fantasy that parents who suck at parenting won’t make my life more difficult by allowing their children to watch shows that they shouldn’t watch.

If you are among those readers who don’t know where I stand let me clarify some things for you.

  • I don’t believe all beliefs are equal. Some ideologies are superior to others.
  • I believe in teaching our kids how to deal with failure. It doesn’t mean we destroy their self-esteem but it doesn’t mean we wrap them up in bubble wrap so they can’t ever get hurt either.
  • It is not only ok but important to say no.
  • Vaccinate your damn kids.
  • Monitor what they watch and listen to. There are some things that they truly aren’t mature enough to deal with. Let them be kids, protect their innocence.
  • Any boy who cannot defeat me in single combat is not allowed to date my daughter.

How About That Scotch

The boys and I are due to get together to hang out soon. Don’t know if it will be for coffee, lunch or a poker game. We’ll sit down and catch up on things and we’ll talk about the changes and how hell seems to have been handled and overcome.

We’ll look around the table and make cracks about how fat, bald and or old each other looks and then we’ll smile. And somewhere in the midst of it we’ll do the math and make some comment about how we have been doing this for almost 30 years now.

And the collective life experience there will be the reminder and the reason that when things change we don’t flip out because good or bad we know they will change again.

“Golden Slumbers, Fill Your Eyes”

Sky Walker

It is 6:15 in Texas, another Friday night spent alone so I am here with coffee mug in hand injecting copious amounts of caffeine into my veins.

In a short time I will be on the treadmill pretending I look athletic and graceful instead of large, lumbering beast of a man. A video on YouTube is playing  some cuts off of Abbey Road (Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End) and I am lost in the  words and thoughts about people and places far and near.

Once there was a way,
To get back homeward.

Once there was a way
To get back home.

Sleep, pretty darling,
Dot not cry
And I will sing a lullaby.”

Lost in thought more lyrics drift by and I wonder how many other people have been caught by them. My mind says, “it is The Beatles man, millions have done or are doing what you are right now.”

“Boy, you’re gonna carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time
Boy, you’re gonna carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time”

In the midst of my reverie some guy who sounds like me reminds me of potential legal ramifications of including lyrics in my posts. I turn in my seat ready to discuss the intricacies of fair use and to make a claim for for why I should be allowed to do so but the voice that argues with me is inside my head so there is really no need to turn at all.

Mindless or Mindful Wanderings About The Evolution of Pop Culture

I think I saw Parenthood on a date, but I really don’t remember. I know it came out in 1989 and that I still thought of Ron Howard as Ritchie Cunningham or Opie. Definitely wasn’t a director in my mind.

Anyhoo, a few weeks ago while channel surfing I came across it and watched a big chunk of the movie. Thought about how sad it was that the scene below wasn’t very funny anymore because it had transitioned from outrageous to possible.

I played around with devoting an entire post to the topic. Read the top part of this post and thought about how the first part seems kind of weak to me and that I could strengthen the post by deleting all that.

And then I decided to keep it because I write first for me and then for you.  I wanted to keep the first section because there is something worth saving there and when I thought about what is worth saving I remembered my Big Wheel.

Thought about what would happen if I could go back in time and preserve my favorite toys. What would happen if I could go back and keep them forever.

Wondered if memory makes them seem sweeter or if I really was that cool. Man, I rode my Big Wheel everywhere, sometimes I miss it.

When you find the right thing to ride you never want to let go.

Music Moves The Morning

Jousting

The mix of pleasure and pain, profound and insightful drives me forward. You might not hear, see or feel what I do here.

Fact is I don’t expect you to catch the whiff of memory in the songs or be able to follow me as I race off into the dark after them, knowing that I can never quite catch them.

But I run after them because there in the ether are smoky trails that lead me into memories of such joy and show glimpses of what is lying around the bend.

Visions of a time when the current doesn’t tear us apart but instead pulls us together. It is a brief moment in time, a blip on a screen and a chance to take care of things that have to be done alone and apart not because of cruelty but reality.

Because the reality says these steps have to be taken care of before you can round first base and make your way to second. It is nothing but one more step in building the foundation that has to be created so that the building can not just stand, but withstand all that will come at it.

And that is ok because there are memories in the moments that sustain us because the remind us of what was, what is and what will be provided we hold fast.

The Voice- The Moody Blues

Tuesday Afternoon

Where The Streets Have No Name- U2

I love L.A. – Randy Newman

Come Live With Me – Ray Charles

Nashville – No one will ever love you