In many ways I am a very simple man who has simple desires and takes great pleasure in the simple things.
Yet that hasn’t always helped me avoid getting myself enmeshed in situations that made my life more complex than necessary or helped me avoid the standard bumps in the road that come with this journey we call life.
I attribute some of it to natural curiosity and a willingness to try to walk through the cactus instead of around. I always figured a few bumps and bruises were worth experiences that couldn’t be had without pushing some limits.
Most of the time it worked and then it didn’t because I thought I had one very large cactus and discovered it was many large cacti.
Instead of turning around I chose to plow ahead figuring the time saved pulling a few needles from my body would be lost doubling back.
It would have worked except I fell face first and gained insight into what it might mean to die from a thousand paper cuts.
And in the cruelest of April fools jokes I discovered there was no way to return to an upright position without inflicting an enormous amount of pain upon my hands and feet.
All four Â were riddled full of needles.
I didn’t just scream in pain, I screamed in anger.
Smarter Men Than I
My mother says she began worrying about me as a toddler because sometimes when I got angry I would bang my head against the ground or a wall.
She says she wasn’t sure what concerned her most, a temper that led me to head butt the ground or the fact that I would get so angry with whatever I hit I would head butt it again.
Smarter men than I would have never tried to break the floor with their heads but I am happy to say I was smart enough to recognize the lack of benefits in this behavior and gave it up.
However the rules of the blog require I confess that I didn’t completely give up that sort of nonsense.
There are walls and doors that required repairs following my passage and I have torn some doors from their hinges.
Most of those tales are things that happened during the 20th century. The 21st century model you know as Jack Steiner is far more refined…until I am not. 😉
About Dad’s DNA & Bad Behavior
Whenever people ask me if I worry about pedophiles, rapist and murderers I shake my head because statistically speaking it is not real likely my kids will encounter them.
This doesn’t mean I am unconcerned or thing that bad things cannot touch my family because that would be false. Shit happens and sometimes bad shit happens and I would never say it is impossible for it to touch us.
Still I try to focus on the things that are most likely and that means when it comes to my children I have long worried more about them imitating certain traits and actions more than anything else.
I wondered and worried about whether they would want to be a stuntman and jump off of roofs, out of trees or off of their bikes.
I am not a tough guy but I have been punched in the mouth and punched other people in the mouth…more than once.
You can blame that upon a combination of sometimes having a big mouth and an unwillingness to put up with crap in school.
So I have watched and listened carefully to the stories my children tell me and tried hard to help them avoid falling face first into an enormous cactus patch like dear old dad.
Dear old dad has very few regrets but the memory of the patch hasn’t ever left me and part of me fears I have fallen back in it.
Can’t turn around, can’t double back because in this case the only way out is through.
Every now and then I stop and dare it to stand up and fight me. It would make me feel better if the incorporeal being that I feel has attacked me would show itself.
Let the smoke monster form a body and we’ll find out if it enjoys being pounded with my head and fists as much as the floor used to.
That is the kind of hero I would like to be, but heroes often fail.
Except sometimes you can’t be the kind of hero you want to be and instead become the hero your kids need you to be.
So I keep plugging away. I keep chipping away at the rocks and keep moving forward because a father does what is required.
Be LikeÂ Odysseus
When you find yourself lost in a forest or stuck in a situation you can’t quite figure out you can either give up or keep fighting.
When I get stuck I look at superheroes, favorite characters and mythology.
These are the moments where I remind myself that after the Trojan war it took Odysseus ten years to return home.
If I am not mistaken the Trojan war lasted for about a decade or so. Add those ten years to the ten it took Odyssesus to return home and you have a twenty year journey filled with a few mishaps and a bunch of adventures.
The moments where I find the frustration pushing me to want to headbutt the floor are when I think about that twenty year Odyssey and how it relates to my life.
I’ll celebrate my 11th blogiversary this May.
Eleven years ago I had no idea blogging would lead to a sea change in my life and the future I wanted to build but it did and it has.
When I look at my children and think about what sort of traits I hope they picked up from me I hope tenacity is one of them.
During a time when instant gratification is the rule of the day I hope they see some challenges can’t be overcome overnight but that if you keep chipping away you can get there.