Friday, March 24, 2006

Death Of A Dream - Or The Risks Of Living Vicariously

My friend Eddie. Oh my poor friend Eddie.

Eddie loves Duke basketball. All during football season he gets ragged, not only because he is an ardent "Ole Miss Supporter" (notice I said "supporter" instead of the typically used noun FAG-GIT, which is French for homo) and well, Duke football isn't just anything to write home about anyway.

So all hope is put upon the healthy shoulders of smart white kids that can shoot the rock, and Duke lost. To LSU, the arch-enemy of all things Ole Miss.

So today I am actually sad for my friend Eddie.

Hence the title of this post.

I have somehow out-grown the importance of athletic competition that I am not part of. I'm not sure when or how that occured, but it did. One day I just woke up and didn't care anymore if USM won or lost. I don't care if the Dallas Cowboys even play anymore. And the Saint's - well that's a long suffering unpassion.

But I still remember the days when I would get a stomach ache before the USM - MSU game in Jackson. How I would schedule my entire social calendar around the athletic events.

Now, when I go, it's just to visit, eat and drink. Mostly drink, I think.

But today I am sad for my friend Eddie. I love "Little E" and hope that one day he will be able to push away from the table and realize that it really is only a game.

But then again, maybe it's not.

Who am I to judge?

So everyone, please be nice to Eddie in his period of mourning.

And after that, you can go back to giving him shit real soon!


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Learning Life - One Day At A Time

We are confined in our understanding of other human beings by what we know about ourselves.

How's that for perspective?

We can only see others as they run through the filter of our own expectations.

This is truly one of my favorite subjects in the world because I live with this every day. Each of us "expects" things from those in our lives and our satisfaction with those people relates to how well they meet our expectations.

I have always been one of those that pays attention to life. Maybe not learning from things I see but certainly actively involved in the observation. It's my favorite sport!

So many things in life are inevitable (he says as he prepares to file taxes). Death and taxes, right?

Experience with death has taught me that nothing is forever. If there is something you want to say to someone, please say it now. Say it loud.

If you love someone (I love you Paige, OH MY GOD DO I LOVE YOU) tell them. If you are proud of your children, tell them.

If your boss is an asshole, you may want to keep that to yourself until you make sure your lottery ticket is a winner.

I never fear loss because all I can do is what I am called to do and if loss is involved in that, well there's not much I can do.

What I came to fear in my own life was a willingness to accept what life gave me instead of striving for what I wanted in life.

So it may seem like I am speaking from a place a little too high up there, but the truth is that I dwelled in the valley far too long.

And I made it. I reached for the stars and pulled one down. And it only took me 43 years to do it.

From the day we are born, we are given a life to be lived and the potential for the love to live it with. We really don't get a second chance for that stuff so I would encourage each person to grab all of it they can.

My hands are full.

I'm so happy.


If Reality TV Is At The Door, Don't Answer It!

I was doing a little male-oriented channel surfing last night and came across yet another reality television show called "The Housewives of Orange County" or something like that.

Very bizarre.

And yet I watched. Which says something about someone, I guess..............

I am constantly amazed at what they put on television. This show was about some rich people and what they do. I don't guess it's much different that what lots of us do on a daily basis, but the thought of people with cameras following you around daily has to make you go "why me"?

Have you ever considered what it would look like if there were cameras around to record your day?

Frightening thought, isn't it?

Get up, hock a loogey, pee, fart, make all kinds of disgusting noises as you try to clear your head from the previous day's accumulations. Shower, drink coffee, say the dumbest things, beat the dog, get in your car and go to work.

What would that look like on television?

Then as you interacted with your children and they recorded all the nasty things you say about other people.

I can't stop wondering what it would be like to see yourself "cartoonized". Where no one really knows you and can only judge you by the things you say and do.

So today, I am vowing to never ever answer the door if the reality t.v. people show up and knock.

I just don't want to see it.

I guess if I need my fix of other's misery, I'll just channel surf later tonight. I'm sure there will be something on.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What Is Your Favorite Curse Word And Why Did St. Peter Just Say It?

I love watching the actor's studio show on BRAVO. That James Lipton, wow is he energetic......

OK, so maybe not.

But the show is insightful and probing. He somehow lulls the participants into some sort of mind control trance which he probably appropriated on the trip back to his home planet and they end up answering all of his questions in interesting ways.

Then he gets to the end and he asks the two most looked forward two questions on the planet.

#1: What is your favorite curse word and why?

#2: Assuming there is a Heaven, what do you want to hear St. Peter say upon your arrival?

And since I have been cussing lots today and somehow thinking about either dying myself (very doubtful) or killing someone (kind of likely) I thought I would try to answer those and invite you to respond with your own.

(Paige..........Sweetie..............this means you may have to respond in this blog.)

My favorite cuss word is FUCK. There, I said it. FUCK, FUCK, FUCK, FUCK. It can be used as a noun or a verb or an adjective or even an adverb. It can be a southern conjunction and it can, even in the worst of times, be con-jew-gated.

How can you not love a word like that?

And as far as the St. Peter thing is concerned. I'm thinking what I will hear is this: "You were just like me". "Always boasting and being loud so no one could possibly miss you". "Always raising your hand and volunteering to do things yourself because you didn't want to ask for help".

Um, well, sir...........(as I clear my throat and shuffle my feet).

"Shut up, I'm not finished and I didn't tell you to speak anyway". "Well I'm glad to see that you finally got yours and now here you stand in front of me".

I'm not sure what to say, sir.

"Damn you, I've already told you to shut up - how many times do I have to say it before you get it through your thick skull"?

"Anyway, before you spend eternity pondering your mistakes there is only one really important thing I want to tell you".


I look forward to hearing from you.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Alive And Well And Living In Paradise

How do we define ourselves?

There are so many variables that it's really not a fair question. I guess the best way to approach this is to say how we we WANT to define ourselves and then set about figuring out how to do that.

I am a man, a boss, a father, a lover, a believer, an umpire, a philosopher, a chef, a laborer, a tone-deaf musician, a historian, a swimmer (ex), a friend, a mentor, a leader, a follower.

This list could go on forever.

So how do I see myself?

Wow, that has changed over the years. I guess the best place to start is to say that it's been quite a long time since I have tried to control my circumstances so the outcome would be in my favor.

I used to factor in all of the variables to a problem and then go about implimenting the procedures to make sure that I had the best chance of the outcome I wanted. How much creative output was needed to force events into my template? Lots.

Now I try to take it as it comes and deal with it like that. And you can't imagine how much pressure that takes off of a boy by doing that.

I find that in my private life I am safe and secure in the knowledge that I love and am loved. And if you really think about it, isn't that just the most important thing? What other deep yearings are more important that that? None.

To be at a place in your life where your basic emotional needs are met simply by being who you are is amazing and I choose to celebrate that fact as often as I can. I rejoice in the fact that no matter what else is going on in my life, I can always walk in the door and be completely accepted for who I am and be at peace.

So with that said, I guess it doesn't matter how I define myself anymore. So today I am completely satisfied with where I am - knowing that where I have been is in the past and what I have to look forward to is in the future - so for today, I am just me - and that's good enough for this boy.

I pray this for you too.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been

I've had an amazing week.

Like I said, a boy could get used to this!

But it got me thinking about the nature of happiness. What is it that brings us happiness? Is it who we are, or what we are doing, or how we are feeling?

So many variables..............

As I look back on the first half of my life, it's hard to put my finger on happiness because we are so busy with all of the things that we think we need to do in order to fit into society. It seems that happiness is not really a byproduct of where we are or what we are doing.

I guess, as human beings, we are all guilty of coveting our neighbors __________ (you fill in the blank). We have a remarkable ability to project ourselves on to the imprint of others as we see them. How many times have we said to ourselves "if only I could be where so and so is, then I would be happy". Or maybe, "if I was as successful as him, then I could have the time and energy to do all of those things I want to do".

But the truth is that happiness is elusive and if you ever find the key to what makes you happy you had better hang on with your arms and legs wrapped firmly around that thing that makes you happy. My experience tells me that happiness is not a destination but a way of looking at things that somehow has the ability to sacrifice self to a greater good.

I have come to the place in my life where happiness is truly abundant and I find that I can't wait to get out of bed and see what today brings.

So today, I pray for you to not only find, but to recognize the simple things in life that bring you joy so that you too can look forward to what life throws your way.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Worn Down And Frazzled

Well - it's over. Bike Week. Daytona Beach, FL. 800,000 bikers in one place that comfortably holds 50,000. 18 deaths. 6 births. Many beers consumed.

My yearly nod to debachery.

And I'm so very tired.

It seems that the older you get, the harder it is to perform. No, not like that - but to ride the motorcycle 600 miles and get up and do all the stuff and then ride it back all in four days.

I swear I feel like I have been beaten with a stick. But this too shall pass.

I had a good time seeing all the sights. Nothing too bizarre, just the regular biker stuff. You will never see a more amazing cornicopia of motorcycles in all your life. Things that look like something from a Buck Rogers show.

Of course, the girls in string bikini's that serve beer don't hurt either!

All in all it was a good trip. I got to spend some quality time with people I love. But on the trip home all I could think of was hurrying up. I cut an hour off the return trip simply by putting the hammer down. I think it was only 45 minutes back from Mobile to Hattiesburg. Not a bad leg!

And as I pulled up at home, I was reminded of why I was hurrying. She was waiting in the front yard with her eyes full of love and concern.

It makes a boy never want to leave again.

The road may truly go on forever - but I know that I don't have to be on it anymore unless I choose to.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Time Waits For No One

Another great weekend. A boy could get used to this!!!

Friday night was spent in Baton Rouge where we went with my cousins and some of thier friends to Tigertown - a very devoluted series of college bars by LSU. We went to hear a band that they are friends with.

Now I love live music and attend often. But it has been a while since I have been in the college environment.


Like the Eagles said: You can never go back!

I guess when you have kids in college, college kids look like, well, kids. I'm sure I looked like a kid in college - when I was in college. But I felt like an "old guy" on Friday night.

It was funny to watch them work. To try to pick up girls. To try to be "cool". All of those rights of passage that we have been through with for forever and day.

The music was OK. But the scene was something straight out of my memory. But for once, I was just an observer instead of a participant.

I did enjoy watching my lady dance some. She is amazing. White girls shouldn't have that much rhythm. I also notice several of the college boys looking at her, which always makes me proud.

Anyway, before the lights came on and the "pairing up" started, we cut out.

I was dismayed to see that it was 2am.

So yea, I got up at first light as usual. Isn't it amazing how no matter what time I go to bed, that I wake up when the sun comes up? I hate that. I used to could sleep till noon. Oh well. I guess that's the price of awareness!!! So I go to the grocery store and buy stuff for breakfast. I have to fix a big breakfast in Baton Rouge. I did eggs with caramelized ham, creole sauce and green chili cheese grits. Oh yea, and don't forget the cheese and onion buns that were toasted to perfection.

It wasn't long before everyone was up and eating.

Then we took our leave - but before we left town I wanted to take my fair lady to the Whole Foods Market so she could experience that unique grocery store. It was amazing. I watched her walk around as if she didn't know where to start! We spent over an hour just looking in there but we had to leave before I had to get a loan to pay for what we picked up!

We got home in time to get ready to go out to the pig pickin' we were having out in the country. A small intimate affair for about 60 people. The pig came out of the ground about 4pm and everyone ate and ate and ate.

It was a good crowd and I got to do my favorite thing - watch my lady work. She's amazingly funny in a crowd. Well actually, she's amazingly funny with just the two of us - but I do so like to watch her work.

And Sunday was a day of rest and relaxation. Or at least it was supposed to be. I ended up rushing here and there trying to take care of stuff. It got done. But it was more rushed than relaxed. There is a lesson in there for me. I am paying attention, too.

But anyway, it was a good weekend and I am somewhat refreshed. I live, I love, and I am happy - what more can I ask for?

Bike Week in Daytona right now. I'm planning on going sometime this week. Hopefully I'll have some stories from there for next week. But until then -

God Bless.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Happy Friday - Hard Rain's a-Comin'

Well, it's the third day of Lent and I can honesty say that the fasting has clarified some things.

It's amazing to me that when you supress some things that there are always others that pop up to occupy your mind.

I have decided to not watch the news for a while. It's deeeeppppprrrrreeeeessssssssing. I look at what our country is doing all over the world and I wonder who has their hand on the button.

And I know that I lean a little leftward because I believe in personal freedom and accountability and I believe in righteousness. But jeez. Everyone in the world is laughing at us and I can't really blame them.

1963 was the year. Bob Dylan was musing about life. This was before we become "engaged" in Vietnam. This was before JFK and our dreams were cut down. And as the most prolific observer in the history of observers he noted the problems we faced in his words.

It seems not much has changed - and yet it had to - didn't it?

Oh, where have you been my blue-eyed son
Oh, where have you been my darling young one
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you see my blue-eyed son
Oh, what did you see my darling young one
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin'
I saw a whitle ladder all covered with water
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

And what did you hear my blue-eyed son
And what did you hear my darling young one
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin'
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
Heard one hundred drummers who hands where a-blazin'
Heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin'
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin'
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

Oh, who did you meet my blue-eyed son
Oh, who did you meet my darling young one
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I men one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

Oh, what'll you do now my blue-eyed son
Oh, what'll you do now my darling young one
I'm a-goin' back out before the rain starts a-fallin'
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest dark forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner's face is alwasy well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect if from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'
But I'll know my song well before I start singin'
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Protest song? Social commentary? Hungry bard shouting at the wind?

Who knows? I don't. All I know is that truth is true. It always has been and it always will be. So as I fast during Lent and turn my heart towards things eternal I am praying for our country.

I find that our responsibility as the world's leader should put us out front in doing what is right and not just what is in our interest. We're making deals for nuclear stuff in India and threatening Iran. We're superimposing our values on the Iraqi people where they don't necessarily need them. There are thousands dying each day in Africa while we stand mute.

Therefore no news for me for a while.

There is so much good in our world. So many miracles that occur each day and yet we stand like deer trapped in the headlights looking for the next catastrophie to happen. We have become desenthisized to misery and we hold our compassion for ourselves and those closest to us.

Every game has turned political to the point where the rules we make for ourselves are thinly veiled to make sure that we can do what we want to do and still have that be within the rules.

Please vote. I don't care who you vote for but I would love to see each person vote for someone that has never been in office and just see what could happen if we started over.

Please don't push your own views and make everyone who disagrees with you stand outside and look in. Why can't we be more inclusive? Why isn't there room at the table for everyone?

Jesus was Jewish, wasn't he?

Oh hell..........
If my thought-dreams could be seen -
They'd probably put my head in a guillatine

I live a blessed life. I've truly got it all but I'm not naive enough to believe that it's because I deserve it. I'm lucky and because of that it's important that I go and return some of that to those that don't have it.

I think I'll start today. Why don't you join me.

Have a great weekend. I will!!