A Man Falls Into a Hole…

“This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out.
“A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.
“Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on
“Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.'”

Aaron Sorkin


Today, I’m Nero; Let it Burn.

It’s early in the morning and I’d like to turn on the TV. Ultimately though, that would lead to the national news and their dreaded panels or the local news where I would learn whose tractor flipped over or how the local chess team did. Other than that, it’s commercials about erectile dysfunction, Flo selling insurance or someone reminding me of how I should be feeling about an issue, which is frustrating and annoying. Keeping an opinion to yourself, is apparently a “cop out” in today’s world.

I get it though, we are in trouble. As a society, we’ve actually ground to a halt; paralyzed. The media, the people, the politicians; it’s either “this way or that”. Compromising, which used to be an act of meeting in the middle, is now seen as “giving in”; failing to get your way or “selling out” your cause. We are inundated daily with opinions and being forced to choose a side; and that side had better agree with the “popular” position or you will suffer certain backlash from their group. Well today, I’ll be Nero while Rome burns. If me not engaging in this mess matters that much, then burn baby,  burn, we’ll rebuild again tomorrow.

I don’t feel like turning on the TV or fighting with those who disagree with whatever position I have or don’t have and I definitely don’t care whether the chess team won or lost. Today, I don’t want to hear your opinion and tomorrow’s not looking too good either. However, erectile dysfunction is something to ponder, as I am getting older, so I might need to watch that commercial again.

No, I think I’ll just read a good book this morning and watch the sunrise. We’re still allowed to do that, right?


Aging, Writing

Of Fathers and Sons

Recently, I came across a picture of my father and me.  It was the last time I saw him.  It was around 2012.  Even then unfortunately, I knew how this story would end.IMG_9901

My father’s demons were his everyday companion, always ready and eager to steal from him any joy or happiness that he might find.  They had arrived early in his life and they were with him until the end.  That end came a year ago this October and he died in the worst way.  He was alone.

Life had been cruel to him this last couple of years.  My sister passed away and he began to unravel.  He made choices that drove people away, choices that ultimately ended his life.  His family lovingly tried, some more than others, to save him from himself.  Ultimately the choice was his and he was tired.  His demons and the alcohol were unrelenting.

I wasn’t always there for him.  I didn’t want to be. Though I was his only son, I was most likely also one of his many demons.  He desperately wanted our relationship to be different.  A father and his son, but his drinking was getting worse and I was unwilling to endure his temper, his pain, his life.  We were different and it was easier to stay away.  I was not part of the loving family that surrounded him, my Aunt, Uncles, Cousins, Step-Mother and Sisters were.  In the end, I was hundreds of miles away when my Step Sister told me that he was gone.

I now find myself reflecting on the last 10 years of our relationship.   It is filled with distance and quick phone calls.  He was always there for me but I was not for him. I made that choice.  I’ll live with that choice.  I accept that I could not have saved him, but it would have eased my conscience to have tried.   I am thankful for those that did what I was unwilling to do.

I have his laugh and I miss him.  I am slowly learning to appreciate what I once resented.  He made mistakes, he was human and he was my father.   In the end, we failed each other, him early and me later.   He is gone now and his demons with him.  He now lives peacefully in the memory of those who knew him and those who loved him.