You haven’t lived until you have discussed suicide with one of your teenage children.
It is the sort of conversation you are never really prepared for and if you are like me, well you just go with your gut and wing it.
Which I suppose makes it no different than most things I do as a parent ‘cuz there are things that you always know how to respond to and stuff that makes you scratch your head.
And if you are me, well you believe there are moments to step carefully and other when you go rushing in full bore believing that if you trip and fall over the side of the cliff it won’t really matter.
Because today you are the baddest motherfucker in the valley and death knows the last thing he wants to do is have you tear that scythe out of his hands and beat him silly with it.
You don’t believe me?
Well let me assure you there is a reason the devil went to Georgia because he knew confronting me on my home turf in LA was a death sentence.
And he knew that coming for me in Texas was just as bad because all I have do is holler ‘the feds are coming for your guns’ and he’d get lit up with more gunfire than the jarheads saw in the both Gulf Wars and ‘Nam.
What Are The Rules Of The Game?
The hardest part of playing a game with no rules is you never know what moves you can or can’t make.
You don’t know what is fair and what is foul and it is hard to figure out if you have time to stop and compile a list of what you have learned because you see people racing by you at breakneck speed.
I suppose one of the benefits of learning how to dance in the fire is you build up a tolerance for certain things, not just the physical pain but the mental.
You know the one that comes from finding out that you can’t trust or rely upon some people to be there to help you through.
But if things happen for a reason maybe this is one of them because it trains you to look at things differently and take a different approach than you might have chosen.
Trains you to take the blows you didn’t think you could stand and how to walk forward.
And that is what I do, I keep moving forward.
Everything is ok, more or less, there are no dumpster fires that have to be dealt with now.
But there are…things.
Questions, challenges and issues that cannot be ignored and have to be handled.
So for the moment I feel pretty good about where things are at and confident that I can stop for a moment and survey the scene.
Still I keep my head on a swivel because I swear I can hear the thunder of hooves coming and have to decide if I want to ride out the stampede from above or see if I can run with them.
And that my friend is part of how I know G-d laughs at us.
Because 25 years ago the physical part of running was easy but the mental was hard.
Today it is reversed and I find myself pointing at the sky and asking how long I am supposed to pretend to be the baddest motherfucker in the valley.
I just want to be like Ferdinand the bull and sit in the field and read, but if I have to fight, well I guess I can do that too.
I am still good at it and I still kind of like it…maybe.
These Are The Days
I heard the closing theme to All In The Family the other day and a broad smile washed over my face.
It brought back some great memories from my childhood and reminded me that while those were definitely the days these are too.
Sometimes the kids ask me to tell them more about what happened when I first lived in Texas and I smile.
“Dad, what is it?”
“Magic, it is magic. There was magic then and only a fool would pretend not to have known or felt it.”
“Does that mean there isn’t magic now?”
“No, the magic is there but it is different now. You can’t ever step in the same river but it doesn’t make it less special. These are the days, pay attention because you’ll miss them when they are gone.”
They scrunch up their faces and I see they think they are too old for what I am saying.
“Today is special too and it is all we have, enjoy it now because tomorrow isn’t here yet. Trust me, you may not get it now, but you will.”
A couple more days and we’ll light candles for the first night of Chanukah and celebrate miracles, seen and unseen.
Miracles of legend and maybe see the beginning of those yet to become. That is how life works, there are ordinary moments and events intermixed with those that morph into extraordinary.
You don’t have to be the baddest motherfucker in the valley to know that, you just have to be the one with your eyes wide open.