“You’re a demonrat and that means you ought to die.”
I stare at the message, smile and write back a brief message.
“I am the scourge of Cleveland, devourer of souls of the demented, deranged and delusional and am on the 69th stage of grief. I would eat yours and your heart but you have neither so my hunger continues unabated. I ache.”
“Screw you demonrat, I am an American and I hope you die.”
“Congratulations Bubba, the doc says I am terminal. Your hate will snuff out my flame for certain.”
A short time later another message pops up, “I hope you are ok, even if you’re politics suck.”
I don’t answer, let him wonder what the hell is going on with me. Maybe it will ignite the flames of compassion.”
He doesn’t know me from Adam and I don’t know him either. I am ok with that, but I am not ok with lots of other things.
It Burns, Burns, Burns
For a while dad left my dreams alone but lately he and my grandfathers walk the halls of the house I grew up in.
They call out to me and I answer.
I find them at the kitchen table talking or sometimes standing in the backyard smoking cigars.
Sometimes I am 49 and sometimes I am 5, 7 or 12.
At some point they always go where I can’t follow but that never stops me at whatever age I am in the dream.
I tore the doors of my old bedroom off of the hinges and ran through the pocket door of the old small bathroom.
Climbed the tree in the backyard and walked onto the roof as I once did but my efforts were for naught.
Doesn’t take a shrink to understand what is happening in my dreams, I get it. I understand.
Sometimes I am sad and sometimes I am angry. It is never all of one or nothing of another. There are lots of times where I smile and laugh and the day is like every other day.
But there are moments where something or someone tests my patience and fury shows itself.
At my last doctor’s appointment doc took my blood pressure, looked at me and said I am good at hiding what is going on.
“I am not hiding anything. I am working through this. It is just going to take some time.”
Some of the fellas joined this club before I did and have reached out.
We talk about what it feels like and what it means. They say I sound no different than they were and I nod my head.
I am not worried about this being the way things are forever. It is just going to take some time.
That “take some time” is my father’s expression.
I don’t have to close my eyes to see/hear it or to hear my grandfathers say similar things.
The writing and the trips to the gym help take the edge off a bit but they don’t stop me from feeling the tick-tock of the clock or the whisper that says “bear down or the doc will cut your leg off too.”
The Goal Doesn’t Require A Roadmap
I pull up my 401k on the computer and look at my investment mix and try to figure out if it is working as well for me as I want it to.
Today the market is strong and there is growth but I probably can’t retire for another 20 years so I need to be somewhat conservative in anticipating what I might have then.
The idea of having to work for another 20 years doesn’t thrill me but even if I had the cash to retire now I don’t know what I would do.
I have some ideas that I have played around with a bit but I haven’t dug in yet.
“What happens if your lifespan more closely resembles dad’s than your grandparents?”
The whisper in my head doesn’t need to see me shrug my shoulders to know I have done so. Seventy-five percent of my grandparents lived into their nineties.
Hell, I think my maternal grandfather would have made it to 100 if grandma hadn’t died, he just got tired of living without her.
So if I retire around 70 I could have another quarter century of life with ease. I like that idea, especially if I am healthy.
But if I more closely tied to dad’s time roaming this blue marble I have 26 years. I don’t want to get four or five years of retirement.
That is not enough time to ease into it and figure out what I want to do.
So I need to step up my game a bit and figure out how to make it work.
That is one goal.
The second goal doesn’t require a roadmap and I don’t think I could create one even if I wanted to.
There are too many variables and too many outside influences. Too many things I can’t control or ensure they go my way.
All I have is a gut feeling and a sense that if I follow my north star it will lead me home.
Some days are harder than others. Some days I ache and wonder but I still make like Tammi and Marvin, ‘ain’t no mountain high enough’ I keep going and figure that I’ll figure it out as I go.
I am good at that, I was born for the storm and dancing in the fire.
And most importantly, I have a finely tuned bullshit detector. It doesn’t work with or on much, but what it does…Well it does well.
Neighbor tells me she is happy to know that Beto can’t win because god is on her side. I flash her the same smile that still makes my sisters wonder what I have done.
It has the desired effect.
She tries to tell me why her side is superior and I cut her off.
“Did you just say your side?”
“Yes I did.”
“So those who don’t believe as you do aren’t Americans?”
“No, they are Americans but they aren’t Patriotic Americans.”
She looks at me and I can see her struggle to figure out whether she ought to be embarrassed.
“Don’t make that face at me.”
“I am not making a face, I am just thinking.”
“What are you thinking?”
“About the similarities between patriotic and idiotic. Try saying that 10 times out loud.”