Got Springsteen playing all night long and could share a host of different songs with you. Guarantee a few of you will look at the selection and try to figure out if I am sending hidden messages in them.
Maybe I am and maybe I am not.
What do two big hands feel like when they are wrapped in thick hair and what does it mean when you see 450 pounds of almost 50 year-old walking off into the distance.
Might mean everything and it might mean nothing but the answers never come if those who keep their own counsel never let their guard down.
I know from experience what it means to build the wall and keep it bigger, stronger and harder to circumvent than old Donnie Divisive could ever imagine.
And like my biblical namesake I know how to tear those motherfuckers down. Sometimes it is by brute strength and sometimes it is by far easier means.
Sometimes you hold out out your hand and say maybe you ought to trust me.
Maybe the 450 pound beast walks the other direction because it is just easier or maybe it is fear. Maybe it is a combination of many things.
You never do know and you never realize it can be just at scary to get what you were looking for because now you face a different reality.
An 18 year-old boy discovered his father sleeping on the floor and made a point wake him up.
“Go sleep in your room…dad.”
The old man stared at him and said nothing.
“That is the look you give when you are trying to scare people and I am not scared. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
The old man laughs, “more than one person has told me recently they aren’t scared of me.”
“Old man, sometimes you don ‘t make sense.”
For a moment the old man holds the eye contact of the 18 year-old and then he speaks softly.
“Sometimes you have to take a chance and trust people. Got to go with your gut and let people have the chance to pleasantly surprise you. Sure, some will disappoint you but others will thrill you with what they do.”
“Ew, I don’t want to hear that from you.”
“I wasn’t referring to what you think I was. I haven’t any problem being direct. Speaking of which, some conversations are far better when you can look people in the eye and see their reaction, figure out if the electricity is there or not.”
“Dad! I don’t want to hear more.”
“There are no more details. Give me your hand and help me up.”
The 18 year-old has no sense yet of how much physical strength he has or how much easier it is to let him help move from horizontal to vertical.”
There is a moment flashing through my head, I am at the Rehab facility with dad.
He can’t walk very well because his legs have declared mutiny, but the PT guy tells me he thinks dad can get it back.
“Your dad has a lot of physical strength, his arms are strong enough to help hold him up, we just need to work on the rest.”
A short time later mom arrives at the joint and we do what families do in these situations. In between the talk about the present and thoughts about the past dad spills water on his shirt.
Mom wants to put a dry shirt on him and dad protests, “it is water, I’ll dry off.”
Mom isn’t having that and insists I help her help him change shirts.
Dad rolls his eyes at me and leans forward as best he can. As I pull him the rest of the way he grabs a hold of me and I discover his arms feel as strong as ever.
The motor skills might be off slightly, but if he tried to prevent me from pulling away it wouldn’t be easy.
It is a bittersweet memory because it gave me hope. The old man had ample strength in his arms and if he had that much, well maybe Mr. Cancer would be the next disease to get his ass kicked by Old Man Wilner.
He had fooled the docs so many times.
I had heard more than a couple of stories about times they said he wasn’t going to come out of the hospital, but he always did until he didn’t.
Sometimes people ask for an explanation about what I said or didn’t say.
“Joshua, I know what you are trying to say so why not just say it.”
I shake my head and tell them they may not know as much as they think they do. They may assume they recognize a reference to particular moment but it doesn’t mean that is what I meant or intended.
Some moments aren’t ever addressed here and some are. Some intentionally and some in passing but not with a particular goal,
The bottom line for me is always the same, to have experiences where I think of them the way Walt wrote.
Maybe it is an August day from years past or maybe it is some other moment.
You never do know when the ordinary becomes extraordinary but you figure out pretty quickly who might help be a part of that.
Sometimes you tell them they are acting like a fool and shake your head. Sometimes you say nothing because maybe you’re the fool.
In the quiet of the night you close your eyes and think about shared experience and those who have been to hell and back with you.
Maybe when you think of them they are thinking of you. Or maybe it is like the Far Side cartoon where the boy wonders if the girl is thinking about him and you see her in the next panel saying she thinks she likes chocolate ice cream.
Life is a funny ride and at times a bit fickle, but if you can say fuck it and open yourself up to possibility, sometimes opportunity comes too.