I never figured out how solve a Rubik’s cube, at least not based upon the instructions.
You took that cube of many colors and twisted it so that each side went from being a single uniform color to a jumble of colors.
The goal was to restore it to uniform color per side by twisting and turning it back but it wasn’t as simple as that sound.
It was a puzzle and required some careful thought and as a 14 year-old boy my patience was limited for that particular item.
I could do two sides without much trouble and got three down a bunch of times, but beyond that I never did progress.
Sometimes I watched others solve it, but I never let them show me exactly how they did it because if I solved it I wanted to do it myself.
The Middle School Love Song Writer
There was a time when I was in between jobs and feeling lost because I couldn’t get an interview and the few I did get were for dead end positions that didn’t want me either.
A unending moment in time where I sometimes would get in my car and drive for hours with no destination in my mind but this crazy idea that I would find something.
Some days there was a destination in mind, a local coffee house where I’d hang out with a friend who was in the same position and we’d do our best to prop each other up.
“If I can’t find something soon I am going to have to create my own job.”
“Oh yeah, what are you thinking of doing?”
“I am going to be a middle school love song writer.”
“Do you know how to read or write music?”
“Nope, but I think I should be able to cobble together some lyrics that love sick middle schoolers might like. All I need is for them to whine at their parents or grandparents for a couple of Shekels and I’ll be on my way.”
Later on when I have too much time to do nothing but not enough to do anything I’ll throw a few lines on a page and almost be impressed with myself.
Almost because just when I think maybe I came up with something I realize it is way too close to one of my favorite Springsteen songs.
A Thousand Lifetimes Later
A thousand lifetimes later I sit in the back of a room waiting for a lecture to start.
I am a stranger here and don’t really know anyone and the dude who kidded around about being a middle school love song writer thinks this feels like being in school again.
Being new is a mixture of exciting and scary because when no one knows you there is an opportunity to write a new story and that is cool, but kind of scary too.
A tall brunette walks to the front of the room and provides the introduction to the lecture and though I am listening to her speak my mind does wander back to my school days.
That is because she is very attractive and I think about how in middle school I wouldn’t have known how to respond to that kind of thought and probably would have done something stupid.
High school wouldn’t have presented that sort of response, but even though I would have been comfortable with it I would not have said anything.
Can’t say exactly what I would have done in college because given the right moment I would have been comfortable walking up to her to say she looked stunning, but only if I felt I could pull it off without her thinking it is a line.
Back in present time none of that matters and part of me finds it funny to think about how I’ll remain silent as I did when I was in high school albeit for very different reasons.
Now if only I could take that high school feeling and use it to bring my back my high school metabolism.
Bad Driver’s License Pictures
The night before I went to get a Texas driver’s license one of my friends told me I ought to take a really bad picture.
“Close your eyes or scrunch up your face when they take the shot. It’ll be fun, those photos aren’t supposed to be good.”
I laugh and tell them that ought to work well because if ever there is a manhunt for me the police will be looking for the guy with the half closed eyes and stupid look on his face.
“They’ll never catch me, as long as I use my usual smile and keep my eyes wide open.”
Since it is a regular phone call he can’t see the ridiculous face I am making but I laugh anyway. That is part of the dad creed, you must laugh at your own jokes…hard.
When I finally receive the hard copy of my new license I look at the photo and almost choke on my drink.
It is awful.
The funny thing is I didn’t try to take a bad shot but it happened anyway.
I didn’t realize how thick my beard was or how the lack of hair on top of my head accentuated the beard.
Stick me in a cabin on a mountainside somewhere, Grizzly Wilner at your service.
The bad photo irks me for a moment and then Grizzly Wilner thinks about that Rubik cube and wonders if maybe he ought to buy a new one.
Something about not having solved it way back when gnaws a little bit at the back of my mind, maybe it is time for me to finish that.
Or maybe not.
As I throw the first load of Sunday laundry into the washer I think again about that middle school love song writer job and laugh.
If I went to career day at the kids’ schools that is precisely the kind of job they’ll want their father to have.
And then I laugh again because the dad creed must be obeyed regardless of whether you are alone or with others.