The 25 year-old at the gym tells me he is impressed by how I throw the iron around and I give him a wry smile.
I am not built for grace but brute strength and destruction…those come easily to me. Doesn’t require much effort to begin to see results in how much I can lift and though I take pride in it there is not much to say about it.
Raw strength has its limits and as I mention to the kid most of us discover that years of running into and through things catches up with us and you begin to recognize there isn’t a prize for refusing to take Ibuprofen.
These discoveries are highlighted by little things and if you haven’t figured it out there is no joy in falling down the stairs. Nor is there any pleasure in slamming into a glass door that you somehow missed seeing.
Mystery aches and pains underscore a desire to explore taking Yoga or at least doing something that will help with making the shell worn by the soul less battered and worn.
Someone once accused me of being a base scoundrel and I shook my head, I am not a base scoundrel, I am a different sort of scoundrel.
Told someone more than once to try not to get lost in my hug and said it is not bragging if you can back it up.
When I heard an old friend’s father died this past Wednesday it triggered a bunch of things inside me, none of which surprise me. Between that and picking out tombstones there was plenty to move things along.
I won’t tell him that he was lucky to celebrate his 50th birthday with a father who was above ground because there is no benefit to anyone. It won’t make me feel better and I don’t want him to feel worse.
All I am doing here is acknowledging the thought.
Right after my own dad died I had a long talk with a friend whose dad died when he was in third grade so if we play the compare game there is always someone else.
So I just acknowledge the continued long strange trip and the 98,282,292 questions I didn’t think to ask before the hard stop.
“I choose to love you in silence…
For in silence I find no rejection,
I choose to love you in loneliness…
For in loneliness no one owns you but me,
I choose to adore you from a distance…
For distance will shield me from pain,
I choose to kiss you in the wind…
For the wind is gentler than my lips,
I choose to hold you in my dreams…
For in my dreams, you have no end.”
There is a running log of questions and comments about my home city and state.
My daughter tells me how some classmates provide commentary about who they think we are and where come from. I nod my head, listen carefully and occasionally provide facts she can use to cut their ignorant remarks off at the knees.
“Say XYZ and when they respond ask them if they prefer to prove their ignorance by saying the equivalent of the ‘earth is flat’ and hold fast. Demand they support their allegations and they’ll crumble.”
It is not fool proof but it works for her old man and maybe for her too.
Even those who have visited aren’t experts. They know bits and pieces some of which might be of exceptional accuracy and some of which might be colored by lack of details/context.
Listened to stories of a recent college trip and smiled because I knew all the areas intimately. When they mentioned UCSB I smiled again, we years at family camp there and I made several pilgrimages in college.
Heard a story about recent antisemitism and reached out to dear friend to ask what he had heard.
His daughter is a sophomore and hasn’t experienced any problems. It is reassuring, but not perfect because the stories we have heard aren’t made up.
In a different place a friend tells me he believes antisemitism is overblown because he hasn’t experienced any. I push back hard because I have, my daughter has and I know several other stories.
Still I am not sure how to measure the problem because it definitely exists but to what extent on college campuses is harder to confirm. I hear conflicting stories and wonder where the truth lies.
The kid who says it is horrible and the one who says it’s non existent might be both be correct, or at least their perception.
Certainty lies in one place–our children face a different world than we did.
Cue my return to the gym to throw the iron around. I am not prepared to not to be physically capable of taking people apart if need be.
Reality says I can’t always be there to do so but I don’t let reality dictate every move I make. Scoundrels are like that.