Out of town guests insisted on taking me out to celebrate my 50th birthday, so I threw on a party shirt and walked past the yahrzheit candle I lit for dad to the car.
Drove to a local non-chain steakhouse and had a great 8 ounce filet and silently toasted a few people.
Tipped back the Moscow Mule and thought about the choices we make and who I would let share my cave.
Thought about how June once told Johnny she just wanted to spend time with him and how Johnny would have said that to her today.
You might ask how I concluded this and wonder if I would go with “I just know things” and I might smile and nod my head.
Or I might say it is a safe guess to say Johnny just wants time with her. Maybe it was tied into something Jill Biden wrote about Joe or maybe it was none of those things.
It wasn’t just another Saturday night.
Technically the man who walked into the Chabad in Poway is old enough to be considered an adult.
At 19 he could be one of the men and women who wear fatigues and work to protect our freedom and all we hold dear but he chose a different path.
Had I encountered him I would not have been gentle nor thought twice about doing whatever it took to stop him but I am certain at some point I would have looked at a young face and realized a kid tried to murder us.
I am thankful I didn’t have a face-to-face encounter but haven’t any problem saying “Us” because his words and actions make it clear he would have gone after my family, me or anyone else he thought is a member of the tribe.
He isn’t just a kid because I have three decades of life on him or because he is essentially the same age as my son and oldest nephew.
It is all of that and maybe a small hope that his youth naivete made him an easy mark for those who push hate.
A dear friend said it feels like open season on Jews and I said we need to break their bones and bust some heads.
Ideally there are non violent means that can be used to win hearts and minds so that we don’t have to use violence, but I am not naive.
Sometimes you force people to take a different approach by making them recognize that not only will violence fail it will lead to consequences too severe to consider.
It’s disheartening and disappointing.
The father in me wants to grab these kids and try to talk sense into them.
The father in me also says I have to do whatever it takes to protect my kids and wonders how long I have to be a physical force and presence,
Wonders what happens when I am gone, will my kids have a better world than I did.
Comparison may be thief of happiness but reality says the have more reason to fear antisemites than I did. I have a couple of stories, but nothing like they do.
I looked at a couple of the shots of me from earlier and tried to figure out how I got to look so damn old. Been told a couple of times this week that I don’t look my age and smiled because it is nice to hear.
Truth is most of my adult life I have heard I look a little bit younger than I am but until recently I didn’t care.
Hell, I only slightly care now. Truth is if you talk about looks I am far more concerned about my body than my face. It is not because I am worried about what others think either.
You either love me for me for my mind and who I am or you don’t and even then I might not give a damn. Not everyone gets an invitation to share the cave and if you’re on the shortlist it is likely a gut feeling, but I digress.
The question about looks now has everything to do with how I feel and whether the body in the mirror is more or less likely to be kind to me in the future.
For a while I tried to rely upon an old workout to get me back into the kind of shape I want to be in. I recently concluded I need to accept that it is over.
That workout was fine for who I was but now it needs to be viewed as history.
It works for putting muscle on me. My arms, shoulder, chest and back are making progress. I feel strong, in some ways I feel as strong as I ever did.
But the core isn’t where I want it and though I can see the outlines of the cuts that used to be obvious it is only when I flex. Time was I didn’t have to do that, they were just there.
I either need to make some big compromises or I need to let some things leave the present and move into the past. Let them be called history.
Doesn’t really matter whether I want to do any of these things or not, change is here and transitions from what was into what is and what might be are upon us.
It wasn’t just another Saturday night.