Dr. Google offers a variety of ways to help self diagnose the aches, pains, nicks, scrapes and bruises that the lord upon high has chosen to afflict me with.
So I point-and-click my way through a handful and come across a few that sound plausible, probable and likely.
Or maybe it is better to say likey because they don’t describe a terminal illness or some other ailment that isn’t what I call agreeable.
Pick up the phone and tell the baby girl who is decades past being a baby that she should join me because I am heading to the gym.
Three miles or so go by according to elliptical and treadmill measurements and I wander over to the machine to see what happens when I try throwing some iron around.
For the first time in a while the muscles don’t try to mutiny and I think maybe it is tendonitis for real or something simple that required rest.
It irks me not to have done any real lifting but I have learned to listen a little bit to my body because sometimes not pushing through is the smart thing to do.
Close my eyes, focus on the immediate and push out the thoughts about Friday morning because it will come soon enough.
Remember that sometimes a whisper is louder than a shout and push forward.
It is officially 15 months today since dad walked into the cornfields to go play ball with Shoeless Joe and maybe Moonlight Graham.
Sometimes it feels like yesterday and sometimes it feels like forever. It occurs to me again that I didn’t understand or appreciate how profound a change this would be even though I thought I knew.
Someone dear to me told me to be prepared for memories of the time just before and after to pop up unexpectedly and they have.
Tonight I heard dad tell me to have a good life and to take care of my mom, sisters and his grandchildren.
“Is that all?”
“You’re really that tired huh. You’ll do anything to get out of work. Guess it is my turn.”
Dad shrugged his shoulders and I told him this time I was really angry because not only did he not give me any brothers he was leaving me as the only boy.
He smiled and fell asleep.
I watched and then closed my eyes and listened to him breathe knowing there was a meter running and we were out of change.
“You know dad, if you had given me an empire to run I would have the extra cash to do nothing but write, read and educate myself. You can pretend to sleep all you want, I am live my dreams with or without me.”
Caught myself at the end but didn’t correct myself because dad was asleep and I wasn’t ready to speak such things aloud.
I am not a fan of being told adversity building character or any of the 10,000 other platitudes that are used to help people get through hard times.
Doesn’t matter if they are true or not. Doesn’t matter if I believe or disbelieve because they don’t make the time go faster or lessen the work required to pass through the fires.
That only happens by walking towards or running away.
Sometimes people suggest a distinction between running away and knowing when to give up but true adversity is rarely tied to things in which you can just give up.
If you can give up it is either not important or you haven’t developed the kind of coping skills that allow you to push forward.
Not long ago I found myself in a situation in which I had no idea what was going on and wondered if the problem was that I was socially awkward.
That is not how I see myself. Won’t claim to be the cool guy but generally I can manage almost any situation or at least feel like I can.
This time was different.
I was awkward and I can’t tell you why other than I was very different than the people I was with.
Anything I said was met with silence, uncomfortable laughter or other social cues that I interpreted as not being friendly.
Couldn’t just leave and couldn’t just stay. Couldn’t just do anything. Just gutted it out and tried to forget it happened.
Things are happening and I am walking out on the wire without a safety line because sometimes you have to take the big risk for the big reward.
Or at least I keep telling myself that standing in the hurricane isn’t naive, dumb or ridiculous because I have planted my feet and am working a plan.
Except the plan is untested and there is no time for a test run.
We’re going to find out very soon whether I have built a proper parachute or learned to fly. Got a little time before I dive into the fire and learn if I have what it takes to keep from burning.
It is pretty damn scary and pretty damn exhilarating.
Won’t promise if there will or won’t be a barbaric yawp but there might. Never know because sometimes a whisper is louder than a shout.