NBA fans know The Big O as Oscar Robertson but in my world The Big O was my father, the not as famous or athletic Orrie Alan Wilner.
The man who never tired of organizing and reorganizing cabinets, creating lists and labeling everything would have turned 78 tomorrow.
Somehow this will be the fourth birthday he isn’t here to celebrate with us.
I have had people ask me why it sometimes sounds like I am alone because my mom and sisters are still around.
It is because I am…alone.
I am not upset with my mom, sisters or anyone else about that. They had nothing to do with it and no control but none of them are Dad or male.
There are some things they will never understand nor be able to talk about just as there are things I can’t understand or talk about for them.
That is life and it is neither good nor bad, it simply is and getting angry isn’t particularly useful.
Neither is being sad, I don’t hold onto it and do my best to let it go as best I can.
I think like many fathers and sons at times we were quite adept at driving each other crazy but that wasn’t the larger part of us by any measure.
Life experience helped things along. After I had been married, become a father and put decades into working we could relate on a wider range of things.
Somewhere around my daughters third or fourth birthday after I had put a chunk of years into being the sole financial provider for the family we had a conversation that has stayed with me.
Both of my grandfathers were there for it too and in some ways it almost feels like an initiation into a particular club. We talked about what it felt like to have that particular responsibility they all shared some words of advice.
Dad was better at walking away from some conversations than I am. He rarely felt like he he had to have the last word.
It is a lesson that I have worked and improved at. It is rare that I care any more to fight to get that word in.
I am much quicker to decide someone isn’t worth the time nor aggravation so there is no purpose in engaging because they don’t deserve my time.
That Einstein quote about staying with the questions reminds me of him too.
Dad could get lost in books, newspapers and magazines researching something that he was interested and intrigued by.
Some of the projects he and I worked on together at home were done because there wasn’t any cash to hire a handyman but some were because he thought we could figure it out.
I do some of that now too, get lost for days in trying to figure something out, certain that if I read enough I can wrap my head around it and make it work.
I suppose that is also tied into why I like playing Chess and or Words with Friends.
They help keep your brain sharp. They make you look in multiple directions and think about next steps, you have to be able to focus on more than just one thing.
Some of my friends have begun to tell me I look like Dad and I always thank them for saying I look like a seventy-something year old man.
They usually snort and tell me that is not what they meant and I laugh.
My eyes aren’t blue like his and though I have been told by some that I have a hard glare I doubt it compares to his.
Blue ice is what you got and no misunderstanding about which side you wanted to be on.
Second Half- What Comes Next
Few people believe me when I say I am almost middle age. They tell me that I passed that mark a while ago and that my next land mark will be senior citizen.
I remind them that senior citizen isn’t within spitting distance and that they can call themselves middle aged if it makes them feel better.
There is no question that my professional career has passed middle age and there is less runway than there once was.
Mapping things out is different now because there is less time to test and experiment than there once was.
I am not bothered by that but I find it oddly amusing. Unless there are some significant changes I have more than a decade left.
It is also possible I’ll choose to keep working longer because I enjoy what I am doing, but that is too far off to say for certain.
Can’t say exactly how I’ll feel then other than I am not going to paint myself into a corner and say some things have to go in one direction only.
A few weeks back I had to undergo some medical tests to check on a few things.
Two facilities asked me to provide credit card in case my provider fell short. I didn’t expect it to be a problem, especially since they said they wouldn’t charge my card until they received payment from my provider.
Today I discovered one dinged me for $250 dollars even though my EOB says their claim was payed in full.
Tomorrow they’ll hear from me and hopefully apologize for the mistake and refund my money.
Otherwise I’ll dispute the charge and they’ll get the benefit of the intense focus of a Wilner.
Either way someone is going to explain to me why my card was charged when I was told I would be notified in advance.
CODA is one of the best movies I have seen in a long while. I know at least a few of you would love it, though I don’t know if your shmata covers Apple TV or not.
Such a good film, just fabulous.
It is eighteen years today since Johnny Cash died, about four months after June and about 19 years since he covered Hurt.
Hard to believe the Big O is missing another birthday and that he is going to keep on missing things.
I understand and accept it, but I don’t have to like it.