The obvious answer is we don’t know each other so there is no basis for conversation and it would be weird for me to reach out and say “Hey Neil, I am listening to to two of your songs and I don’t know why.”
Heck, I thought about Blue October’s Hate Me a short time later and I think that came up because I heard a clip of something else that made me think of it.
Got me thinking about a time long ago where a friend snapped and I had to physically restrain him long enough for him not to hurt himself.
Had forgotten about it but the memory came back and I can see us doing battle as I fought to not hurt him while I tried to prevent him from hurting himself.
Thought about a time on the basketball court where I wrapped another guy in a bear hug and lifted off of the ground so that that he didn’t try to beat another player silly.
I think those jump out at me because the energy around me feels like people are losing their minds, a collective snapping of reason.
What Is Truth & What Is Fiction
Dad asked me if I jumped into those situations because I wanted to help or if it was because I was testing my strength.
I asked him if he would have preferred I let someone who was off their meds seriously hurt themselves or others.
“You have responsibilities. Did it occur to you that you could have gotten seriously injured or that if you had hurt them there could have been consequences.”
I answered honestly, “I had no fear either time. They weren’t likely to get a shot on me. I wasn’t the target and I felt confident I could make them take a breath and that would be enough.”
He wasn’t wrong to ask and in retrospect I see he wasn’t criticizing me though I took it as such at that time.
If I say I have no regrets it is fair to ask if that is because things worked out. I don’t feel badly, but perhaps I would have if there had been serious consequences.
It is also fair to say I might have felt badly had I done nothing and watched things go sideways. I carry very few regrets, but those that stay with me tend to hold significant weight.
In context of the current time and the great stress so many around me feel I think part of my role is to find some way to contribute something that helps lighten the load.
It doesn’t have to be a major action, just something that helps people who feel like they are Atlas feel like someone else can share some of the burden.
Sometimes all we need is that sense of being able to take a full breath, to stretch, look around and survey the scene calmly.
A chance to pause, take a beat and consider the best way forward.
It is simple but also a remarkably effective way to recharge our collective batteries.
A ’77 Trans Am
Told the little mister that when I hit Texarkana I’ll be disappointed I am not driving a black car with T-tops.
He said he wasn’t following and I slipped in a line, “We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there.”
Mister didn’t recognize the reference and took it literally. “You go farther in less time when you drive back home.”
I laughed and said he was correct and then pointed out I have a series of meetings and stops. “Most of the time when I drive back I am all business. I push hard. Stop to pee, stop to put gas in and go hard. This is different.”
It never occurred to the kid who watched Smokey & The Bandit all those years ago that cars couldn’t jump washed out bridges and ravines with the kind of ease he saw on television.
We saw that kind of stuff all the time and watched Evel Knievel jump his motorcycle over anything and everything. I remember my mother and my friend’s mothers telling us to be careful about jumping out of trees and off of our bikes.
“You know stuntmen suffer broken bones and worse. You won’t like it if you get seriously hurt.”
We always said yes and waited for them to stop watching us so we could go do it all again. Sometimes I think about it and realize how lucky we were, even if statistically speaking life leaned in our favor.
Somewhere someone in an insurance office built an actuarial table for people like us.
Anyhoo, somewhere between here, Shreveport and Texarkana I am sure I’ll take a moment to revisit that child. I’ll look in the rear view mirror and search for his eyes.
That childlike wonder and the belief in magic would provide some necessary stress relief. That kid would tell me to remember that magic exists even if we can’t always see, touch, taste or feel it.
It might not be exactly as we think or expect it to be, but it is there.
Even during the darkest and worst hours I found it and him.
Sometimes you say Talk To Me Goose and go silent long enough to hear what is said when the bells ring softly.