Monthly Archives: December 2013

Perspective

Since age 18 (I’m 52 now) I can count on one hand the number of “normal” Christmas holidays I’ve enjoyed.

I’ve primarily worked rotating 24 hour shifts since that time or have, for the last five years, worked in a sales environment that required Christmas eve worked, Christmas off, and a solid 12 hour shift on the 26th…basically one of our biggest sales periods of the year.

This year was no different, with the exception that I was doing exceptionally well…folks were opening their wallets and I was selling much more high-end product than normal. All well and good, but the real moneymaker traditionally occurs on the 26th.

I woke up the morning of the 23 with a weird little cough…I blamed it on keeping my window open all night.

For some perspective, I’ve not gotten sick in four years…not even a mild cold, so of course this can’t be happening now.

Just to be safe I started slamming water and vitamin C.

On the morning of the 24th, I had the tell-tale “hot” feeling in my chest. OK, I feel it coming, but the water, the humidifier and the vitamin C will beat it.

On Christmas morning I wake up with a 103.5F fever…the highest I’ve experienced since I was age 28. I spent the night buried  under the covers with the room temperature at 72F and shivering like I was laying on a block of ice.

I knew I’d never make it to work on the 26th, a day I critically needed to work (I ended  up dropping to 101.5F on the 26th and didn’t go in).

So if there was ever an excuse to feel sorry for myself this was it: miserably sick, losing money, couldn’t enjoy Christmas with my kids as I had hoped. All the standard pity-pot excuses.

And I’m laying in bed…shivering…and wondering how the hell this feels:  On concrete. Or in a makeshift tent somewhere next to the freeway. Homeless.

Lot’s of people experience that. And I’m not so financially secure that a monetary misfortune wouldn’t land me there too. Not that I don’t have a certain social safety net, but the prospect of being homeless is not entirely outside the realm of possibility. The simple notion that I could suffer within the comfort of my own home was mind-blowing.

So it was with that perspective that I, although achy as hell, was able to put a smile on my feverish face when I exchanged gifts with my kids on Christmas day.

It really can be a lot worse.  Sometimes you have to experience some “a lot worse” type experiences to realize that.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Six…

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Happy Birthday to me.

Yesterday actually.

I turned six…

Years of sobriety, that is. Yep, six years have passed without my ingestion of alcohol or drugs.

Although I rarely think about booze or drugs, and have absolutely no craving anymore, it’s kinda a big deal…

Well over a decade ago, a shrink I was seeing for depression suggested I go a year without drinking. His theory was that if I’m not an alcoholic, this shouldn’t be a problem (this is actually a pretty standard metric in the recovery field; and this guy knew damn well I was alcoholic, he was just trying to get ME to admit it).

I made it 13 days before I decided he was an idiot and I had no problem with alcohol. That I was a miserable wreck those thirteen days seemed to escape my grasp at the time…

I first drank at age 17 and it was immediately and magically the elixir I had been looking for my entire life…it changed everything for the better…until it didn’t.

I suffer from a disease that causes me to deny that I have a disease and I am eternally grateful that I eventually screwed my life up to the point that I had run out of solutions and was willing to surrender.

And that’s the key…surrender. My mom used to be puzzled about my drinking because, as she said “you have such strong willpower in all the other areas of your life”…

It’s like that for all of us drinkers. We MUST drink…it’s the norm, not the exception. And willpower is often a liability.

Anyway, Happy Birthday to me! I’m quite blown away that I’ve gone this long without the substance that literally ruled my life for so many years and equally stunned that I rarely think about it. Don’t get me wrong, I participate in standard treatment for this disease on a regular basis, but I rarely actually think about alcohol.

I’m pretty open about this part of my life with family, friends, and co-workers. Some disagree with this position but I firmly believe that, for me, if I hide it, it controls me and by putting myself out there, I’ve become a resource for others.

And that’s what keeps me sober.

So thank you to those individuals with whom I’ve had the honor of helping the last 6 years.

Here’s to another day!

 


Why I Write

old-typewriter

Because I must.

Because if I don’t, the wellspring of thoughts and emotions roiling under the surface will spill over in ways which are neither appropriate nor constructive.

I need to write.

Some people need to run, to ride, to work-out…to breathe.  I need to write.

I continually aspire to greater perfection in this craft; in fact at times, my words embarrass me, but if I let that stop me, the spigot runs dry and the unhealthy pressure begins to build again.

I am no wordsmith with an appropriate grasp of sentence mechanics but I do know this much: when the sentence starts, it’s hard to stop…the flow must continue to fruition.

I have loved to write since 1974 when an English teacher named Mrs. Doi inspired in me a passion for communicating that continues to this day. I’ve enjoyed accolades over the years for my ability to communicate verbally, but it has never produced the personal satisfaction that a carefully crafted sentence brings me.

John LeCarre is my inspiration. I began reading Mr. LeCarre because I enjoyed the genre, but developed a deep appreciation for the English language I had never imagined. His ability to seduce and convey imagery through the written word is unrivaled in my opinion and this gift is a goal toward which I gleefully aspire.

Ironically, I have yet to be able to clearly convey on paper,  the feeling…the emotion within me that is produced when I write.

It just is.

It is satisfying like no other.

It is life.

 


Love and Other Drugs…(I have this friend)

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So I’m posting for a friend…yeah, that’s it…a friend.

See this guy hasn’t been in love in quite some time and quite frankly isn’t even sure he knows what love is.

He knows it when he thinks about his kids…that kind of love is crystal clear and unquestionable.

But when it comes to women, well…let’s just say this friend is confused.

This guy remembers what it was like when he was a burgeoning human man…otherwise known as a teen…and still recalls the absolute joy that simply holding a girls hand brought. The pure, unadulterated feeling of comfort that the gentle touch of a woman brought him.

And here’s where our story goes off the rails. This friend then proceeds, in a nutshell, to completely screw up his love life in a series of bad relationships, bad choices, bad drinking…and just generally bad stuff.

All sense of innocence is lost at a very early age. The concept of love…that mature relationship between a man and a woman, not to mention the ability to experience that wonderful sense of innocence…was lost somewhere along the line.

I won’t bore you with the details…suffice it to say, it’s probably a DSM-V level dysfunction.

But I have hope for this friend. I believe his ability…his innate desire for the purity of an innocent love between a man and a woman still resides somewhere deep within him.

If my friend is listening, I say this: Be honest. Be fearless. Be of service. If you can do those things, things will happen the way they are supposed to.

Thank you my friend…I enjoyed our chat…


“The Human Element”

Another Sunday in the books and another Sunday where NFL games fell victim to “the human element”. That nefarious excuse given by traditionalist who resist technology…change…and rules.

I’m referring to the some of the horrible calls made by NFL referees. Not bad guys by a long shot, and light years ahead of the replacement jokes of last year, but they, at the end of the day are human beings. And as human beings, they make mistakes.

And therein lies the rub…

Baseball purists have for years resisted technology for balls and strikes and more extensive video review. They cry that “the human element” is part-and-parcel of the fabric of the game.

I disagree.

The game, whether it’s baseball, football, hockey, basketball et al, are games entirely structured on rules. We don’t pay to see the performance, masterful or faulty, of those humans tasked with enforcing those rules.

We pay to see the participants engaged in the actual activity. The officials themselves make the best argument for technology and more aggressive video review…their whole job depends on the concept of proper rule enforcement. If you step outside the rules, you pay a penalty.

But what happens when these humans step outside the rules, through no fault other than humanity, by making a call that affects the outcome of the contest.

I saw it yet again today in the Ravens game where a missed pass interference call set up the winning touchdown.

Not cool. One team goes home the loser, when in reality, they are not.

It’s not right. Plain and simple.

It’s time to take advantage of the technological advances of this day and age and insert them into sport. Tennis has done it successfully for several years now. What did they lose? Nothing but the temper tantrums of their spoiled athletes. What did they gain? Purity…propriety…the right guy/gal wins.

The way it is supposed to be…


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