I am in the midst of a whirlwind trip to LA and happy to have a quick minute with a few of the boys to grab a beer and take a moment to catch up.
Time is short so we push past the usual banter and take a moment to get a real sense of how each other is doing.
Age and experience has taught us to be different than we used to be. Twenty-five years ago we were still too cool and too tough to say we love you and to not get goofy about it.
But now we know better and we know differently, friends have died and others are going to–well we hope it doesn’t happen for another 50 years but there is a chance it could be much sooner.
As we take a moment to talk about real stuff like our families and whether we think we can retire within the next decade or two we laugh about some of the stupid stuff.
“Dude, the bedroom activities aren’t quite what they used to be.”
“No, we are not as flexible as we used to be so things are more conventional.”
“Ya know you are kind of bumming me out with this. Aren’t we supposed to be sharing stories about trying to convince inlaws or parents to watch the kids or ridiculous stories about closet time while the baby naps.”
We all laugh and move right back to whether retirement is possible and what it is going to take.
One Ex Is Just Like Another
“Do you know what social media is doing to our lives and our brains. It is making them mushy.”
That is all it takes to launch into a debate about whether it is smart to be on Facebook or Twitter and whether you can be friends with your ex.
“What do you care. One ex is just like another. If you focus on the good times you had with them remember it was 30 years ago and neither of you look like you did. More importantly, neither of you are the same person.”
The retort comes fast and furious.
“Meathead, some of us have ex wives and we share custody with them. It doesn’t have to refer an ex girlfriend.”
“Fine, you win the prize for the big distinction. She doesn’t look like she did 30 years ago but she is just as mean as she was then.”
Moments like this are when we figure out that while we may not run like we used to we can still duck as fast as ever, which is good because a face full of food and bottle is never fun.
The conversation quickly moves into whether 2017 is going to consume as many rock stars and actors of our youth–the answer is maybe, some of them are getting pretty old but Keith Richards may outlive us all.
Old Enough To Know A Little
Fast forward back to life in Dallas where I routinely talk with people about being old enough to know just a little, but not much.
It’s an easy way to break the ice and lead into a conversation about expectations.
They are a funny thing and I have different sets for personal and professional settings. I used to know someone who advised to always set them low so as to not be disappointed but I haven’t been particularly good at that.
Well, that is not entirely true. I am not good at setting low expectations for people that are important to me.
If you are part of the small circle I expect much but I am good about giving much. I’ll show up with the shovel or the gun.
I’ll bust you out of jail, save you from drowning in a burning river and or tear down a wall. Might even help you move your couch.
I tend to expect the same from that small circle and most have delivered, but a few haven’t. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t hurt and irritate me.
But that is life, a lot 0f fun moments that sometimes get interrupted with hurt and irritations. Cue Johnny singing Hurt.
I never get tired of that one, the raw power gets me.
It might sound like hyperbole to say it almost took all Johnny had, but in a way it did. His wife June died three months after filming it and he made it about seven.
That song and Tolstoy’s quote resonate with me like I can’t tell you.
If you spend enough time in self reflection you will find those dark corners and remember…things.
What Story Do You Tell?
Midnight approaches and I am racing to finish this because I am doing a piss poor job of taking proper care of myself.
I have the pedal pushed through the floor and long since burned both ends of the candle because I can’t stop hearing the tick tock of the clock.
It doesn’t matter that I know I have another 50 years of being around because it might not happen so I am pushing to do certain things.
Two days ago someone told me I was born to write and asked me if I would ever produce the novels that live inside me.
I smiled and said I might and asked if they wanted the story about the man who was arrested for fighting another with processed meat or if they wanted to hear a love story about people suffering from a digestive issues.
“The latter will make you laugh and cry, it is a real gas. Or maybe you want to know the full tale of the knight and his Kosher salami. It’s not as crazy as you might think, people get crazy at grocery stores. Bump into another with a shopping cart and all hell breaks loose.”
They smiled and said I ought to do both and then asked if I could come up with a warm holiday tale.
I asked if they wanted to hear about a fat pedophile who delivers gifts and they told me it was offensive.
So I asked if it was better to describe an older man with an eating disorder and perverse sexual predilection that would lead to the same silver bracelets the Kosher salami knight received from the police.
“I don’t know whether to say you are the most twisted man I know and to suggest you get help or to applaud you for being so fast on your feet.”
I smiled and told him I’m writing a new story for the coming second half of my life.
“Oh yeah? What is it going to be about?”
“Stick around and you might find out.”