I Know What You Need- Johnny Cash Edition

I’d ask Alice if she knows what I need but I suspect she wouldn’t provide the correct answer any more than most of you readers would and I am ok with that.

Maybe if I was a man of wealth and taste I wouldn’t say worry about whether a storm is threatening my very life today.

Hell, catch me at my most raw or most guarded and I’ll give you the same answer about knowing how to walk through storms or talk about my experience dancing in the fire.

Those are things I am intimately familiar with and somewhat accomplished at.

Find Your Swagger

Another day, another conversation about California and why people think my home state is filled with crazy people.

“Y’all have too many sanctuary cities.”

“Can you explain to me why that is bad?’

“Because it is unconstitutional.”

“Where does it say that in the Constitution?”

“It says that Federal law makes the immigration policy and all states must follow.”

“Not exactly, go read the 10th Amendment and maybe we’ll have a conversation about states’ rights and how that applies here.”

I don’t tell him that I have a cursory understanding of the application of the 10th amendment to this issue but I am pretty certain his knowledge is a thousand percent more limited than my own.

And I am certain I am better at using Google and or asking cousins who are Constitutional law professors to provide some guidance.

Nor do I tell him I kind of like this sort of thing and that once upon a time I thought about making Con Law my profession and that I pay a little attention to things here.


Texts fly back and forth providing updates about the latest words from the docs in the hospital and I try to read them carefully to make sure I don’t miss anything.

I am ridiculously busy today and I have to focus on a few key things to they don’t blow up in my face.

We’re not at the point of a cold and broken Hallelujah but things can turn on a dime and victory can be snatched away.

But defeat and I do our dance and I look at the numbers on the screen and remind myself that we do not know enough to make determinations about what is or isn’t significant.

It is not good what I see, but how bad is it really?

Not enough to panic.

I reach my next stop and silently tell myself to “Find your swagger.”

There are skeptics waiting for a presentation and I need to find the place between arrogance and confidence because it will keep me focused and at the moment it is easy to drift off to other places.

A Reckoning

I once dared a girl to kiss me. I told her one kiss would change everything and she told me she didn’t buy lines that were designed to go one place.

“It is not a line if you can back it up. I can.”


I think this is probably one of a couple of songs that got me into Johnny Cash.

The older stuff were pieces I knew pretty well and enjoyed, but it wasn’t until later when I thought about what he did that he really caught my attention.

I appreciated his taking the time to expand his horizons and try something different while simultaneously putting his touch upon it.

Something about that ping ponged around inside my head and I recognized artistry isn’t solely about inventing something new but of taking something and adapting it.

It is about looking at what has been done and wondering what happens if you tweak things a little bit.

And it is about understanding that chemistry exists in all things–some people will never get you and some will understand you without any effort.

Once you come to that particular reckoning life changes a little bit.

You’re Crazy

A dear friend asks how I have retained my sense of humor and kept going.

“There are no other options. Have you forgotten about what I have had to deal with the two years prior to this moment?

That is a different sort of battle, it is something that will consume your thoughts and leave you gasping for breath.

That is pain.

This sucks, but this doesn’t feel like that.”

“Josh, you know you’re crazy.”

I laugh and remind him that is something people say when they don’t want to admit they are not smart enough to understand something.

“That is not a saying. No one says that.”

“I said it. That is good enough for me.”

We both laugh and think about how easily things could go a variety of other directions that would be considerably worse.


Occasionally I second guess some of the decisions and wonder if I made things better or worse.

Most days I don’t bother because I can’t change the past and the few big regrets will remain for as long as I allow them to.

Maybe they’ll fade and go away one day or maybe they won’t.

Sometimes you have to shake the tree and make things happen but most of the time you just have to be grateful.

Write here, write elsewhere, write now.

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