A man died today. |
By all accounts he was a good man or at least tried to be. He put the toilet seat down, brushed after every meal, flossed regularly, and was a fanatic about personal hygiene. He provided for his family, raised two children, aided friends, and by chance, the church occasionally sought his help. But even as a lifetime house-of-worship attendee, faith was elusive; coming and going like the wind. He did not chase momentary fads or madness, and he sometimes suspected religion fit into one of those categories. He was grounded in reality, even-tempered, and slow to anger; a fellow who laughed easily and often. At heart he was what polite society would call a big kid; albeit the most whimsical kind.
But that was before…
One unexpected day in the midst of success, society suggested he had little redeemable value—like there’s some kind of expiration date that declares, “From now on you shall be different!” You see, these days in America when the sun goes down on the wrong side of fifty, some kind of switch is thrown so a man is looked at as changed; altered—and not for the better. Furtive whispers commence…opinions are mostly ignored…methods are suspected of being outdated… energy is said to be lacking… Our hero resented this type of stereotyping, yet in acknowledgment of intellectual honesty, appreciated the irony of “just desserts”; the old “what comes around goes around” coming back to bite him in the ass. See, as a young man his generation had their own malicious anthem: “Never trust anyone over thirty!” Karma’s a bitch.
But, the guy didn’t fit typecasts mentioned above. Not at all. He always embraced technology and eagerly sought the latest news, gadgets, techniques, processes, and systems. He was extremely fluid within a business organization; equally at home on the floor of the gladiator’s arena, and in a board room filled with chest-thumping, self-aggrandizing big cheeses. Energy? To burn! His training regimen included three to four triathlons a week—every week! He was also adept internationally, blending in with any culture, learning the customs, and using the native language. Once when captured in Iraq by Saddam Hussein’s henchmen, he made a fast friend of a guard. He remained young of body and of heart with a quick wit. People smiled in his presence.
But that was before…
This man also had feet of clay. He should have been a better son, brother, husband, and father. The days and nights spent away from home on business and pursuing empty pleasures cost him dearly in terms of the most important possession human beings receive—time with those who love and care about them. He should have been more caring of others instead of turning a blind eye to sorrow and suffering. Did he really need to make wisecracks at others’ expense just to get a laugh? In the end, even he had to admit he spent too much time basking in the glow of modest achievement and ignoring unfulfilled potential.
Personally, I appreciated his: 1) propensity for fitness and health, 2) love of literature, 3) dislike for anything pop culture, 4) love of science, and 5) eclectic choice of music. The latter included smoky-voiced jazz vocalists like Anita O’Day, June Christy, and Diana Krall; the saloon singing Sinatra; and at the other end of the scale, operas like Dialogues des Carmelites. I did not appreciate his: 1) blasé attitude toward most issues-of-the-day, 2) grudging resistance for tackling home improvement handyman projects, 3) attention span of a two-year-old, and 4) thinking anything was okay to say (and do) if it was funny.
Writing he loved. Well, not so much writing as telling-a-story whether from real life or imagination, which he began as a grade-schooler. He greeted most dawns at the keyboard writing about whatever crossed his mind. It gave him joy. BUT—as for dealing with agents, publishers, and laissez-faire readers? Not so much.
And so, in this life of travail and cheap wine, all good things come (sooner-or-later) to the end of the line; and damned if THE END didn’t show up ahead of schedule. He’ll no longer rise early to create the words that fill this space. He will no longer jump from his bed in the middle of the night to gleefully jot down an idea. His keyboard has gone silent; his pen is broken.
Yes, a man died today. I should know.
I killed him.
Adieu, Gene Myers
P.S. Resurrection is possible. We’ll see what happens a little further down the line…
Author of AFTER HOURS and SONGS FROM LATTYS GROVE both available on-line in standard and eBook from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He founded a new religion called “Zen Judaism” The two pillars are: 1) EVERYTHING is sacred, and 2) EVERYTHING is for sale! Yethir! Step right up!
Upcoming: CRAZY HOURS: Misadventures in Business and Life (working title), which will be out later this year or sometime in 2012.
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