June 25, 2008
a golden oldie
Originally PUBLISHED May 28, 2004
I remember listing to my grandmother tell stories about her childhood (she was about 45 at the time, but she was OLD to me) and I recall vividly thinking about a path through the wildflowers on the other side of the railroad trestle where we lived, and how she had travelled a long way down that path where I was not allowed to go. I envied the memories she had.
I am five years older than she was then. I have travelled FAR down that path in my lifetime, not only through the wildflowers, but into the weeds, the briars, the poison ivy and the quicksand, too. I look back now and I really don't understand how I went from being Beaver Cleaver (although a lot of those traits still survive), to a high-school jockstrap, to a dope-smoking bohemian English Major in college, to an advertising copywriter, to a six-year professional musician, to a 23-year employee in a chemical plant. I had about one hundred "girlfriends" along the way and never contracted a single STD during my swashbuckling days. I never cheated on a wife. I am loyal, if nothing else.
I have two ex-wives and two ex-children to show for it. I really don't know whether I have been blessed or extremely unlucky. (BAH! As my late Daddy would say, "You make your OWN luck, son!") I have more stories to tell than the average man, whatever THAT is, but all the stories aren't pleasant ones. I don't like what the prostate surgery has done to me. I once swore that I could never become a heroin addict because I HATE NEEDLES! Now, I have a prescription for them, and I get all I want. And I use them, too.
Who would'a ever thunk THAT? Not ME!
I like living by myself now. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. The Crackerbox is a nice home (Joan? What would it cost to buy this place on 1/2 acre of wooded land where YOU live?). I own all the toys a man my age should own (except a trophy younger woman). I'm not rich, but I have more money than I know what to do with. I spend it freely; that's what it's for.
But I keep looking back and wondering how I fucked up everything in the rear-view mirror. It's too late to go back now.
I hate that.
(originally written almost two years ago.)
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