September 7, 2019

Pardon the pause in blogging, but the few weeks have been especially long and stressful at work and I just haven’t felt like hitting the home computer to blog after long days at the computer in the office next door. Whether it’s because of work and days beginning with crisis calls at 6 or 7 AM (never a good way to start anyone’s day!), or the fact that we’ve had some really expensive car issues to the tune of nearly $4K when we’re supposed to be saving for retirement, I’ve just been struggling with thinking too much about too many things and getting caught up in worrying too much about what ought to be happening at this point in my life instead of dealing rationally with what is happening.

It’s been hard not to, I suppose, with all the rumors of big organizational changes coming at work and whether I’ll even have a job by the end of the year, but at some point you have to take stock in what you have and what is precious to you and figure out what to do with the staggering amount of bullshit you’ve allowed yourself to be consumed with inwardly. Two weeks ago I had to be talked out of resigning my position at work by my boss’s boss after an incident where I was publicly slammed by one of our VPs for something I wasn’t even involved in (a case of mistaken identity) without any kind of apology afterwards. And then there was the whole Goodboys thing I blogged about last month: the same day I offered up my resignation at work I decided that I was done with Goodboys as well. I had my resignation letter to the Nation all ready to go and was ready to hit the “Send” button when something told me this kind of momentous decision ought to be slept on before acting on it.

So the next day comes and I’ve got other bigwigs apologizing to me for the dickhead VP and them saying how good a job I’m doing and all that bullshit, so I decided to put my resignation and my Goodboys resignation on hold as well. And then the after-thought. What was I trying to do? What kind of statement was I trying to make? And so there was this whole inner crisis thing going on – something, I guess, that has been going on to one degree or another since my Mom’s passing more than three years ago. I’d been adrift in a way since then, that sense only exacerbated in the past year with being put on blood pressure medication, then having the cough and the damned lung nodules, then the severe anemia and the iron infusions and the office visits at the cancer hospital which only further remind you of your own mortality and how fragile life is and how old you’re getting.

I’ve been working my way through the works of John D. MacDonald, known for his books about ordinary people living lives of quiet desperation in an uncaring, hostile world of real state hucksters, corruption, environmental destruction, and societal/cultural changes, primarily in Florida but elsewhere as well. I’d been reading his Contrary Pleasure, about a family in upstate New York who owned and operated a textile mill whose existence was being threatened by a hostile takeover. Following the suicide of his brother, the head of the family decides not to sell, realizing that the mill is his life and that, win or lose, he would either see the company’s success or demise on his own terms instead of allowing others to make his future for him. For as long as he could remember, he too had been asking the same big questions; in the end it all came down to the same basic fundamentals:

You work because you work. You do your job because you do your job. Without sword or mission or grail. And the clan rides your shoulders. Full of a ridiculous, trusting confidence in you. Knowing that their world cannot change.

And in reading that passage, a light suddenly went on and the clouds that were in my head gradually gave way to an acceptance about who I am and where I am.

The fact is, I am growing older – older than I ever imagined myself ever being. My youngest brother Mark is gone, long gone, by suicide. My mother is gone, and so too her sister and my favorite aunt, Auntie Marge. The remains of what I once knew as “family” is scattered across the country. Sure, there are the occasional calls with my brother Dave and regular calls and semi-regular visits with my Dad, but otherwise the once-strong and intimate family connections are now held together only through the occasional call and text. I still have close, long-time friends of forty years like Paul and Ben, and, for more than three decades, Killer and Dog. All of whom are more like brothers to me than anything else. And there are my Goodboys friends like Goose, Cubby, and Skeeta who help maintain my Goodboys (and Massachusetts) connections. Most importantly, I’m loved by a wonderful wife and a sister-in-law who bring both color and meaning to my life.

But, sitting in the sanctuary of my back patio under happy pineapple lights next to the Tiki bar and listening to palm tree branches rustling in the breeze under a half-moon, I realize this is what it is and the way it is. And I’m the person I am with all the joys, sadness, and regrets of a life that has brought me to where I sit for better or for worse. And I realize I’m damned blessed to have the things and friends and family around me that I do. I work because I work. I do my job because I do my job. I’m a Goodboy because I helped create this damned thing called Goodboys and a Goodboy I will always be, until my end or its end, whichever comes first. And I do so without sword or mission or grail. And the clan (in their various forms) rides my shoulders. Full of a ridiculous, trusting confidence in me.

I know now that you can’t live your life in fear of what might come and whether or how you’ll handle it when it does come. That’s not living, that’s being imprisoned inside yourself and condemned to a life of waiting and apprehension. Wake up in the morning and wonder if this will be your last day on earth. Wonder where that sharp pain in your side or back or chest came from, and if that’s the first sign of something truly bad. I know now that I can’t live like that. That doesn’t mean that I can’t have strong opinions about things or choose to avoid dick-heads who exist in my circle of work and play, but I also have to realize that you can’t wipe clean relationships and friendships simply because there may be a dick-head lurking amongst you.

Most importantly, I think I’ve come to a realization that whatever happens is going to happen and if I go it alone it will only be because it is my choosing to do so. Life is far better lived amongst family and friends.

So I’m back blogging again and hopefully will be back to posting things of far lesser consequence, like golf, politics, and which is the better Bee Gees song, “Nights on Broadway”, or “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You”.

..and thanks, Beach Boys, for the title of this post. That’s a damned fine song as well.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:22 | Comments (2)
  1. Hey Partner, the BS of work will always be there. The great shots & yuks of Goodboy’s weekend cannot be beat. You put this together. And because of you guys
    i’m really into this game, at least lately. Post
    GB weekend 2019 iv’e had some good scores.

    Go Patriots. Be well,

    Comment by Ron "Cubby" Myerow — September 8, 2019 @ 1:19 pm

  2. Keep those great scores up, Cub, and you’ll be Exec-Comm for GB31!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — September 8, 2019 @ 10:43 pm

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