|Me as a reporter 24 years old, always in the center.|
“…who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations which in the yellow morning were stanzas of gibberish - From Howl by Allen Ginsberg
In early 20s when the world was in my back pocket and all I wanted and could be was in my right hand I would put on the dog Friday nights and float into a local watering hole for cocktails there to hold court and cut up and marvel at my own wit charm and warm smile — handsome devil. I delighted company and smiled at the waitresses and winked at the new girl sitting there demurely who maybe was already keen on me or was about to be and I was interested because she had that shiny gloss fresh out of the package look and I wanted to open it so ignored that someone who was there just to see me be with me because she was from yesterday and I wanted today.
Drinks delicious icy wonders that I gulped bringing a glow and even further assurance that I was the center of it all and you it’s nice to meet you nice to see you nice to be. I be. I. Then ease into the next part of the night would it be dinner or a party another bar to the disco to dance a combination of those or maybe alone with that new girl and if that failed — the idea — then Miss Plan B. Oh and would there be cocaine to fuel more of the fun. What possibilities seemingly endless.
At this time I was a journalist and a good one with a wonderful way with words and clever at eliciting them in interviews where I was so skilled. I dug deeply into topics and drew them out and made them seem accessible and understandable and I was praised and appreciated and in most respects certainly deserving. Encomiums. Please for me please. See how good I am.
I told people as early as when I was eight years old that I wanted to be a famous writer. Teachers encouraged the idea that I was a natural although they seemed to let my sloppy grammar spelling punctuation go and grow bad. But I was nurtured in the idea that I had talent. But of course that part of the brain had to rest a bit while I alternatively starred in soccer and experimented with drugs and after the experimenting I practiced. Also there were girls to chase and sometimes catch although I was often at a loss for what to do with them. Chased the wrong ones and caught the wronger ones. There was Debra senior year high school she was wonderful smart and witty and my match if not superior in every respect but I told her bluntly that I was throwing her over in pursuit of the dumb blondes of the word. Debra is a doctor now and I would think I lost out but I found the perfect wife anyway so things can work out even if you’re being a jerk a lot of the time.
There I was finishing high school shattered by my mother’s madness but an accomplished athlete an aspiring writer and already a veteran drug user and oh yeah the girls thought I had beautiful blonde hair and beautiful eyes and beautiful this and beautiful that and I was beautiful but really in a lot of ways I was something of an idiot. Something. Yeah well.
So I shambled and rambled and stumbled through college for a couple of years then up and went to Europe where I was free but got locked up with girls one in particular and anyway I couldn’t figure out what I was doing and I came back lost and went back to who and where I was and did it again. Only more booze now and yet I managed to be that hotshot reporter and the man about town gadding about and getting laid and getting high and getting hangovers and loving life and loving and hating myself and caring passionately and deeply but being an insecure narcissist and is there any other kind I ask you.
But I learned — many years later.
Oh yes and there was music always music the soundtrack of my waywaywaywaywayward youth. Beatles Stones Hendrix Joplin Crosby Stills Nash Young Billy Joel Fleetwood Tower of Power David Bowie The Who Marvin Gaye and the inevitable more. There was rhythm and deep lyrics to be interpreted answers to be found an understanding just as my reporting would unlike deep secrets and it would all be revealed. Enlightenment and understanding and nirvana and orgasms and the perfect high coming to my mind and soul if only I were pushing for it and awake to it and stayed cool meanwhile I could have all the consequence free fun I wanted of any kind and everything would be cool nothing to worry about. All would be revealed and after that party time.
But damaged yeah there was that and always would be will be. The damn childhood with that damn screaming mother and those words and that ugly sound and poor little me cowering what that did and has done but I learned to show up which is what I do. No matter the depression or the fear or panic you just show up each day for work for play for life you don’t sit it out and you remember all the people you were and you never ever hide from that and pretend it was different it all happened just the way it did and you did those things and experienced those things and you’re still you and you came out of it you wiser now and have been a father and been unselfish and you’ve given and been a teacher and cared and loved and tried and thought and not been content with what you shouldn’t be but have learned to be content with what you should be and that’s a real start for the rest of your days go get ‘em.