Friday, June 30, 2006

Cool To Somebody

Have you ever wondered if you're still cool, or ever were? The other day I had a wake up call. A call that told me that for a certain segment of the population, I'm The Man. I'm cool.

I was at Pot Belly Sandwiches (currently my favorite sandwich shop) getting an Italian. I opted for the fountain drink because I like to be finicky with my beverages. I don't really have any reason to be finicky, I just am because I can. I like diet sodas but some of them still haven't perfected their formulas. So, I like to help them out. I think that a lot of people would agree that Diet Coke with just a touch of Dr. Pepper or Cherry Coke mixed in usually fixes it.

There I was at the fountain. I had just put a little ice and Cherry Coke in the bottom of my cup and preparing for the Diet Coke when I noticed a little boy, about 6yrs old, looking up at me. His eyes were wide open and mouth agape. Then I heard his meek voice ask me, "Do you mix?" He had an unsure expression on and seemed in doubt about me responding. I said to him, "Sure, I mix my sodas." His face immediately changed. He beamed. He seemed to change his posture and said in an exuberant voice, "I love to mix!"
I smiled and told him that I know what he means.
I left that restaurant with a smile and really did feel cool the rest of the day. For that moment, he was 6 feet tall and I was 6 years old again.

I only have one piece of important art.

Sometime shortly before my grandmother passed away I was asked if there was anything that I would like passed down to me. I've never held much value in material goods so I couldn't think of anything. When pressed a little further, I remembered a picture. A picture that brought a great smile to my heart.
When I was very small and would stay at my grandparents house, there was a bedroom that I wouldn't sleep in. One of the upstairs bedrooms had sort of a deco/early american/hunter's cabin motif. If you can believe that. On one of the walls was an inexpensive print of a cornucopia. A unique cornucopia. Out of the basket lay fresh from the hunt rabbit, pheasant, and duck. A small game hunter's cornucopia. In the print, its obvious that they have been killed. This freaked me out as a little kid! I couldn't sleep in that bedroom. I couldn't even go in there if there wasn't anyone else upstairs. I discovered through conversations with other grandkids of my generation that they felt the same way about the print and that bedroom.
Now that grandma is gone, I looked at that print again. With adult eyes I see it differently. I see it for the bountiful harvest that it was created to represent. The animals are no longer scary. So I asked for that print. I now have it hanging proudly in the front room of my house. I get a giggle inside whenever I look at it.
I have this fantasy that if I become wealthy before I die that I will leave a contingency in my will. A contingency that whomever benefits from my will must hang this print in the guest bedroom of their home just to freak out all the little kids that come to stay. Not because I'm bent on disturbing children, but because that's part of growing up. You know you've grown when the dark basement, a bump in the night, or a shadow in the closet no longer sends you diving under the covers shaking. My only piece of art reminds me of the love of my family, my childhood, and the acceptance of adulthood.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Life is full of challenges and changes.
The changes I used to fear but now greet with a smile because it seems that moving forward is the best of all alternatives.
The challenges, well, let's just say that I require a decent set of instructions, the right tools, and even then some assistance is usually required.
Being like most men who have the superman complex, I'm not likely to ask for assistance. This is even true when it is obvious to myself that I cannot accomplish whatever it is on my own.
I can remember one occasion that exemplifies this. I had just moved in to my first home, an older place that needs some care but had lots of possibilities. The previous home owners had left some things behind but had taken others. They had removed the refigerator from the kitchen but had left one in the basement (along with a chest freezer) and another out on the deck in the back yard. I had just put most of my available cash into the down payment on the house so I was not in the market to purchase new appliances. I decided to move the refigerator from the basement to the kitchen because it seemed to be in the nicest condition. I was new to the town I moved to and didn't know anyone as of yet. So yes, I decided to move the refigerator myself. I carried the refigerator up the basement stairs without losing it. That was my biggest fear. I thought for sure that I would lose my grip and it would go sliding down the stairs and into the furnace. Once I got to the top of the stairs I hadn't planned how I would get the refigerator from the landing, turned 90 degrees on its base and up one more step and through the kitchen door. Mind you, there was only enough room for the refrigerator to stand parallel to the walls while upright. If tipped it wouldn't have enough room to rotate. The only alternative was to pick the appliance straight up and while carrying it, lift it through the doorway. Yes. I Superman did this. Thankfully, no injuries occurred. I'm not quite sure what it is that drives us to behave this way. I don't think there is anything I would'nt try to do even if it was physically impossible, even if I've tried it before and knew I couldn't do it. There I'd be, putting my back in to it (literally or figuratively) and saying that it just takes a little more effort.

This doesn't have to do with any of this, I just love a little Stevie Wonder from the 70's. Check it out.