Sunday, February 1, 2009

Back in the saddle...but feeling philosophical not historical...

Man, there's a bit of pressure now that I feel when I don't update the blog for a few days. Almost like I'm letting someone down or something. That is a bit egotistical, i suppose, thinking someone checks my blog and then feels let down if it is not updated. For what it's worth, I freely admit that these writings are self-indulgent for me, most certainly more-so than they might be for anyone reading them, but I appreciate your coming this far with me.

So, the Superbowl is over, and with it the end of another football season, which I really enjoy. There is something about those Sundays when the Broncos or , insert your team here, are playing and there's hope that they'll show up and give a good performance. I'll admit that I was rooting for the Cards tonight, but really was hoping for a great game, and that it was. I remember reading an article about Hunter S. Thompson's suicide, probably in Vanity Fair or something, and it said that one of the reasons he picked the time to blow his own brains out was because the football season was over, and he loved it so much, that no matter his personal demons, he would wait to silence them until after the end of the Superbowl. That may seem completely absurd, but then again, we are talking about H.S. Thomson here and in that context it probably makes perfect sense. I wonder if he really silenced them, or if he made them louder.

H and I had a couple great years in Arizona, so even though I have liked the Pittsburgh Steelers since the days of Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth and Mean Joe Green, the Cards were my sentimental pick tonight. When we lived there, they were terrible and everyone "hated" Bill Bidwell for not investing in the team. I went to a few games in Sun Devil Stadium and for the most part, the visiting team jerseys outnumbers the Cards' fans jerseys. Well, I guess he finally proved the naysayers wrong...A new stadium, a fantastic season, and the makings of a great team in the years to come, so rock on. I hope the Broncos play them in the Superbowl next year.

We moved to the Phoenix area when S was about 6 months old and left when R was about 1 or so, a little over two years in all. I'm not proud of the fact that I lived in AZ just over two years, but somehow managed to live there for 3 summers. That is not strategic brilliance by any stretch. If you have lived there, you know what I mean. The summer is not a fun time to be hanging in the AZ.

When we lived in Arizona, thinking back, we really had no worries at all. We had a healthy baby, I had a good job with a fun and growing company that had all the prospects to be a great little Internet company. Health was an expectation, not a privilege.

But, yet, worry we did. I had the stress of having a new job and big sales quotas to hit, so that worried me. I had employees to find, hire, train and help be successful, so that worried me. I had to figure out how to be a dad, and a husband to a mom for that matter (which is different than a husband to a non-mom, for sure.) I had to figure out how to get back in shape after eating ice cream for 9 months with H and not working out...ever, so that worried me. I had new social infrastructures to find, new friends to make, new things to do with my "spare time" ... these things all "worried me."

Wow, how shallow I was. How ignorant of true responsibility, true need for worry and true pain. How did i let these things get to me? I didn't know any worse.

I sort of think that it is a human condition that we make some level of potent drama out of the situation that we are in. Perhaps there's a boredom factor, or a subconscious need to place importance on issues that falls away in the face of true challenge. I heard a John Mayer song recently on the radio, can't remember the name of the song, but it said something to the effect of "better take all your problems and put 'em in quotations." I can see the hands going up and the little " " signs framing the air.

I feel like I have problems, if you are following this blog, you know some of them. But if I take my problems and "put 'em in quotations" relative to some other peoples problems, well then I feel a little better about my situation. There are many people in the world that are worse off than I am. I am sad sometimes, I know that there is a very high likely hood that things will get harder over the next ...whatever...period of time. It won't stop me, it won't beat me and I won't let it dominate the rest of my life, or that of my girls'.

Today, my oldest daughter, who is 11, asked me if my cup of coffee, which I had already consumed about half of, was half full or half empty. I said "Well, it's half full, of course." She then asked R, our middle daughter, who is 9, the same question about her juice and she said: "Well, whats the difference?" I thought this was actually a very sophisticated answer, especially, after Dad had said, "half full, of course." So, my oldest declared with confidence, that it was an idiom and that if you answered one way or the other it explained about your outlook on life and therefore your personality....O.....K. A bit heavy for an early Sunday am, but wow.

An idiom is a phrase whose meaning cannot be derived from the literal definition of itself, but rather is based on a common cultural use. I'm not sure that this question is an idiom in the sense that "kicking the bucket" is an idiom nor am I convinced that the answer to this one completely defines your personality as confidently stated my my elder daughter, but bear with me.

My big take away from this: I LOVE the fact that my 9 year old kid questioned the question, even after hearing my answer. This is core stuff my friends. It hits me hard to see the beauty in that strength. To see a kid develop with a "gut feeling" to question an absurd question in the face of an authoratative answer is gigantic to me. It's like a massive "gong" amigos, and in that moment I realized that these little ones are keeping me strong too.

Don't worry, please.


  1. Well written post (as always) Bill... God bless resilient children for having the self assurance, and interest, to challenge things... Must be a result of good parenting ;-)

  2. Bill - Ron told me about your new ALS chronicle blog and I just got around to checking this out. I spent the last hour reading every single post, even though I know Heide's and your story. I just subscribed to your feed....

    You are an incredible writer! I just forwarded the link to your blog onto a friend whose best friend has ALS and lives in NJ.

    After Ron and I had dinner with you 2 and C&K back in September and as we were walking back home, I told Ron that I had never seen a connection between two people like you and Heide have. I was truly humbled....