No one I know can right size a moment or situation like Michael Sulsona, without question the person I love and trust most on the planet. Here’s an example. In the 1970s, the two of us were living in Seagate Brooklyn. I’d spent the day looking for a job and gotten no results. I dropped by Michael’s house. When I walked in he was in the process of lowering the needle onto a record when I said, “You don’t get any respect out there unless you got a suit and a good job.” The needle paused in mid-air. Without missing a beat Michael said, “Please, Peter, Nixon had a suit and a good job.” As I said, no one I know can right size something as well as Michael can.
Having said all this it comes as no surprise that it was a comment left by Michael on and earlier blog post (See Reflections at Stokes, published Dec. 8) that reminded me and hopefully others that those who betray us or use us deserve to rent as little space as possible in our minds and, I would add, our hearts. In a recent conversation, Michael talked to me about some of the choices available to me.
Michael knows, as well as anyone, that my commitment to fight for the right of all people to be treated equally in the world the live in is tenacious and permanent in my character. But, as he pointed out, I may be most effective with my writing and speaking skills than I can be with any of my current affiliations. He may well be right. He knows I am deeply disappointed and disenchanted with some of my current affiliations. He also knows that among the many bonds that he and I share, our relationship with our writing runs deep. Michael, I can tell you, is one of the best playwrights and screenwriters out there.
I think what I am talking about here in this somewhat disjointed essay is this. Each of us has a right to be who we are, who we really are. And sometimes the bullshit and bullshitters in life can distract us, sideline us, even derail us. But those mishaps do not deserve permanence. Even when some twit says something that riles up some old instincts and makes you want to take them outside and slap the shit out of them. I recently got an e-mail from a man named Aaron. No one I know betrayed people with brain injury any more than Aaron did. But I do believe in forgiveness because all of us, myself included, have misfired and made our mistakes. Yet when he wrote to me saying that even though I “fucked things up (at some point years ago)” he is willing to assist me. In response, my instinct was to offer to kick his ass.
But then I thought of Michael and realized that the unhealthy part of Aaron deserves no space in my head. Perhaps he doesn’t deserve these sentences other than to serve as an example of those we all run into in life who deserve to be tossed to the curb – or forgiven if he or others were able muster up the courage to apologize. I truly do believe in forgiveness.
At any rate, thanks for listening today. More soon. Take care of yourselves.