Say I Love You

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I am 66 now. I’ve had four parents. (I was adopted when I was a baby.) None of my parents made it out of their sixties. Two of the four committed suicide. My concern that I don’t have a lot of time left may stand on shaky ground, but it still stands. Strangely enough, I seem to be okay with that.

If willpower plays a role in all this, then I feel good about my chances of reaching 70 and beyond. But right now we have this Novel Covid 19 virus in our midst, and, it seems, I’m in the at-risk group.

(Point of order, if you please. If, like me, you’ve been walking around with a bullet lodged in the prefrontal cortex of your brain for 35 years, you must own-up to having a bit of practice on the feeling at-risk front.)

So, in brief, what to do? Or, were I wearing a tie at the moment, what is one to do?

First, you accept the reality of the experience you’re in, whatever it is, and, for the love of God, do not judge yourself.

And then, for me, my response is to honor my instinct, and my instinct is to pour as much love and kindness and compassion and, in so many ways, most of all, honesty and loyalty, into how I live my life. Anything less would be a betrayal all that I am as a man, and, of equal importance, it would be a betrayal of everyone I’ve loved in my life, and,a betrayal of those who have been good enough to love me.

Tell those you love that you love them. Say it out loud. I know this is not always easy for some. The reality is, saying it out loud is an act of strength.

No doubt some will already know you love them, and for others, what a beautiful thing to learn. Never ever underestimate how much those words can mean to people.

And then, there is this. Those who love you deserve to hear your voice say it.

(Last but not least, I hope those who love you, tell you. You deserve to hear those words too. Promise. They never get old.)

***

For CJL

Tadmuffin Millhouse #1

“A lot of people are rubbish on the loyalty front. I don’t get it.” Our speaker was my good friend of many years, name of Tadmuffin Millhouse. Tadmuffin. How on earth do you not like someone named Tadmuffin Millhouse, I ask you? The man sounds like a cottage!” log-cabin-1886620_1920

We were sitting side by side on an old rock wall flanked by woods on one side and a meadow on the other. We faced the meadow. The movement of a meadow when the breeze has its way is magic to behold – beauty in perpetual motion. Tadmuffin’s chest had puffed up with happy pride when out of the blue I asked him for his views on the importance of loyalty. 

“Too often the script is essentially the same. I’ll hear a woman or man say, “I’m loyal to my family and friends. To all my loved ones,” and then, more times than I’d like to think about, they jump ship the moment any, say, actual real-life loyalty be required.” 

And then, Tadmuffin being Tadmuffin, told me his loyalty. 

“Loyalty comes from our better angels. Spiritual nausea and pain is what disloyalty feels like, experiencing it, or inflicting it. Disloyalty is injustice. Moral injustice. Hell, I’d be loyal to that pleasant looking man walking across the street over there. I can see his wife. They’re laughing. I’d be loyal to her as well. I love being loyal to others. I can’t do anything about lip-service loyalty. Loyalty is an honor to have in one’s marrow. It’s not always easy, and it’s not always fear free, but it is honorable life.” 

Shady in the house

– How long you called Shady?

– All memory long, or thereabouts.

– Nice sound.

– Been trustworthy from jump street, so there’s some humor in it.

– Like jazz notes, the sound. Shay-dee. Shaaaaay-deeee. 

– Saxophone.

– Clarinet, could be.

– Absolutely, yes.

– It’s a good name.

– Thank you, man.

– You’re thinking these days?

– It’s like Benjamin Franklin said when some folks asked him what kind of government the new constitution created. “A republic, if you can keep it.” We’re going to find out if we can keep it.

– This president.

– Does not want the republic.

– Shady’s a good name.

– Thank you.

– Jazz.

– Clarinet.

– Shaaay-deeee.

Congress & Shut The Fuck Up

I’d like to be able to just go ahead and say, Shut the fuck up and not cause any trouble in the process. I mean no disrespect. That said, I write and say my own sentences, thank you very much, and it is not my fault that shut the fuck up is a phrase that can be very helpful on the emotion management front. One of my favorite lines in movies is in Midnight Run, when Robert De Niro’s character says to Charles Grodin’s character, I got two words for you. Shut the fuck up. A classic line, if ever there was one.

Shut the fuck up is a playful phrase with all kinds of fun potential. Just close your eyes (or not) and imagine yourself saying, Shut the fuck up to those you think might just benefit from the experience.

I’d pay good money to walk up to Trump and say, “Yo, orange boy, or whatever the fuck happened to you, shut the fuck up.”

I thank some members of Congress for helping me realize I’d best not to say, Shut the fuck up,  because it is, if these folks are any measure, an apparently deadly form of nuclear-weapon English. After all, members of Congress cower in fear when faced with schoolyard tweet or taunt from Trump. Lyin’ Ted scare the shit out of you, does it? Little Marco, freeze you in place?

To these brave congressional few I say, I’ve got two words for you, shut the fuck up.

A Place For Mom? (What about Dad?!)

Every once in a while a commercial makes me want to yell and break things. Growl. Emit mighty harrumphs into the air.

I do throw a fit when I see A Place for Mom commercials with Joan Lunden (a fine person by any measure).

(What about Dad?! Who finds a place for Dad?!)

With its U.S. Headquarters in Seattle, Washington, A Place for Mom is essentially “400 Senior Living Advisors across the U.S. and Canada” who help you “transition [someone] into senior living,” according to the company’s website.

It may be the best darn company of its kind on planet earth, for all I know.

(I cannot comment on whether the company has expanded to extraterrestrial locations.)

The thing is, I don’t like the company name. Not at all.

Choosing to transition into senior living doesn’t transform an individual into a puddle of helpless flesh and bones. The last thing anyone needs to encounter at a time like that in life is condescension, intentional or not.

And, there’s something else. Best as I can tell, there’s no actual senior living community operated by A Place for Mom. And that’s not fair to Mom. (Or Dad!)