No one has ever asked me to write a column. A letter, a paper, a report and a note for the dogsitter, yes, but these sorts of things never stop me. In spite of my lack of invitation, or perhaps in my contrarian way because of that I am going to write one. We'll call it a weekly meditation or an occasional bloodletting or a bi-weekly review. I don't know, but in order to think of myself as a writer any longer I need to actually write. Which I do, but it seems that sharing it should happen. I can't justify that statement.
So let's start with a story. Caveat: All of my stories are made up either wholesale or in part. Often it's just embellishment, but just as often it's bull shit or I fabricate exposition or dialog to round the thing out I never saw firsthand. I have a tremendous ability to expect, a hope for a decency of spirit that I rarely see. I fashion a lot of stories around an entirely made up anti hero who is almost always wrong but has a code.
I have laundry to do. Job hunting that I need to follow up on. Jeans that I should be patching. A table to be re-finishing. Studio time to be sorting out. Kids to do right by. I will, I will..but first this story. It's a story that contains no adventure or discernible parable. It's just thing that happened, or could happen, and i my telling I hope for it to be something that an event cannot be. I hope the events are clear, but ultimately fade into the telling itself. It' about me and how I say it, then you and how you find it.
And I worry about this last thing the most. How you'll find it. I know you didn't ask for it and I left it in a sort of thoughtless place. Here. this page. This endless, un-weeded page that I should go through and minimize, but never do. There are so many fallow and untended things here and I apologize. It's a shabby place to find this. Maybe this evening I will go through and delete all of the useless and self serving posts around here. Yeah, but first - you guessed it - a story.
Listen: I'm approaching this story the only way I know how. I'm telling you all of the things I'm up against and afraid of. It's the only way I know how to do it and now it's here and almost certain to be a let down. Still, here it is:
When I was just a little older than my son is now I remember a thing. It's the first thing I remember and the edges are pretty tattered, but we - my family, at the time two adults of each respective gender and mirror children, a boy and a girl, me youngest - we were in a store. I remember it as a shoe store, but I have no reasons why I think that and I have no evidence to support that. Just impressions.
I was entertaining myself as kids do. Running. I don't really know. Touching things for no reason. At some point I must have felt lost and went for my father and I grabbed him and hugged what I thought was his leg. Then I looked up and realized that I had, instead, the leg of the salesman who was wearing similar pants as my father. I looked up and I saw strange man and I cried.
And that's all I remember. Not how it was resolved or how long I cried or if my parents comforted me laughed or a little of both. See? It's really only scarcely a story. And yet for some reason it has been baggage for the last 37 years. I can only guess why with possible interpretations.
My favorite of those interpretations these days that it means that a part of life or growth involves embracing some things that you think are of a certain fiber until they collapse into a completely different and unexpected substance.
But I hugged my father's leg and then it was not my father's. I'll look at me son and wonder what he's going to experience and what he's going to remember. What he will value or what his memory will value for him like my own inexplicable memory of salesman pants. Maybe I'm just concerned because it seems that everyone is always wearing jeans these days, tat we all sort of dress the same.
I mean, it's pretty much all I ever wear.