November is upon us. Where did the year go? This is typically the month that we all give thanks to someone or something. And, it’s quite common for people across America to start acting a bit nicer to one another. (Well with the exception of when you’re trying to find a parking spot at the mall close to the door so your don’t freeze your ass off that is.)This brings me to this week’s blog.
The other day, I don’t remember if it was a Tuesday or Thursday, I saw a homeless man pushing a shopping cart along the sidewalk. His prize possessions spilling out of the purloined metal cage faster than he could bend over and pick them up. This is the trigger for today’s blog.
A few weeks ago I saw a homeless man and woman fighting in the middle of the street. She was screaming at him and he was screaming at her. Each of them oblivious as to what the other was saying. They then started to slap each other around, that is until a police drove by. Then the woman headed East and the man headed west. This is one reason for today’s blog.
A man was standing on the corner preaching what he thought were Bible verses. They weren’t, how do I know? Simply put, I don’t think it says anywhere in the Bible that Jesus took a flame thrower to the car that was blocking this man’s alley/home. Then again, if Jesus had a flame thrower in the Bible he may have had a lot easier time of convincing the Sagesies and Pharisees that he meant business. This is another reason for today’s blog.
Recently, a skate park was opened up in the City of Portsmouth. I and a few of my co-workers had the opportunity to drive past the place several times. We saw kids on skate boards and riding their bikes on the ramps and having fun. There were also some homeless people sitting on park benches watching the kids. Another reason.
People, we are not in 1982 anymore.
I remember not too long ago, in another life it seems, I was living in Wisconsin, be-bopping my way through my high school years in a daze caused by both legal and illegal substances. Days spent fighting with my sisters, Mother, Father and even some friends. Which followed by nights spent sleeping in abandoned cars, tree forts, houses of soon to be ex-girlfriends and on occasion at the Jesuit Brothers dormitory or the Nuns Dormitory of a local Catholic High School.
In those long and lonely hours I would reflect on my current plight and the causality of how it is I came to be homeless for a few short hours, days and sometimes weeks. Back then, in my juvenile mind, my situation was never my fault. I was always the victim. Never mind the fact that I failed to mow the grass or take out the trash. Never mind that I skipped not just one class in school but several days. How could it be my fault if I cussed out a teacher, a cop, a neighbor? I was innocent. I was just a kid who didn’t know any better. I was a victim of my circumstances, no one was around to love me, care for me, and teach me right from wrong.
What a pathetic loser I was.
Sometimes, Ok, most of the time, I’m amazed that I ever even made it not just to the age of 43 but that I made it past my 20th birthday. Why? Simple, that teenage kid is still living inside of me and he still has a whole lot of that angst left in him. Yeah, occasionally he rears his ugly, pimply faced head and screams “OH! PITY ME!” And when he does, I just want to take a gun and blow his brains all over the interior walls of my skull. (Hm, can one commit mental homicide on ones younger self?)
Honestly, I don’t know how it happened or why it happened but I didn’t succumb to the numbskull that ruled my life in the late 1970’s, through the 1980’s and even an early part of the 1990’s. I made it out of the predicament that I’d brought on myself pretty much unscathed and with a determination and will that keeps me going to this very day. When everyone in my life tells me to give up, that I’m not going to amount to anything, or I’m destined for failure, I dig down inside of me and continue doing what I’m doing, what I know is right. And more times than not I succeeded.
I wish I could say I knew where I got this drive from, but I can’t. I know there are people in my family who are the same as me and some in my family that are on the complete opposite compass point as me. Maybe I learned it from them. Maybe… But I don’t know.
I see people in bad situations, like living out of a stolen grocery cart, or fighting with their homeless, alcoholic street husband, or a person so separated from reality they make up their interpretation of the Bible. And it makes me NOT want to end up like them. It makes me want to work harder, do better, be someone that doesn’t give up.
Maybe it’s a combination of both, but whatever it is, wherever I learned it from, however it got ingrained in my thick headed Polish skull and absorbed into my DNA, for that I am thankful.
Because it’s what keeps me going, keeps me focused even when I don’t think I can go on anymore. When I just want to stop working, fighting, moving, and struggling, The drive and determination of my youth make me go back for more and try harder when everyone says to stop, lie down and just take it. I DON’T. Well, that and a healthy dose of fear of failure.
Have a great week.