Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Skip's Dogma

            I have always tried to keep the many aspects of my life segregated from each other.  Aspects… funny word, because when I say aspects what I really mean are the different “worlds” I live in. Worlds like the one in which I’m a struggling father and husband. Or the world where I’m a waiter or an Exhibit Technician, the world in which I’m in the process of creating as a mediocre writer, and of course the many worlds of my past. A past that includes moving around, getting tossed out of one family or another, my Navy past, my police past and of course all the worlds that contain the various friends I have.

            Usually none of these worlds collide. I’m sort of OCD about that, and I rarely let any one person travel from one of my worlds to another of my worlds. This is done out of a sense of survival and nothing more. I can literally name on one hand how many people have traversed such space and time due to my story telling or literally me dragging the chosen person kicking and screaming into another realm of madness in my mind. There is good reason for this sort of segmentation in my life. I don’t like to get hurt. I’ve been hurt too many times in my life to trust any old drifter full access into my life and all the insanity it has consisted of over the years. (And as I type this, I am listening to a metric-ton of Pink Floyd… can you say “irony”? Good, I knew you could.)

            Here is the thing about this sort of behavior, at least from my non-college educated viewpoint. It becomes extremely habitual and you end up becoming a hypocrite to a lot of people. I am comfortable with being a hypocrite, simply because it affords me the internal peace and privacy I would not have otherwise. Hell, I’ve known people for the past fourteen years and have seen them on an almost weekly basis and they are just now discovering I am married. This is the type of insane control I have over my “worlds”. There are others to whom I have kept so far at arms length that they will never really know who I am or what my name is. I know some of you out there know my true name, but most of you only know me as Skip. Which is cool, since I’ve been going by that moniker for all of my life, it wasn’t until the third grade where I really knew or understood what my birth name was and then it became a point of pride and contention with me to use as a weapon against my teachers in a never ending battle of wills. I lost some of those battles, but I like to think I won the war.

            Also, because of this… dogma? Yeah, I like that, Skip’s Dogma. It takes a lot for me to open up to a person or to even call someone a friend. Usually it takes me going completely bat-shit-nuts in an uncontrollable break down but there are a few exceptions. And those extraordinary exceptional people I run into about once every five to ten years. People who automatically are bonded to me by some unseen force and psychic connection, I treasure those people and those are the people I have on my one hand.

            Sure, I have fond memories of kids who are now adults from elementary school, high school and even my days in the United States Navy. Especially the Navy, a bond was forged there with the men I served with that can never be severed. An umbilical cord forged in the fires of the cold war and the seedy bars and discos across two continents that do not include North America. Those men have seen me at my worst and at my best and I have to say, I would take a bullet for just about any of them (Sorry Brewer and Patrick, you two can die alone and of a horrible disease and I would never shed a tear for you assholes.) But, for the enlisted men who shared the hard times, long hours and weeks long lack of sleep, I would.

            Shit, where was I… oh, yeah… segregated worlds...

            Ok, here is where things get funky, you see, I am also a habitual creature. Habits that to some folks make no sense, and that is ok, I’m fine with people staring at me and then slowly turning away and scratching their heads in either wonder or offensiveness. My skin is thick and I had my feelings removed in bootcamp in 1985. So if you have nothing nice to say about me or to me… go ahead, I am sure it will be answered with the proper offensive response about the origins of how you came into existence. Or, if I like what you said, I may just grab your ass, lick your ear and tell you I love you. Depends on my mood and what you said.

            So, where is all this going? Now that you have some background information.

            Over the past several years my wife, whom I’ve mentioned plenty of times recently, has said, if I, meaning me, ever die and there is a funeral, she would have no clue as to whom most of the people are who attend my service. I always assure her that no one I know or who is close to me would attend my funeral because they all have more important things to do with their busy lives than attend the funeral of some borderline sociopath but she argues to the contrary. All of this stems from the fact I segregate my worlds. (And you will never guess what track is now playing by Pink Floyd… Ok, I’ll tell you so you can continue reading… “Brain Damage”)

            Recently, since my wife is literally brain damaged, she has been a passenger on the life-ride of Skip, and since she is a passenger whom I can’t really ignore or mistreat for fear of ending up sleeping in the gutter or becoming a ghost of the museum, she has unfettered access to certain habitual outings with me. Why? Simple, it’s easier to take her along than deal with trying to explain what I’m doing. Today was no exception. She and I went on a mini-adventure, which is what I consider most of my outings that take me either away from my home or away from my work.

            I can’t speak as to what she was expecting today nor can I say exactly how her day started as I readied myself for another day in my life but I can say she was utterly flabbergasted by her experience and how her passenger status crossed from the world of Wife and Mother to adventurer in an adventurous albeit mundane day with me. A day where once a month I usually treat myself to something that not only brings a smile to my face but also helps out people who have certain issues in life.

            Sharing this experience with her and being able to watch her reactions first hand were beyond priceless. She looked as giddy as a freshman starting their first day of school, as excited as a person landing their first job and as satisfied as any writer I know receiving a check for the first time for something they have poured their heart and soul into. Now, normally, it is either just myself or my daughter and I who share this particular event. But today, things were a bit different and I really wanted to tear down some walls between worlds. Let’s say it was an attempt for us to grow closer together with me opening up a bit where I normally would be inaccessible.

            I’m glad I chose to offer her the insight into some of the more obscure aspects of my life. I don’t know if anyone, including her, is ready for total access to the way I think, or why I act the way I do. But this seems to be a good thing right now and I am not just happy but I am also comfortable with this decision. Truth be told… who really is ready for a carte blanche access into someone else’s life?

            Not me that’s for sure.

            Have a great week.

            Skip Novak.

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