Humility

Some would be scantily clad if only clothed in humility.”
Author unknown.

Inspiration indeed comes from many places. The above quote was displayed on the local church billboard. It’s not original, but it’s great.

Humility is a virtue. It is a value. It is a moral construct. It is also woefully absent in today’s world.

Webster defines humility as a modest or low view of one’s own importance. How many people do you know that act in accordance with this?

It’s difficult today. We live in the “selfie” era. The age of “look at me”. Social media has created an atmosphere of constant exposure, of the creation of celebrity, which is merely the status of being famous for being famous. No merit requested or required. We measure our worth by the number of followers we have, many of them not unlike WordPress.com followers…I follow you in hopes that you will follow me.

Sigh…

I find myself wanting to reach out to some people and tell them to “get over themselves”. Explain to them that I know who they are, what I want to know is what do they do? Do you contribute to society at large or do you use society to contribute to you? The least accomplished generation is also the most documented.

I am a firm believer that our deeds define us. I believe in Service. I believe that we are, in large part, here for the benefit of each other. Sure, some cynic will ask, “if we’re here for others than what are others here for”. That is when I am forced to amend it and say, “we are here for each other.”

I used to be an enormous follower of Ayn Rand. Her philosophy of Objectivism appealed to my conservative sensibilities. She taught that man is innately a creature of reason, craving accomplishment and achievement. She consequently dismissed the less accomplished in our world as victims of their own choices and should be left to pull themselves up and only then will they be worthy. I broke with her on this. By that logic, screw the addict, screw the homeless and screw anyone else who made a mistake in life. She called for the embracing of selfishness. While I do understand what she meant, that we owe it to ourselves to chase our own happiness, she neglected to touch on the value-added proposition of the achievement felt when helping someone. Most especially those that have nothing to offer you in return. I have experienced this and it is an achievement indeed. It made me a better person.

Today, people will step over a bleeding body in the street. They will film a person getting beaten and bullied and not attempt to help. The “hits” on the YouTube video matter more than helping another human being. They will blame the media, the video game, the music of the era but will never acknowledge that they only care about something in relation to how it affects them. They would be naked and cold if only clad in their humility.

Chase your goals. Work towards your dream. Achieve and accomplish. But remember that as you climb the ladder it is important that you remember not to kick on the way up what you may have to kiss on the way down. People are not stepping stones, they are our fellow residents on this earth. Our deeds are forever, and they are how we are remembered. The best deeds are anonymous ones, they are the embodiment of charity. It doesn’t matter how many people know what it is that you did…you’ll know. If someone finds out, be humble. Think less about yourself and more for others.

Think of your upcoming funeral. Will someone say, in hushed tones, “I can’t believe there are so few people here, she had a huge Instagram following and thousands of FB friends.”

Stay humble and fully clothed my friends, it’s worth it in the end.


Don’t let him win

A team of doctors frantically work to save the life of the patient on the table. One of the doctors yells “Don’t let the bastard win!”
Later, an observer to the scene leaned in to a doctor and asked “What did he mean, ‘Don’t let the bastard win?’ Who was he talking about?”
The doctor calmly replied, “Death. The bastard is Death.”

This was a scene from MASH, one of my all time favorite shows. The doctor was none other than “Hawkeye” Pierce. The part of Death was played by, well, Death of course. A character that transcends a TV show, it is a very real thing.

And it is a Bastard.

I remember the first time I saw that episode, it resonated deeply with me. I caught it on re-runs the other night and it knocked me out of my chair. It spoke to me.

I have been a obstinate, stubborn, insanely driven lover of a good fight my entire life. The best way to get me to do something, my father always joked, was to tell me that I couldn’t do it. Through the years I became known for it, and as my health deteriorated, it became my calling card. When I met a challenge, I overcame it. I found that it inspired people, and that was a role that I could live with.

Now, I don’t have a lot of challenges or enemies. Not much is staring me in the face. With the possible exception of my mortality. It’s taunting me, telling me to lie down and accept its inevitability. To just go with it. After all, it says teasingly, it’s only a matter of time after all.

Fuck you, you bastard. I’m not listening.

I see people every day that have given up. They are just going through the motions, waiting for death. Not me, man. I’m scouring for donors, I’m exercising, I’m being positive because it’s only one of the two choices I have.

So many days I have felt tired and weak. So many days I have sat on the sofa unable to do anything. So many nights I have laid in my bed, sleepless and exhausted counting reasons to go on vs giving up. The term “quality of life” bounces around in your head during those moments. When you don’t feel well, life can not feel like it’s worth living. You can even begin to welcome the sweet release of death.

I’ve been close to death 3 times in my life. I’m not scared of it. I’m also not ready for it. I have a lot of people in my corner who want me around. So it’s up to me to get myself in a place in which I want to be around.

Today, I started week 3 of my workout routine. Treadmill, kettlebells, pushups and resistance bands. My strength is pathetic, my stamina is woeful and my body begs me to stop. I pushed through and now I feel like I have accomplished something. I did more than I was able to on week 1. That is forward progress.

If death is coming for me, he needs to know that it won’t be without a fight. I’m not letting the bastard win.

people watching

Hey there, I see you. Don’t think strangely of me if we make eye contact. Yes, I know it’s Saturday night and I am indeed in a booth alone. I’m not staring at you, I promise. I’m just people watching. It’s what I do. For a brief moment in time, you won’t even notice, I will simply absorb, perhaps steal a tiny portion of this moment from you. If you let me do my thing, I will move on to someone else in their room and I will steal moments from them.

It’s just one dinner, one cocktail or appetizer on one day of your life. It’s just one moment. But to me it’s more, I’m incredibly invested in it. You may not think of it as I do, but once this moment is gone all you will have is a memory. You may underestimate how precious that memory will be, but I don’t. See, I am not old enough to say that I will never be happy again, but I know that I am old enough that certain moments are forever past, others beyond my reach.  Vicariously is the only way I will experience them again.

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I see you, sir. The young guy with the pretty wife and 2 young children. You are having dinner. Your daughter is trying to get your attention for approval on the puzzle she just completed on her placemat. You’re on your phone. I would trade a thousand tomorrows to have one like you are having. Moments when I was a giant to them and my approval was everything. What you don’t know is a lot of the time I also was too wrapped up in what I was doing to pay attention to them. I want them back, all of them. Please, put the phone down. The text can wait. That disappointed look on her face…you can change that. If you don’t appreciate this moment, may I?

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I turn my attention to the young couple in the corner booth, barely able to keep their hands off of each other. Don’t mind me for staring, I’m not a creep I swear. It’s just that I can’t get over the way you are looking at each other. As if one would simply melt if the other left the table. It must be wonderful to be in love…would you tell me about it? You see, I don’t think that I have ever looked into someone’s eyes as you two are now. I want to but I doubt it now. I think we skipped that part and went right to bitterness and resentment. If it pleases you, could you do better than we did? Regardless, can I just enjoy yours for a while?

I catch the eye of Mr. Successful businessman at the bar. We nod and we then both look away. I see your $1000.00 suit, your Presidential Rolex and the drink that was poured from the top shelf. You clearly are doing great for yourself. Perhaps you are celebrating a promotion, a big close or merger. To your credit, you look like a guy with it all together. I’m happy for you. I struggled with money and success for my whole career. When I finally got close to wearing a smile like yours, I had to stop working. I hope you have something else in your life that makes you happy besides money. She’s a cruel mistress. But still, cheers. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous.

I take a sip of my drink and I zoom in on the happy couple at the other end of the bar. Older, smiling, looking at each other fondly as they speak. You are a couple that has been together for a long time. Your love has stood the test of time. Maybe you had it easy, but maybe you struggled with the marriage-crushing burdens of children, finances and work. If you did or didn’t you look like you made it through. I always wanted a love like yours. I hoped to someday say, in a crowded banquet hall, the words “I have been married to this beautiful woman, my best friend for 50 years” and soak in the applause.  It just didn’t work out that way. I am about to be, on Monday, the first member of my family ever to get divorced. It’s too late for me, but I’m really happy for you. If you look my way I’m not staring, I’m simply thinking about my three favorite things…

Could’ve
Should’ve
Would’ve

Who am I you ask? What am I doing here? I’m harmless I swear. You see, I am the petty thief of your moments. My satchel is full for now and I must go home.

Something big between my legs…conclusion

When I left off, I was lying in the woods, behind a rusty guardrail on a sparsely traveled road. Unconscious. If you would like to catch up you can here.

“Bill… can you hear me?” a strange voice boomed over me. It was noisy and chaotic, I was freezing and disoriented. The surface I was lying on was incredibly uncomfortable and I attempted to shift my weight. A tsunami of pain washed over me and I cried out. Several sets of hands suddenly were on me forcing me to sit still. Again, the booming voice called out to me. I opened my eyes to see 8-10 faces, all staring at me with anticipation.

“Where am I? ” It was then that I realized that I was wearing an oxygen mask. I tried to reach to take it off when I realized that my arms were strapped to my sides.

“Bill please don’t try to move. You’ve sustained a serious back injury and you are in a prone position until we can determine the severity.”

I think I next asked about my bike. He dodged the question.

med students

A nurse burst into the room. We’ve got his dad on the phone, he says the patient has kidney disease. I heard a quick exchange between them and before I knew it my shorts were at my ankles and I was being catheterized. I have two powerful memories of that moment. The pain of a plastic tube going the wrong way up an exit brought me to full consciousness right away and I realized that I was in the presence of about 10 medical students.

Embarrassing. My second regret is that I didn’t have the mental acuity to make a good joke such as “aren’t you going to buy me dinner first?” I don’t remember much after that. I either blacked out again, was anesthetized or I fell asleep. My next memory is of being in a stuffy hospital room in traction.

My parents were my first visitors. I managed to find the strength to thank my father for the heads up that led to me being “pantsed” in front of a team of medical students. We laughed a little about that one but laughing and fractured vertebrae equaled agony so we kept the joking to a minimum. Soon after, a wave of my friends arrived with thoughtful gifts such as books and dirty magazines. Their visits were helpful but I was in a funk. Then, on the afternoon of my second day, a cute little blond poked her head in my room. It was Cheryl. She had called my house and my father had told her what had happened.

She came into the room with the facial expression of a woman delivering a cancer diagnosis. Despite her dour demeanor, I lit up. I was so happy to see her. She proceeded to profusely apologize for what happened. I assured her that it was in no way her fault, hell I would do it again. As her visit would reveal that would not be necessary. She told me that we can’t see each other anymore because she wanted to “make it work” with her boyfriend. That was exactly the dick-slap I needed at that time. Of course, I didn’t know that the next day I would get another one. I received a call from my employer. Because I had not shown up for work without a call I was terminated. That was the good news. I also learned that the bargain-basement health plan that my company provided did not cover an accident that wasn’t work-related. Believe it or not, health care has improved dramatically. This was a deplorable policy that is now illegal. I would accrue over $27,000 in medical bills from the accident.

I spent 2 1/2 weeks in that hospital. I had a collapsed lung, 4 fractured vertebrae, 3 broken ribs, a broken wrist, a concussion and “road rash” on 70% of my body. A muscle shirt, jean shorts, and sneakers may have been a great choice for fucking in a van, but it was a poor choice to ride in that day. They were picking rocks and pebbles out of my ass for a week. I was in traction for 8 days and the pain was excruciating. As I laid there high on pain-killers, watching TV and wishing I was anywhere else I attempted to piece together the moments after I blacked out. I had so many questions.

I cringed at the memory of the moment when I gasped for air and failed. I really thought I was going to die. Why didn’t I? I asked my Dr. and he explained the medical phenomenon of your body going into “shock”. Incredibly, my body sensed that I was losing control and it “took over” my panic and shut me down. It enabled me to breathe and consequently survive until I was found.

I wanted to know who found me. Remember, this is before cell phones. Was it a good Samaritan driving by that saw my bike and found a nearby house to call 911? I don’t remember a house in the area that I went down. In addition, how long was I lying in a ditch before they saw me and how much time elapsed before the ambulance arrived? I had no memory of the ambulance ride. It was a blank. I still don’t know nor will I ever.

The last question that nagged me, and does to this day was who was the asshole that hit me and why did he leave me there? He had to have seen the crash. To my knowledge, no arrest was ever made. I still harbor an unhealthy bitterness towards that sonofabitch.

I would wear a back brace for 6 months after the accident. I was out of work for a year.  I had to deal with many issues during recovery including lower back issues resulting from compensating my posture to ease the pain. I still struggle with it to this day but I don’t dwell on it because my ever walking again was once in question.

I still love motorcycles. I will ride one again. The only reason I don’t have one now is money. I also believe in helmet laws. My father recovered my helmet, it was cracked in half. Despite all of it, when I can afford it I will again enjoy the sensation of driving that only an iron steed can provide. Amazingly, the memories of my riding days are still fun ones. Sun on my skin, wind in my face and bugs in my teeth. Cheryl on the back with her tiny arms wrapped around, sexy-talking me while holding me tight, damn I will never forget my times with her. Whenever I see a bike, which if you recall is what started this story, I smile.

As I do when I see a Nurse’s uniform. Did I mention that I began dating one of the medical students immediately after the crash? She slipped me her number as she wheeled me out of the hospital when I was released. I suppose she liked what she saw when I was “pantsed” and catheterized. She was fun.

But that, my friends. is a story for another day.

fini.

Something big between my legs…part 3

To bring you up to speed, you can catch up here .

I had just been asked, nay, commanded by my captivating temptress to meet her at a destination some 25 miles away for a steamy rendezvous. Having absolutely no control over which head was doing the thinking, I jumped on my motorcycle and rolled out of my driveway on my way to what was certain to be another afternoon of memorable debauchery.

The route I needed to take was largely highway followed by a series of back roads that seemed slow and endless, as if designed to discourage the impatient from traveling them, therefore preserving the quaint little towns they rolled through. I hated highway riding on the motorcycle but looked forward to the side roads. And of course the destination.

Massachusetts drivers are notoriously rude and aggressive and bikes often become victim to overzealous tailgaters and lane-changers. Despite the hormones raging through my body, I maintained a safe speed on the 2-lane highway for the entire 18-mile stretch. Speed wasn’t my thing. I rode to experience, to savor, to be a part of the road and everything around it. This made me a major burden and obstacle to other drivers. As expected I was passed as if sitting still several times and I was cut off more than my fair share of times. I wasn’t angry, I took great satisfaction knowing that my destination likely held way more fun in store than theirs.

As I got closer, the soaring seagulls above me and the salty taste of the air stinging my face teased my sense of urgency. I would be pulling off of the highway soon. Before I knew it I was at my exit and I pulled off. The treacherous part of my journey was over and the scenic part was upon me. I downshifted, felt my steed angrily and loudly object and began the last leg of my journey.

The road was one of those roads that you can lose yourself in. With few stop signs, an abundance of woodland briefly interrupted by the occasional beautiful home on each side, it is a road that you could “zone out” and not remember riding it but know you loved it. I was coasting along, leaning into the winding corners when I noticed in my left mirror a car coming up on me very quickly. I tensed up a bit, I wasn’t the most experienced rider and tailgaters made me very anxious. He got on my rear wheel pretty close and I knew I had to let him by me, but where? There were no houses in sight and the shoulder was soft and loose. After one very anxious and angry mile, I spotted a pull off. I could see from a distance that it was a scenic spot that many people used to pull off and enjoy the view (the sand dunes were visible at this point). I could see that it was all dirt and rocks so I signaled and slowed in preparation to turn off.

As I shifted down to pull onto the shoulder the driver behind me accelerated. Underestimating my speed he hit my left leg and foot rest. My bike and I sharply shot to the right and plunged into a section of deep sand. My bike stopped. I didn’t. I was thrown from the bike and my last recollection was of slamming into a old, rusty guardrail. I hit it and rolled down an embankment where I vividly recall frantically gasping for air futiley three times, realized that breathing wasn’t possible, thinking to myself “I’m dead” and then blacking out.

to be continued…

Something big between my legs…cont’d

schwing

Hopefully you read my last installment and you are hanging on like I did when I was 13 reading Penthouse forum. Unlike those stories, this actually happened. Tune in here for part 1. Here is where I left off

I had just been propositioned by a beautiful, sensuous and did I mention older (?) woman at work. Up until this point I thought that we were only playing around. Surely a woman ten years my senior is out of my league. It’s akin to a dog chasing a car…what would he do if he caught it? Slowly realizing that this was for real I kicked the remaining vendors the hell off of my dock for lunch. One vendor saw the exchange between us and gave me a coy smile as he left. I locked up, punched out and headed for the Leggs van, or as I have forever known it as, the original “shaggin’ wagon”.

It was running. As I approached the window I saw that the driver’s seat was empty. I looked in and a voice called out

“in the back!”

I went to the back of the van, opened the panel doors and she motioned for me to hop in. After what seemed like seconds of small talk, she began tearing my clothes off. Nothing, I repeat nothing like this had ever happened to me in my life. I immediately knew that every sexual experience I had had up to this point was with girls. I was now with a woman. She truly rocked me to my foundation that afternoon. When it was over, she nonchalantly got dressed and informed that she had to finish her route. I checked my body for skid-marks,  put out a couple of small fires, got dressed and went back to work.

walk-of-shame

As I walked back to the market I asked myself, was I just used for sex? My brain responded immediately with a profound “what’s your point? Go with it!”

For the remainder of the afternoon, and I suppose of the entire week before I would see her again I was consumed by the memory of that day in the van. I was curious what would happen when I saw her again. Was it a one-time thing or the beginning of many? I was a man obsessed. I was also becoming an overnight legend. I was spotted getting in and out of the van and it didn’t take long before my name was immediately followed by “the guy who banged the Leggs lady.” You may choose to believe me or not, but I didn’t welcome the notoriety. I respected women as much then as I do now and I was a gentleman. But it was out there none the less.

Friday afternoon would roll around again and like clockwork, she showed up at 11:30. We exchanged smiles as she came in with her dolly stacked high with product. It was taller than she was. She went about her business and I was very busy with deliveries. As she left she handed me her paperwork to sign. I reviewed everything, signed off on it, kept my copy and gave her back her copies. She handed me a piece of paper and said:”this copy is for you” and winked. I looked down, it was an invitation to meet her at  “The Cove” a popular section of beach in a town nearby at 8:00. Scrolled at the bottom was “bring the bike”.

In the days before cell phones, it was exceedingly difficult to coordinate meetups like this so I asked her how I would find her. She told me to look for the van.

Thus began a tumultous, wild ride that I would never forget. We met up at various places; my house, no-tell motels, and of course the van. But I didn’t take the time to notice that we never actually went in any establishments, we always met outside of places. I figured that she was outdoorsy and loved the summer. I did as well so I went with it. We rode my bike, had incredible sex all over the east coast of MA and hit the repeat button as often as possible. Life was indeed good that summer.

One Friday I decided to take the day off. I had some friends over and we were hanging out in my backyard. My home phone rang (remember no cells then) and it was Cheryl. She was calling from the market.

“Why aren’t you working?” she asked.

“I took the day off. I forgot Friday was your day.”

“I want to see you. I showed up today expecting lunch in the van and you weren’t there. You owe me now.” Her voice was throaty, sexy and incredibly matter of fact. I had never met such an assertive woman. Parts of me were scared stiff. Well, one to be exact.

just go

I explained to her that I had friends over. She simply told me to get on my bike and meet her at a market about 25 miles away. She “needed” me. I told her to hold on and updated my boys on the situation. They unanimously agreed that I would be the world’s biggest putz if I didn’t take this opportunity.

I told her to give me 45 minutes, got rid of the boys and fired up the Honda. It was a hot day, I was in a hurry and I decided that the sneakers, tank top and shorts would have to do. I was off for another afternoon of Van-rocking debauchery.

Little did I know that I wouldn’t make it to see her that day.

to be continued…

Something big between my legs

This is a re-post. I was perusing my older posts and I noticed that almost all that read and commented on this, with the notable exception of a few of you, are no longer active on my page. This is one of my favorite series and I hope some of my newer readers read and enjoy it. It was sure fun for me to write.
Because it really happened.

I was driving on a very scenic, winding road today. I had gone to run some errands and I decided to take the long way home. I was alone on the road for a good while, enjoying the cross-breeze through the open windows of the cab of my truck. Eventually, I approached a group of bikers, all on late-model Harley’s. They were taking their time, driving the speed limit, not in a hurry as they navigated the challenging curves the road offered. Respectfully, I kept a good distance between my bumper and the bike in front of me.

It’s “Bike Week” here in NH. Bikers from many neighboring states visit the Lakes Region of NH, primarily concentrated on the area in and around Lake Winnepesaukee. Bike Week has been a standing institution in NH for decades. It has evolved from a drunken, bloody week of hell-raising to an enormous gathering of bikers from all socio-economic backgrounds, all celebrating everything that is the motorcycle. Local businesses prep, advertise and rely on the revenue of this event. My Mom and Dad used to go as well.

fat chick

I personally think that nothing screams ‘Murica more than thousands of loud, shiny 2-wheeled stallions ridden by men in helmets or merely bandanas and sunglasses on bikes ranging from choppers to full-dressed cruisers with women of wildly varied levels of attractiveness, decorum and let’s face it, weight class. You are almost guaranteed to get flipped off and flashed at least once during this event. The problem is that some of the “flashers” would be well advised to keep them under the shirt.

It is truly a sight and a “people watcher’s” paradise.

Today, as my peaceful road morphed into a crowd of motorcycles I was in no hurry. I let them pass. I respect them and know how to keep my distance. I was now on a different road. Memory Lane.

I once had a bike, and although it was only for a brief, fleeting period it was one of the happiest times of my life. Every time I think about my riding days I’m not going to lie, I get a bit aroused. Seem unusual? Not when you hear this story.

In 1987 I worked at a local supermarket. I had been there for many years and had been promoted to Receiving Manager. The RM is the guy who takes deliveries from vendors and makes sure no monkey business is happening. I dealt with bread guys, the Hostess Guy, the milk guy etc., everything went through me. It was a great job. In the summer months, I would ride my motorcycle, a glimmering Honda CB650 which was a real nice bike in its day and park it on the loading dock so that I could keep an eye on it. It made me happy.

One vendor in particular was the Leggs pantyhose driver. I don’t think they are around anymore but in the day they sold their pantyhose in egg-shaped containers. They were also notorious for almost exclusively hiring smoking hot women to drive their trademark Vans. Our driver was no exception. Cheryl was a gorgeous woman of about 33 years old when I met her (I was 22). Five foot nothing, blonde hair, a cute smile and a posterior cortex that would make Perez Hilton straight (OK I exaggerate). Every time she made a delivery, she would progressively escalate her flirtatiousness towards me a little more. I was helpless to stop it. When she walked away, I truly couldn’t take my eyes off of her. How’s the saying go? “I hate to see you go but I love to watch you leave?”

One day, she motioned to my motorcycle outside and asked me if it was mine. I told her it was. Her reply floored me. “I like motorcycles, it’s something big between my legs.”

My only response, after rolling my tongue up and forcing it back into my mouth was “I”m taking lunch soon, care to join?”

schwing

She looked at me and began walking out the back door. Transfixed as always by her gait, I was surprised when she did a hair flip, looked over her shoulder and said “meet me in my van.”

to be continued…