Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A life well-lived. 9/22/2010

I am sitting at my computer listening to accompanied by Skooter alternately snoring and passing gas. The only difference between us is the snoring.

In the past 24 hours I have I started and discarded half a dozen writings, not really committing to any of them. As this blank Microsoft Word page stares back at me while I wait for the combination of an energy drink and Vicodin to inspire me, I realized what I must write about today.

I just passed my fifty-eighth birthday with as little fanfare as the previous fifty-seven. It is depressing to do the math as to how many more of these events I can expect. I am not sure why I should be so inclined as I have wasted so much of my life doing nothing of consequence. I sometimes believe it is a curse being blessed with innate intelligence that has not translated into success, through my own lack of ambition and imagination. Don’t worry, in spite of my self-loathing, that is not what I am writing about. At least not today.

I am going to use this page to celebrate; who I think is one of the most amazing people who has ever blessed this cruel and beautiful planet. You have heard of this person, but unless you are a fan, as I am, you probably don’t know his whole story. I am sure I am leaving some things out, but I will give you enough information to make you say “wow.” Any of these accomplishments would fill a life for many:

World Class Athlete: Appeared in Sports Illustrated's "Faces In The Crowd" for his achievements in collegiate rugby union, football, boxing, and track and field.

Phi Beta Kappa, graduating BA, summa cum laude in Literature.

Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford, Bachelor of Philosophy in English Literature.

Army Officer, Helicopter Pilot, Ranger.

Offered and declined the position as a professor of English Literature at West Point.

Grammy Award Winning Singer/Songwriter – wrote some of the most beloved songs of all time.

Golden Globe nominated actor. Appearing in nearly 100 films.

Posed for Playgirl magazine.

In addition to these accomplishments, he somehow found the time to drink a bottle and a half of Jack Daniels daily until he quit in 1976 (no easy feat on either account), date Janis Joplin, Barbara Streisand, Carly Simon, marry 3 times, and father 8 children (no whiskey dick there) .

At this point, the more astute of you know that I am talking about Kris Kristofferson. He is now 74 years old and has led a full life for several men.

You would assume that discussing this amazing person would inspire me to action and get my own life re-energized. You would think that. Nope, I am going to join Skooter for a nap. Kris made me very tired.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Through the Eyes of an Artist - 9/4/2010

This afternoon while Skooter was walking me, I saw a lady snapping photos in my neighborhood. A short discussion revealed that she was from the Midwest and this was her first visit to the south. She said she found the scenery breathtaking. Being a Seinfeld fan, I know that “breathtaking” can be interpreted many ways (Lobster episode). She told me that she was an artist and planned to use the photos she was taking as subjects for a series she planned on painting, called “Southern Exposures”. She caused me, for the first time, to actually look at where I live. When she had gone, I snapped a few photos with my crappy cell phone camera. I was motivated, but still too lazy to go in a get my camera.

I have always appreciated living on the water, but have never paid much attention to that which I see every day, but don't really look at.

All of these were taken within a couple of hundred yards of where I sleep, grill, and sit at the computer.

She was looking through the eyes of an artist. I don’t look at the world through the eyes of an artist, primarily because I have no artist skills. I peaked as an artist when I made a turkey from the outline of my hand in Kindergarten. But today, this chance encounter encouraged me to focus on the scenic splendor that surrounds me every day, but I take for granted.

Reflecting (as I always do) on this revelation, I realized that I should apply this same concept to my own life. I am mostly disappointed in my “little” life. I let days, months, years pass without appreciating the simple joys that I experience. They go relatively unnoticed. As this woman taught me, “every photo doesn’t have to be the Grand Canyon,” I suppose every hit doesn’t have to be a home run. Sometimes you win by dribbling one through the infield. As a person who has not hit many out of the park, maybe I should be happy just getting to first base once in a while. I am guessing this metaphor will be lost on both my readers, but it sounded good when it was inside my head.

Will this lesson stay with me? Probably not. It may just be the combination of an energy drink and OxyContin that has provided me with this clarity. Perhaps there was no woman there at all. There usually isn’t.

Even my dumpster is surrounded by beauty.