Caught Out in that Crossfire

March 7, 2005

“Well I find myself in reverie
‘Bout what we might have had
And what might have been
We had something going once
That was such a long, long time ago”

Nostalgia is a funny thing. Twenty years ago about the furthest I could look back was three months to an horrendous love affair I’d been in or the ass I made of myself at a party or something utterly trivial but cries out to the world of juvenile angst “MY PAIN IS REAL!”

Today though, having breeched the barrier of four decades of life, nostalgia takes on a whole different meaning. There are deeper things to think about, things like impact and impression and longevity. Most of my friends, funny enough, are either just shy of this mark (and are most likely starting to get a glimpse into what I’m talking about) or just past the mark and have uncovered their own solution to the eternal puzzle.

Me? I think about the lives I’ve impacted, for good or bad. The mistakes I made. The successes I attained. And it makes me realize one very important thing, something I’ve always known but sometimes, in the crossfire of all the bullets life throws at you, gets left behind. Everything in my life that is important, either for better or for worse, centers around the relationships I’ve made. The friends and the enemies tat I’ve encountered. Friends hard won but well worth the wait, or friends lost from bitter mistakes. This, pure and simple, is what defines a man’s life. No wonder John says that the new commandment is to know Christ through his name and TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

In the depths of those heady nights
We would dream of those bright lights
Oh my friend, Oh my friend, Oh my friend

I look back and remember a conversation with a geeky dark, curly headed kid (seven or eight years my junior) and reflect at the time on how there was probably no way I’d be able to take another day listening to this twit drivel on about monkeys in Japanese class. Shows what I know.

I think back on a broken relationship, a young, tender, open-hearted, bright and sensitive beauty and the tears, a bitter goodbye that in a different life, if I’d been but two years wiser, might have gone down a completely different path.

I remember a story about Barbara Streisand and a knife. And yet people thought I was the psycho, when in reality this closet “republican” made me laugh so hard we still get a kick out of it and the story about me threatening to throw our teacher out a two-story window (you had to be there.)

I think about another broken relationship, far more bitter and far more agonizing and from the ashes came the greatest earthly gift I’ve ever received. And even if I was able to give 24 hours a day, 7 days a week every ounce of energy I have, I’d never be able to earn what I got there. (And if you’re one of the people who don’t know my wife then you will have no idea what you’re missing.)

Nostalgia is certainly funny. I pulled out some old tunes today and downloaded them to my iPod (first generation – long before the fad caught on with ‘some’ people.) One song I hadn’t heard in forever got my mind cooking like a truckload of drunk people on a Sunday afternoon during football season. I wanted to share it with everyone (okay, that was a lame generalization, as if EVERYONE reads my idiotic blog.) I normally don’t like to post music, because it’s illegal, so this won’t be up long before I take it down. Listen to it. See what it brings up. See if you get to remember some of those moments.

I will never give in until the day I die
Get myself some independence
Carve out a future with my two bare hands
Oh my friend, Oh my friend, Oh my friend

Complete Lyrics to The Spirit of 76