This is our last dig from the archieves as we celebrate the 400th posting on marc’s blog this week. Featured are two postings. The first is a fun piece that was originally presented on February 13, 2014. It has to do with something most of us fantasize about every now and then, and that’s going back in time and being able to do things all over again. Well, for this posting at least, we are doing precisely that. The second piece is more recent. It’s from last year. I don’t remember all the details but there was a challenge one weekend for bloggers to write about an item they cherish. I chose a tire gauge. A what??!! Go read…
GOING BACK WITH ALL YOUR SH*T
So I was out on the back patio in my thinking chair once more. Not sure it was exactly reincarnation I was thinking about, but it had something to do with going back for a second spin. I suppose many of you are like me when it comes to wanting a second chance. You know, a chance to go back in time and relive a moment, a day or maybe even do your whole life all over again. Of course, we’d want to be transported back with full knowledge, full awareness of who we were and who we became. To live over again while being able to use your personal history to your advantage would be the opportunity of a lifetime—maybe that should be two lifetimes.
There are a few things I would certainly like to correct. You too? I made some wrong decisions; acted inappropriately at times; or simply didn’t understand what I was doing. Given a second chance, I would not make those same mistakes. But, as they say, you can’t go home again. Too bad. All this wealth of knowledge and experience and no opportunity to use it is a woeful waste.
I’ve made reference to a scene in the movie Rocky before (the original Rocky movie). Bergess Meredith plays an old has-been boxer turned trainer, turned corner gym manager. He wearily climbs the steps up to Rocky’s apartment one night and knocks on his door. The younger wannabe champ is less than hospitable to his unexpected guest. But Meredith comes with a mission. He wants Rocky to let him train and manage him for the big fight with Apollo Creed. Rocky isn’t very receptive. He questions Meredith’s motive. Meredith’s response? It’s classic:
“I got all this knowledge. I got it up here (points to his head). I want to give it to you. I want to give you this knowledge. I want to take care of you. I got all this sh*t and I want to make sure that it doesn’t happen to you.”
How many us have “all this sh*t” wallowing in us, too? Crap and circumstance that we experienced and now it dwells like a permanent infection that haunts us for the rest of our lives. The sh*t is all those things we did wrong, or all the wrongs that were done to us. True, we get over most of them, but wouldn’t it be great to be able to go back, knowing what you know, so you could “un-sh*t” your life on the second go-round. Can you imagine what a trip that’d be? I don’t know about you, but I’d buy a ticket, grab all my baggage—especially the heavy pieces—and run like hell to catch that train. WooHoo!
On Something Cherished:
My father was a mechanical engineer. Those are fancy words for draftsman. He stood over a tilted plank of wood each day and produced meticulously detailed illustrations of instruments and gauges that would later be made into blueprints used in the manufacturing of his company’s products. These primarily were tachometers used in a variety of machinery from submarine propellers to large newspaper printing presses.
My dad was a man exceptionally organized and could anticipate just about every detail necessary for the proper planning of any endeavor. I am so like him.
One chilly December afternoon in 1982 I had a flat tire. Back then, you could always get someone to fix a flat at your neighborhood gas station. That’s where I was when my father arrived. He had dropped by the house and upon hearing of my situation, he got back in his car to come join me for moral support.
“Did you measure the pressure they put in the tire?” he asked me.
“No, Dad, my air pressure gauge broke and I suppose they checked it anyway when they fixed the tire,” I responded.
“Well, you should always have one. You never know when you might need it,” he lectured, but in a non-offensive way. This was a man who could pull just about any tool out of his pocket, glovebox or trunk no matter how obscure its function may be. I am so like him.
Two weeks later his chronic asthma partnered with a terribly hard-core cold, forcing a 911 call and a subsequent ambulance ride to the hospital. My wife and my mother were with him at the time. They later told me how he was digging through his pockets while he was strapped to a stretcher and being carried out of their apartment building. He was looking for quarters to give them so they could get through the automated parking gate at the hospital. That was so typical of my father’s way of thinking. There was no expectation then that he would be brain dead by the time they rolled him into the ER. The medics simply did not realize how bad his asthma was and did not force enough oxygen into his lungs. He would never gain consciousness again.
He remained on a respirator all through the Christmas holidays and early in the new year we were finally able to carry out the humane decision to unplug the machine and let nature take its course, which it did within just a few hours.
Later, while visiting my mother, she handed me a bag, explaining it was a small Christmas gift my father had gotten for me. I opened the bag and inside was a new tire pressure gauge. It instantly became a treasured possession because it not only reminds me of him, but also how much of him is in me. And I have come to realize it is that, and not the gauge, that is the true gift from my father that I cherish.