Silly Grins

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What Motivated Us...

(Part II)

For anyone who is just now ‘clicking in’, you’ll probably want to read Part I.

Otherwise, here it is.

What Motivated Us…

Rainy season comes just before summer
Working in the rain isn’t a problem, but it’s the drying off that can be a bitch 
The wetness sticks like memories that just don’t want to go away
And the summer sun seems late this year

The Gentleman had been kind enough to introduce his lowly neighbor to the joy of surfing, all with a sense of dry humor.  A sense of humor…that’s got to be the reason, the reason for lending out a ten-foot fiberglass longboard that seemed to somehow weigh a ton.   

You see, our Gentleman, though he owned maybe a dozen boards, didn’t seem to be very good at fixing dings. The borrower he’d loaned to the kid to learn on had been resurfaced with several different colors of coat at a time. That thing weighed a ton. Actually turned out to be good to practice on (as long as you remember to cover your head when going over the falls - fuck that hurts even when you do). 

But this isn’t about boards, or the gift of being introduced to the ocean. 
This is about the soft-spoken English Gentleman, a tribute of sorts.

You see,
If he had and a chip on his shoulder,
He had damn good balance
Because no one ever saw him waver
So when the news came that he fell,
None of us wanted to believe it at first
And we still don’t...

Because he didn’t trip and stumble
His balance was too good for that

When he jumped
He was sure to take enough 
Enough weight to get the job done 
All that baggage

Some of us guess that it wasn’t an act of violence,
As it sometimes is when hatred gets mixed in

He was a private kind of guy

Maybe he wanted to stop the pain
That was obvious 

He was on anti-depressants, renown for their debilitating side effects
Heard he managed to get through half the bottle that he washed down with whiskey or scotch… 
Never got to the bottom of that bottle either
Not that it makes any difference
Nailed it in one shot 

He lived in the sky 
Even though he was on the 6th floor
It was attached to a 7th heaven 
Some of us remember when he moved up from one of the lower levels
One that was closer to the ground

Whether or not openly admitting in conversation, 
As men rarely do, 
We sensed the pain...but not suffering 
Because he never complained 
A private kind of guy

How much could anyone have asked for?

A decent job? Summer and winter holidays lasting unheard of lengths this day and age? A budget for 'research'? Less than a two-and-a-half-minute stroll to the Pacific, a place that could be seen from a roof patio larger than the shoe boxes most people try to live in while bragging about how they are somehow enjoying the ‘city life’? Single? No mortgage? WTF?!

He had it all...and then some

People usually do this the other way around. Maybe the backwards culture rubbed off. I mean, he appeared to have it all. A place in the sky, quite a collection of boards that each had apparently been given names. Custom made.  Told a story once how he’d been down at some beach, maybe in California, checking out the waves and happened to start talking to this guy who reminded of him of someone famous. “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Mr. X?” And the response, “Yeah, he’s my dad. Not too many people remember him. Man, if you ever need a board, just let us know and we’ll bump you up on the list and give you a deal.” He had some good stories. He was just that kind of guy.

He was known for being distant 
And far from talkative 
But when he spoke
You’d always feel like you were getting a bit of history 
From someone with wisdom who was really 'living it'

So, when we heard, 
None of us wanted to believe it
Yet, no one could blame him
Still...we wondered
And a few of us wondered out loud,
"If only he could have talked a bit more..."

So, when the guy who found some extra time on his hands at the end of the last chapter went to ask for Some kind of guidance (anything-for-christ's-sake!) even if it wasn't of the religious nature, what came next somehow seemed appropriate. 

The following passage from Cather's My Antonia was read:

‘Oh, great and just God, no man among us knows what the sleeper knows, nor is it for us to judge what lies between him and Thee.’

And no more was said
Men are like that
We don't do grief well
And no one was judging
Nothing but heartfelt respect for that son-of-a-bitch

Maybe he did get those chains off...we will never know. 


  1. free like a bird, soaring high through the skies

  2. To fly like an eagle. To the sea.

  3. Still...there are those who do face the ugly and, in doing so, find it beautiful. (Two posts away)

  4. you have a very good memory.

  5. Thank you for the undo praise. Without the almost instant memory of the Internet tool, there would be not way to check on pop-culture references that seem to define the lives of us who maybe ate a bit too much of the spoon-fed pseudo-reality the media has been only too readily to served up. The minds that managed to push the limits while playing by 'the rules' (and thus making a mockery of those rules)...those minds are pretty cool for their ability to see.