Another week, and yet again, here I am sliding into home plate… Ahh, who am I kidding? I got tagged at first and kept running.. Oh well, today is a big day… it’s been exactly one month since I proposed to the most splendiferous gal in the world, and exactly one month since she said, “Yeah, sure.. why not?”
I thought it would be cool to the tell the story of how Amy and I got engaged… trust me, there is some literary genius in there revolving around fireflies…
But, I decided to save it for another time… So instead, you’re stuck with this! Suckers!!!
Thanks for all the comments last week, it’s very helpful getting feedback… hearing what things you guys like and dont like help me to become better, so dont hold back for the sake of my fragility.
“I….I’ve never done something like this before. It’s what I consider to be… quite outside my comfort zone. But as they say, it’s by stepping out of our comfort zone that we in fact, expand our comfort zone. Right?
And so here I am…. One foot in front of the other…
into the unknown.
I want…. I want to tell you a story…
A story I haven’t told before, so the retelling might be…not good.
I’ll try and remember the important parts, pause for dramatic effect at the emotional parts, and leave out the boring parts.
To begin, my name is Mark.
My parents call me Louis, as does my Birth Certificate.
You can call me Mark…. Or Louis… Free will is a great thing, huh?
There’s…..there is, a famous quote that those in “the know” like to recite… it goes, “There is no such thing as a free lunch….”
I became part of “the know” when I was 9 years old. I had just asked my Dad, who’s name is Bernie, but whom I call Dad, if I could have something or another of great interest.
30 years later and the thing I desired escapes my memory.
So it goes.
But, but, but I do remember…..what my Dad said to me…
He turned to me and said, “Son,”
Oh, I suppose I should clarify… My parents also call me Son. We all wear many hats I suppose…
Which is a peculiar thing to say, don’t you agree? I know many people who never wear hats, and yet I know no-one who wears more than one hat at the same time.
It’s uncomfortable and entirely impractical.
Now I should explain…something…
I know it, but I…
I’m sorry, I’ve entirely lost my place… Would it be okay if I begin again?
Wait, NO!! I remember, Lunch!!
Bernie, my father…
I never actually call him father… it’s too formal, you understand?… I only ever call him Dad.
My Mom calls him Dad, as well, unless she is upset with me or him in which case she calls him Father. More precisely, she calls him “Your Father”.
Which I find peculiar because she also calls my Grandfather “Dad” when talking to him, but calls him Grandfather when talking to me about him, and yet I call him neither.
Hm… my Grandpa, that’s what I call him, likes wearing baseball hats… I’m sure there is something too that.
I don’t like wearing hats, they make my head sweat.
My story! Forgive me… back on point…
Bernie said to me in response to my request for something or another, “Son, there is no such thing as a free lunch.”
The implication is that nothing in life comes for free. It inevitably cost something, to someone, at sometime or another…
Which got me thinking, a lot… because people all over the place like to say, “It’s a free country…” meaning you are free to do what you want, because our country is the best.
The more thought I put into the topic, however, the more I realized everybody is wrong… there is a free lunch… but this is not a free country.
So, here’s my story.
On the 21st day of January, in the year of our Lord 1987 I made a great revelation while standing in line at an ice cream parlour cleverly named, “I Scream Yum!!!
I was waiting…patiently.. though also quite eagerly… behind a sizable woman doing her best to wrangle two prepubescent boys away from one another as they each clawed at the other in an attempt to be the first to look through the glass at all the delectable frozen dairy goodness.
Breaking each others nose cartilage against the glass, the boys squealed in delight at the multitude of choices that lay before them.
I was only aware of them in a peripheral sense. Much the same way you might be aware of somebody, somewhere in a room talking quietly on a cell phone.
For my part, I just couldn’t wait to make my order and dive into a triple scoop of “Double Bubble Gum Yum-Yum.”
Say that three times fast… delicious.
So here we are… on the precipice of a revelation that would completely change my understanding of the universe, for I had been living my life under a particular world view since the day that “MY” Father (ßto be read in my Mother’s voice) turned to me and said, “Son… there is no such thing as a free lunch.”
Upon receiving their scoops of ice cream, the sizable woman and her two young compatriots made their way towards the door. One of the rambunctious little fellas couldn’t wait to make it out the door and with a squeak of his sneakers against the freshly mopped floor, bolted…ice cream in hand…for the exit…
Unfortunately for the young lad, his worn down sneakers were no match for the frictionless linoleum flooring… he made it no further than two steps before his foot slipped out from behind him, as you might see on a cartoon show where the villain steps on a banana peel.
The boy, pinwheeling his arms wildly in an attempt to regain his balance, loosened the death grip he held his ice cream with…causing the cone, and double scoop of dairy goodness, to fly through the air and land squarely on the chest of his like aged compatriot.
Balance was beyond redemption, and the boy seemed resigned to his fate as he finally stopped fighting against his unrelenting foe, and let gravity have its way with him.
Tumbling to the ground, the now ice creamless young boy landed squarely on his bum. Upon the immediate realization of what occurred, the other boy, now decorated in ice cream, ran over to his fallen comrade with the intention of pointing and laughing.
Fate is a cruel mistress, however, and this more than adequately ice creamed boy slipped and fell, in much the same way as the first victim, onto the sad ice-creamless boy.
Children at that age…
Though to be honest, I don’t know how old they were… I never was a good judge of
age or character..
Nonetheless, in my experience, children suffer very little from the feelings of shame and embarrassment
Shame, in particular, seems to be a very much learned behavior.
A learned behavior that these boys had missed their lesson in… For they quickly sprung to their feet as if nothing happened… the ice creamless boy recovered his ice cream, which his friend had conveniently agreed to hold onto, with his shirt. And with that, the first boy continued his sprint to the exit, grabbed the door, pulled it open… and that was the end of my experience with these two young men.
The series of events which I recant took no more than a couple of seconds… and yet it has burned itself into my memory as one of the most amusing things I have ever witnessed. I found myself, for quite some time, struggling to regain my composure in that ice cream parlour…
Even to this day, I look back on this memory with fondness, and in times when I feel saddened, or depressed… it brings a smile to my face..
This is how I know there is such a thing as a free lunch… for my memory of the event brings great happiness at no cost.
Though one might say in order for me to hold onto this memory, I must release other, equally valuable memories…
This is likely true…
And yet, if I remain ignorant of the memory I cannot recall, then it has not really cost me anything I am aware of parting with, and therefore has cost me nothing…
I cannot recall the very earliest years of my childhood… that does not mean they didn’t occur, and it certainly doesn’t mean they weren’t enjoyable. But the memories escape me…
The only recollection I have of these times are reconstructed from stories I have been told by “My” Father, and “My” mother.
Now think back, do you really miss the memories you can’t remember?
But I would probably miss this one.”
The following was Mark’s (an Alzheimer’s patient) reply, in a moment of lucidity, to the question, “Do you miss your memories?”
I’m going to try really hard and get the next story out before next Sunday, promise!!!