Anniversary Gifts

Somewhere along the line, I picked up a copy of Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet”. I don’t know exactly where I got it but it has occupied a space on my bookshelf for several years now. I suspect I pulled it out of a box of books someone was throwing away at my previous residence. However it came into my possession, I have yet to read it and most of the time I don’t even remember that it sits there unread.

Yesterday, scrounging around for a book to occupy a few quiet moments, I came across it again and decided to give it a read.  I got through a few pages and then dropped it on the floor for later consumption.

I came back to it today and decided to do away with the burdensome dust cover.  As I opened it to continue reading, I was struck by a dedication that had been hidden by the dust jacket.

May 31, 1977

Bill —

With all my

Love Always-

Ann–

Obviously, the first thing that struck me was the date. Today being May 31st, the inscription was written on this day 32 years ago. Given that this book has been on my shelf for a number of years, I find it an added coincidence to pick it up at just this time. I always remove dust jackets when I read a book too so it’s interesting that I left it on for the first days reading.

This all set me to wondering what occasion might’ve been celebrated 32 years ago.  I guess it must’ve been some kind of anniversary or birthday gift.  Which makes the cosmic coincidence all the more interesting. Had I not gotten divorced, today would have been my 12th anniversary.

As it stands, today marks the 10th anniversary of what was essentially my last day as a married man. My divorce was not official until 2000 but, ten years ago today, my then-wife and I celebrated our second anniversary together. We had a nice dinner and exchanged gifts and she left for an internship in Atlanta the very next day.  I didn’t know it then but it was the last day we’d have together as a married couple. One year later, nine years ago tomorrow, our separation became a divorce.

Naturally, I’ve been thinking of all the things that this day has meant to me over the years.

Five years ago, in 2004, Tiger was getting married. We had a tortured relationship from 2000 to 2002 but had managed to become friends by the time she tied the knot. All things considered, that one definitely turned out for the best. (You know I love you, T. Happy Anniversary weekend.)

Four years ago, C spent this day moving to Atlanta. I spent the time hiking around the Yucatan Peninsula trying not to think about it. I’m sure I was unsuccessful.

Three years ago, I watched my good friend Cathy marry. I read 1st Corinthians 13 at her wedding.  I am sure someone read the same passage at my wedding. A few months later, I would find myself following C’s footsteps to Atlanta, having learned the truth of the passage. “…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Two years ago, I was in Hilton Head celebrating Memorial Day. That was the weekend C and I rekindled our relationship for the umpteenth time. This day kicked off a great Summer, one of my favorites so far.

One year ago, I was in Destin, Florida, celebrating Memorial Day again, pondering the end of my relationship with C and the sparks that might’ve marked the beginning of another.

Today, I spent the better part of my day looking back at the last ten years with a mixture of sadness and regret. I have come a long way in ten years and I’m so much more happy and content with who I am now than who I was then. It took divorce to make me examine who I really was and what was really important to me. It took divorce to make me realize how selfish and uncommunicative I really was. Without divorce as a catalyst, I would not have been forced to address my own shortcomings, something which I hope I have done and something which I still strive to do.

But it’s been hard. Life hasn’t exactly worked out the way I wanted.  I never thought I’d still be single. I always planned on marrying again and still hold out hope for it some day. Though I’m a better person, relationships have not proven to be any simpler since my divorce.

I also assumed I’ve have kids by now.  I have a lot of great nieces and nephews though. I love those guys. They let me get my kid fix when I need it. They also serve to help me realize that maybe I don’t want kids just yet. They can be a handful, that’s for sure.

The bottom line is that,  life may not be what I planned or hoped for over the last ten years but I am a better person that I ever imagined myself to be. I’m stronger by far.  I’m more confident and sure of myself and I’m more at peace than I’ve ever been. Life isn’t without it’s abundant recompense.

My mind returns to a passage of scripture that has served as an inspiration to me many times over the last six years. Following the string of coincidences, it happens to be the passage of the day in one of my iGoogle widgets. The passage is Romans 5: 1-5 and it’s been a gift to me. It’s also the gift with which I’ll leave you. Goodnight, all, and happy anniversary.

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.

5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Mardy Bum

I’m going to have to find a better source of videos for The Song In My Head series than YouTube. It seems all you can find on YouTube these days are poor quality clips of  a live performance somewhere.

The only other thing you find is somebody’s home made video. That seems to be the case today. I woke up with the insanely catchy “Mardy Bum” from the Artic Monkeys in my noggin. I pushed through the live clips on YouTube until I found this media studies class project.  It’s well done for a bunch of students.

Warning: the song is, as I said, insanely catchy. You will likely find it rooted in your head if you give it a listen. I think you’ll like it, however. Artic Monkeys are one of my favorite finds on Pandora.  Enjoy.

“Anvil: The Story of Anvil”

I just got in from dinner and a movie with my friend Pepper. We went to see “Anvil: The Story of Anvil“. It’s a documentary film about a heavy metal band from the 1980s that never quite made it but, now in their 50s, is still dreaming about becoming famous rock stars.

Anvil: The Story of Anvil
Anvil: The Story of Anvil

As you might guess, the movie was at times inspirational and at times depressing. Honestly, it’s a great film and I highly recommend it but there are times when it is hard to watch. It’s a live, honest-to-God “Spinal Tap”. It’s like an over-the-top caricature of a past-their-prime rock band still trying to make it big. Just as in “Spinal Tap”, the band is huge in Japan. It’s laughable. But these are very real people. Sometimes it becomes way too real. It’s painful.

In the beginning of the film, you follow these guys on a disastrous tour through Europe and you just want them to succeed. You want to see them make it. But you can see the huge trainload of fail coming their way. You know it’s going to be bad. You know it’s going to be ugly. You hurt for these guys. You want to turn away and hide your face. But you can’t. You just can’t.

Through all the setbacks and failures, though, these guys keep on trying and from thence comes the inspiration. Many of people would’ve given up years ago and almost everyone around them has given up on them.

But they don’t quit. And from that never-say-die attitude comes this film, a film that, even if you haven’t heard of it, got a lot of critical press. Apparently, it’s given the band a new life. The film follows the recording of their 13th album. A quick trip to their website shows them working on number 14. Whatever else happens, they’ve done well enough to keep on playing.

If you get a chance, go see the movie. You might not like metal music but I promise you will not see a story with more humanity in it this year.

You also will probably not see another movie this year that has a guy playing a guitar with a rubber penis. “Cause this movie has that. I don’t want anyone complaining that I didn’t warn them.

Because I clearly have.

Beach Bumming

Greetings to all my loyal readers (both of you) from Ocean Isle, North Carolina. I know you’ve missed me and I’ve missed having the opportunity to ignore the blog. The house we’re staying in does not have internet access, much to the collective chagrin of all current occupants. We all brought laptops but can’t get on the internet without some travail. Well, at least not without some travel. The nearest free wireless internet I could find happens to be Jumpin’ Java in Shallotte, NC.

I thought that whilst I was here clearing emails, paying bills, checking accounts, etc. I’d go ahead and update the blog with a short note. The weather here is beautiful and I have had just about enough of it. As is always the case, I have missed a few vital spots with the sunscreen and exposed myself to random patches of sunburn. My body looks like a reddened map of some archipelago. Thankfully, only two spots are really painful.  Thinking that the better part of valor would be staying out of the sun today, I’m off playing while the other 8 members of my party are soaking up more rays.

Other than swimming in the ocean and laying on the beach, we’ve been playing a lot of bocce and running a few miles. For the record, my teams are 2-2 in bocce. The two losses were blowouts and the two wins were won with clutch throws at the end. Just call me Lebron.

Seriously, we are thinking of starting some kind of professional bocce league.  It’s the kind of staid sport in which I could see myself excelling.

Anyway, we’ve also done some exploring. The Greek and I drove down to Sunset Beach and Calabash two days ago and got some good Calabash shrimp. Last night, we all piled into vehicles and hiked up to Southport to celebrate the birthday of he High-Heeled Assassin. We ate at a restaurant called The Pharmacy right around the corner from the riverfront there. It was a little nicer than some of the family-style restaurants that grace the area. I can recommend the crab cakes and the duck. It’s actually the first time I’ve really liked duck.

The night ended on the deck of the Giggling Mackerel back in OIB. We took in a little music before heading back home to watch crappy shows on E! I swear, between that channel, the WE network and VH1, I’m convinced the apocolypse is upon us. The trash that passes for television these days…

Sooo…that’s pretty much my trip so far. Lots of relaxing, lots of running, lots of bocce, lots of dining and some swimming.  Tomorrow I pack it all up and head home again. I do not look forward to the 7 hour drive but I do think it’s been worth it.

I’ll try to post something in the next day or so to let you all know I’m home. Happy Memorial Day to all and, if you travel, travel safely.

Come On, Come On

The song in my head this morning was a veritable concert. In the gloaming period of my semi-wakefulness, I identified no less than five songs playing through and over each other. The first and most dominant was Cheap Trick’s “Come On, Come On” followed by somebody singing “Our Love is Here to Stay”. I think it was Billie Holiday. Not sure about that, however. I could look it up but I’m being lazy, just this once. I’m on vacation, you know.

A Slow Start to Vacation

It’s 9:32. I should be somewhere around the Georgia-South Carolina border. Where am I? I am in my chair, drinking coffee and reading the news. It is the first day of my vacation and I refuse to be rushed into it.  I set my alarm for 6 a.m. and promptly decided to ignore it.  My plan was to leave for Ocean Isle at 7 a.m. I slept in until 8:30. I still have packing to do. Life is good.

I realize that I will regret my sloth later on in the day. The drive is somewhere north of six-and-a-half hours. I could’ve knocked a quarter of that out already and been there before 2 p.m. As it is, I’m looking at closer to dinner time and probably will have to deal with a rush hour somewhere. Does Myrtle Beach have a rush hour? I wonder.

Anyway, my secondary goal was to be out of here by 10. I have 24 minutes to pack and load the car.

I do not foresee this happening. I still have a half-pot of coffee and I’m feeling just fine with myself right now. Maybe I’ll try to leave around 11.  I guess I should probably Google up some directions, huh?

It’s the Little Things

I’m sure you’ve all noticed that fitted sheets have both a long side and a short side.  Have you ever noticed that, even though you have a 50/50 chance of getting the long side matched up with the long side of your mattress, you’re always trying to stretch the short side the length of your bed when first making the attempt? Happens to me every time. You’d think I’d get it right the first time just once. But I never do.

You think maybe that’s a metaphor for something too? I wonder.

Metaphorical Underpants

I was in the midst of doing my laundry and packing for a trip to the beach for Memorial Day when it occurred to me: it’s time to change my underwear.

In folding my laundry, I began to notice the overwhelming number of pairs of boxers in my possession. I must have 40 pairs of boxers. (Why are they called “pairs”, by the way? They aren’t in two pieces or anything. Hmmm. Maybe it’s just me.)

Anyway, it’s a whole big drawer full, I assure you. And some of them are at least 10 years old, possibly pushing 12 years. For the most part, they are still serviceable and whole but the older are certainly looking a little thread bare.

Being the deep and insightful individual that I am, I’m beginning to think my underpants might possibly serve as a metaphor for my life.  I tend to hold on to lots of things that might have passed their prime. Relationships, for example.

Nah. That can’t be right. I’m sure I just have too many pairs of underpants.

Busted

Not much to say about the song in my head today except for it was a bit of a change of pace. I woke up to Willie Nelson and Ray Charles singing back and forth to one another in their duet of “I’m Busted”. I don’t know of any hidden meaning except for my portfolio might be in for a rough week.

I sure hope not.

I couldn’t find the duet version on Youtube so the clip is the Ray Charles solo version. It’s too bad because Ray and Willie sing a fine duet. Especially in my head.