Laura, can’t you give me some time?
I got to give myself one more chance
to be the best man that I know I am
“You have a nail in your tire.”
I’m thinking Mo is making a brilliant philosophical analogy as we stand in the gym parking lot. But then I see she’s pointing at the car.
There it is, smiling at me, a little outcast from some construction crew that has has taken up residency on the edge of the left rear Firestone. What to do?
I’m at that point where I can relate to the tire. I’m leaking air as my life odometer spins slowly out of control. The doctor wants me to give up doughnuts and ice cream. What’s the point of extending a life that is void of homemade vanilla and long johns? Is it better to just say screw it and roll the dice, even though they’re likely loaded and you have no idea how to play craps? And who named that game, anyhow?
I have a playlist for 150 strides per minute. It allows me to stroll along at a 14:45 pace, just slow enough that my body isn’t stressed much and fast enough that I raise a bit of perspiration in the icy 60 degree tundra of the desert. Old guys don’t sweat; we glisten.
I think a lot about “Harold and Maude” these days. I remember seeing it for the first time at Dobie Mall in 1981 and thinking it would become my mantra in life. As I move from Harold’s age to Maude’s, I increasingly wonder.
Maude’s lesson for Harold, other than the one in the final scene, of course, was this: “A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They’re just backing away from life. Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even. But play as well as you can. Go team, go! Give me an L. Give me an I. Give me a V. Give me an E. L-I-V-E. LIVE! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room.”
Maybe that’s the thing to remember. You have a nail in your tire. So what? Keep driving.
I get out the phone and make an appointment with the tire guys. And then I make a new playlist for 180 strides per minute, my old Jack Daniels running cadence and a perfectly respectable 12 minute pace at which to die. One order of Blitzkrieg Bop and Scissor Sisters to go. I crank up the music and metaphorically practice “if you want to sing out” on the banjo one more day. ‘Cause there’s a million ways to go. You know that there are.
I have a nail in my tire. I better run while I can.
I’ll reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even. But I’ll play as well as I can.
Go, team, go! See you in the locker room.
Loving your work, sir. As always. 😎
thanks for the kind words. old bearded guys gotta stick together.
We sure do. I lost my Dad this January, and I’ve grown out my beard in his honour. The beard and I are heading out for a wee spin this Summer along the Wicklow Way, which takes me past his old homestead near Dublin, in the foothills of the mountains. It should be nice and grizzly by then. I’ll have an ice-cream in your honour, too, when I’m finished.
Maude : Oh, Harold… That’s *wonderful.* Go and love some more.
Get a second opinion. 😉