Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Aging, or getting old Ungracefully.

Aging, it sucks doesn’t it?  I mean really, it absolutely sucks to be 40.  Man I freaking hate it.  I hated the build up to it.  I hated it the day it happened.  I hate it now.  My mind says I’m about 28 or so.  My body, well that’s another story.  I wonder if I hadn’t had all this physical trauma if I’d feel this way?  From what I’ve seen and heard from my friends over 40 I’d have to say “no” to that question.  Most of them hate it as well.  One friend will be 50 soon and he physically gets angry when he talks about it.  Gee, what greatness to look forward to eh?

I think it bothers me most that people on the street don’t think I’m “younger than I look.”  I think I look my age and that sucks.  People used to say that I looked young for my age, not so much these days.  I’ve never considered myself very good looking, but I never thought I looked “old”.   Yeah, vanity I know. I think the pain, the drugs, the job, and the sleeplessness have all put some miles on my face. Insert deep sigh.  It bothers me that I’ve lost some of my hair.  It bothers me that I have a gray hair in my beard.  Every time I let it grow out I pull that gray hair out.  It’s just a matter of time now.  Yeah, I know I’m lucky that I haven’t gone gray yet and all that shit.  Yeah yeah yeah.  This is me bitching, we’re not talking about you (yet), bear with me.

I didn’t mind when kids started calling me “Mr. Lloyd.”  I thought that was OK, I felt like that was something I earned around 30.  The 30s were good.  I did a lot in that decade of my existence.  I’m not going to go into all that but I will say that I accomplished many things back then.  I was still able to do all the things that I wanted.  The decade of the 40s won’t be like that.  I can’t imagine skiing, racket ball, playing 36 holes of golf in one day, not even running now.  All that’s gone, and (you guessed it) it sucks.  But this blog isn’t really about that, it’s about aging itself.  Perhaps I am leaning to the down side of things because of the screws in my spine and the pain they have brought into my life.  Maybe I’m just a little farther along the path than others of my age.  Maybe I’m getting a preview of what true “old age” is going to be like and it scares me, or simply pisses me off.  I don’t know, but every time I think about my age I end up in sadness.

It’s a fact that I feel like the “middle” is the end.  I think about dying a lot.  I’m not scared of it.  I hope its a long time away though.  I feel like at this age I’ve finally realized that I will die sometime.  I want to live to be about 75 or so.  That would be cool.  I just have this feeling of wonderment about it all.  I’m excited to see what’s going to happen.  I have my own personal beliefs and I hope they come true.  I want to do so much between now and then, but I also feel like I have accomplished so much.  I don’t want to leave Robin alone.  I don’t want to leave Brit and Cassy.  I have an unfinished blog about death that I'll post some day, I add little observations to it once in a while. Even though I'm not ready to go, I can not wait to see 1 and 2 again. Oh how I want to see my grandmother. Sometimes, even though I hardly smell anything since my sinus surgery, I catch a whiff of her perfume. I wonder if she's right here with me when that happens?  I miss the ones that have gone so much.  I hurt for them every day, God I hope I get to see them again.

I’ll try to inject some positivity into our little talk.  Even though I am madder than hell about aging, I accept it.  I’ve lived a great life and I know it.  I was blessed, truly blessed, to have a great childhood and adulthood.  I certainly can’t complain about any of that.  Many of my friends have experienced much more heartache than I have and they have much more right to bitch about our age.  I’d like to do some things different, if I knew then what I know now kind of thing (I’d have shot and killed that fucking horse).  But overall it is what is and I’m satisfied.  I’m looking forward to retirement and living on a farm again.  I can’t wait to live on a road where I can drive by moonlight.  I want to feel what it’s like to be on the back of a horse running flat out with his ears back again.  There are many more fast cars and faster bikes in my future, and I have one more house to build.  The greatest thing about all that is that I’ll get to spend it with Robin, but even if we had nothing I would still be satisfied just being with her.

My purpose in writing this was to vent, of course, but honestly if you feel like I do I want you to know that you’re not alone.  I think some of you hate it too and I share your anguish lol.  We’re in this boat together and I’m here for you... O’ Gray One.  40 is sucking right now but 50 isn’t that far away and it’s going to suck worse.  Make the most of the decade and be “younger than your age.”  That’s my advice, I’ll try to follow it myself.  If I can 8)

So, this has been me ranting about getting old.  It happens.  I don’t bitch much in my blogs so please allow me this self pity.  Thanks.  

See you soon,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

1 and 3

Over the years a lot of people have asked me for my middle name, “you need to put your middle name here not just the initial L.” What most don’t know is that L. stands for nothing at all, and yet to me it stands for everything.

The story of my name began in 1921, then went through a significant change in 1945 to become the name I carry today. You see, I am the third Lloyd L. Lambert and the story of my name quite a tale.

My grandfather was born April 6, 1921 as one of 17 children into a family of farmers in Oklahoma. His given name was Lloyd Ernest Lambert. He grew up working the fields and left school after the 8th grade to help his family. Life on the family farm was good and he told me a great many stories about his childhood. He even taught me how to “chop cotton” like he did as a kid. But then in 1941 everything changed. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and our country went to war. Lloyd Ernest was soon drafted into the Army and was eventually assigned to an EVAC hospital, the forerunner of M.A.S.H. units, in New Guinea. There he saw the great horrors men do to one another during war. He didn’t talk much about the great war, he liked to say that “I just drove a truck” while in the Pacific. He told me that he wondered if he would ever get back home to see his mother again.

After what must have seemed like a lifetime, the war was suddenly over. In 1945 Lloyd Ernest was shipped back to the ‘States and was due to be discharged at San Francisco. That’s where the story of my name takes a sharp turn. You see some clerk somewhere, a person none of us would ever meet, made a simple mistake that affected three men for the rest of their lives. The clerk typed my grandfather’s name as Lloyd L. Lambert instead of Lloyd E. Lambert on his discharge paperwork. Upon seeing this my grandfather informed the clerks of the simple mistake. However, the clerks had literally thousands and thousands of soldiers to discharge. The time needed to rewrite his discharge papers; two weeks.

Lloyd Ernest thought for a long minute and then he had an idea. He set out in a taxi cab bound for the San Francisco courthouse. He wasn’t going to wait two weeks to see his family. No way, not after the years he had been overseas getting shot at. At the courthouse, he legally changed his name to Lloyd L. Lambert and his discharge paperwork became correct. And the L.? What does the shiny new L. stand for? Absolutely nothing, initial only. He was in such a great hurry that he didn’t stop to think up a name, none that he liked anyway. He rushed back to the base and was discharged from the Army as scheduled. I think today that would be called “thinking outside the box.” He left the farm as one man and returned as another, in more ways than one.

Four years later my father was born and became Lloyd L. Lambert Jr. In 1971 another firstborn son came into this world and became Lloyd L. Lambert iii. 1 2 and 3 Three men, same name. Initial only.

So, now that you know the story of what my name means to the world let me tell you what it means to me. That L. represents, in essence, my grandfather. He took an active role in raising me when I came to live with him and my grandmother as a baby. He was a quiet man, honest and hard working. He rose before the sun to provide for his family nearly every day of his life. I always took for granted that he knew the answer for everything. If I didn’t know what to do, all I had to do was look to him because doing whatever he was doing would be the right thing. I think Ernest was a great middle name for him, I never saw him be dishonest or unfair. I think that part of him lives on in me and I struggle to keep his quiet and calm persona at the forefront. I know he had disdain and dislike for a people and such, but he never showed it.

While 2 worked and provided, 1 and 3 spent years and years together. 1 taught me now to swim, to drive, to hunt, to fish, to ride and rope. I could go on all day telling you about all he taught me. He taught me some things about women too, but I won’t divulge any of his trade secrets here. He and my grandmother would take me out of grade school for weeks at a time to go on trips, just the three of us. By the time I was 8 years old I had swam in the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Gulf. I had been out of the country to Mexico where we shopped and were checked for fruit flies on the way back into the U.S. When Columbia made her first landing at Mojave in 1981 I was there. Parked on an interstate overpass sitting on the roof of the car with our binoculars. I still have the pictures. Their love was wrapped around me like a warm blanket and those memories are some of the greatest of my life.

Lloyd Sr. would continue to be the great influence in my life into my 30s. Always answering my questions and helping me with life’s little dramas. I talked to him each and every week after I moved out of state and my wife and I visited as much as we could. But when my grandmother passed away unexpectedly a huge part of him went with her. He was lost without her and he knew it. He spent three years waiting to see her. Then, one night early into the fall, he went to be with her. He died just as he lived, quietly and without a fight. On more than one occasion he had asked me if it bothered me that he was ready to go and be with my grandmother, he said it had bothered my father to hear him say that. I told him no, and that I though he was a full gown man and if he was ready then that’s all there was to it. He was 83 years old and it was the worst pain I have ever known.

I can’t really put into words what 1 means to me. It’s immeasurable the love and respect I have for him. The things he taught me, the things he took the time to teach me, have served me well every day of my life. I’ve said before, I see carrying his name as an honor. To be named for such a man has been the great privilege of my life. As 3, I will always strive to be all the things I saw in 1. I believe he lives on in me today and when I’m faced with a choice I always try to think what 1 would do. And I always try to be Lloyd Ernest.

If you have or have had someone like this in your life then you and I are in a very exclusive club. We were blessed by God and don’t ever forget how lucky we are to have had them. Not everyone gets to experience a love like this. Cherish it.

In closing, I’d like to say that it took me several sessions of writing before I completed this story. And though I am not an emotional person by nature, it took me many many tears too. I found it hard to describe how deeply I love 1 and how I will always be proud to be 3. I hope that came across to you. I believe that when you die, someone will be standing there waiting for you. Someone reaching out a hand to you from the nothingness, ready to show you the way.

I already know who my person is and he’s got the same name as me.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blog 11 Random Thoughts

Blog 11 Random Thoughts

Hello my friends.  I haven’t been able to find the time or the energy to blog much lately.  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been writing.  I’ve been jotting down quick notes and thoughts in my Google documents.  I thought instead of creating a new blog on a particular subject, I would instead put in some of my random rantings.  Enjoy  8-)

October 12 On the subject of things I have and things I lost.
I really hate that I lost my favorite denim jacket from my high school years, I thought about it as I looked around.  It was a direct tangible link to my past that I loved to put on both physically and spiritually.  I always called it my girl.  I found it in the debris but for some reason I didn’t take it back to our refuge.  The first team to “gut” our house got rid of it-they didn’t know and I wasn’t there.  That makes me really sad.  Feels like I lost a friend.  F*cking hurricane.

September 27 On the subject of my Mistress.
I’ve decided to come clean and admit a few things.  You know, try and clear my conscience.  The truth of the matter is, I have a mistress.  
There I said it.  I proved Bonnie right I guess.  You should see her though.  One look at her will change your life.  Get to know her, and years fall like leaves in the Autumn.  She’s tall and thin, with long black hair so dark it could easily pass for blue in the right light.  Legs, oh the legs, the best kind.  The ones with feet on one end and ...well, never mind.  Her skin is soft and pale and she has eyes that seem to burn a hole straight down to your soul.  They’re empty eyes though, like a shark, just as Quint said.  Most every time I see her she’s dressed in either black or white.  No color, no joyous yellows or sky blues.  Not even a ruby red.  Just black and that pale skin.  Waiting for me.  Every day.  Every night.
Sometimes she’s a dragon slithering under my blankie and settling upon the small of my back.  I can feel her weight, and I cringe every time her nails pierce my flesh.  The gargoyle in my window hasn’t been able to stop her from spending the night with me.  When I find myself alone and the world has gone silent, I talk to her.  I beg her to leave but she doesn’t listen.  She seems to love me with such passion and conviction.  One would think that my spirit and my appearance has diminished to a level which she would not find acceptable.  But alas she loves me yet.  
I have a mistress, and her name is pain.

August 27 Friends
We went down and picked out the coffin.  Made the other arrangements.  Bought the flowers. It feels like you are just going through the motions at that point.  Taking care of what has to be done.  Trying to get everything set up right.  The funeral home worked with us and we had things as best we could.  Later that night we held a wake.  Somehow I managed to hold it together throughout.  Dad’s body looked horrible.  The pain in my back from all the standing was some of the worst I’ve experienced, as was the pain in my heart.  I had a lot of help from Robin, Britney and Xanax.  The funeral was set for the next day.
The next day I put on a dark suit and traveled to the run down ratty funeral home to bury my father.  Robin helped me through the front door of the funeral home and then my life changed again.  There standing before me was Jeremy Lloyd Burge.  Let me be more clear, there standing before me was my brother Jeremy Lloyd Burge.  In all my life I have never had such a feeling. Jeremy landed in Tennessee and couldn't get a flight back due to a huge ice storm.  So, being the man he is, he rented a car and drove 8 hours through an ice storm to carry my father to his grave.  If you are lucky, I mean really really lucky, you get 1 friend like that in your life.  
     I had lived my entire life up to that point as an only child.  But it was there, in that shit hole of a building, that I saw my brother for the first time.  I saw that there was nothing that he wouldn’t do for me.  Tears, excitement, gratefulness...I ran a gamut of emotions. I pray that in the time he and I have left here on earth, that I somehow get to repay him for this kindness.

This is a short story I wrote while waiting for Robin at a hospital.
As I sit here in this ever shrinking waiting room, I start to imagine who my wait-mates are.  They, just like me, have a loved one a few yards behind a huge door.  Every few minutes a different nurse pops her head and shouts one of our last names like a hostess at some dank eatery.  I keep wondering, how many different nurses do they have back there?  On we wait.  Hoping and praying for our dears.  I’ve been playing this game for a long time and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest to sit here for several hours.  I love my wife, and I would do anything on Earth for her.  This is nothing.

Some of my neighbors look positively disgusted that they have to be here.  As a man, I can not imagine feeling that way at a time like this.  Your love is alone back there.  Cold.  Hoping and praying for good news.  You’re sitting here in the sun with a view of The Big Easy out of the south window.  Undoubtedly it will be your ass on a slab back there one day.  Then maybe you’ll feel a little differently about having to share this room with me.  

A quick scan reveals that we are at about roughly 50% capacity.  Plenty more room for my fellow waiters.  Over in the corner is a young fellow who looks to have made about 25 or so trips around the sun.  Rather sloppily dressed.  No socks.  He’s been playing on his cell all morning.  I wish my battery ran that long.  I can’t imagine who he’s here waiting for.  This area is usually occupied by those of us who, like the proverbial fine wine, have aged a bit.  

Across and to the left of me is a man of advanced years.  75ish maybe 80.  It looks like he finally managed to wrangle that booger out of his nose.  I don’t know who it was bothering more, him or me.  He’s now moved own to running a pinky in and around his ear canal.  Shit, he earned it.  Let him dig.  I think I’ll tag him “The Miner.”

Eh, a few more new friends and I’m going to have to take my backpack out of the seat next to me.  So far it’s been successful at warding off all comers.  And of course I sat on the end of a row so as to eliminate the possibility of someone touching me on that side.  At times my damaged olfactory nerve is an annoyance, days like this it’s a true blessing, for a lot of my roomies here look like they smell bad.

An hour or so ago they rolled an elderly black lady into the room.  She’s still sitting there breathing in the oxygen affixed to her nose, the bottle resting on the step of the wheelchair.  She’s frail.  And she’s loud.  She’s made me snicker a few times already.  I don’t think she puts up with any shit from her (grown) kids.  I hope she’s OK.  Based on my expert peer observation, her spirit is  as strong as ever but her body is fast giving up on this life.  I hope she’s OK.  She looks like a Melba to me.  I bet they call her maw-maw Melba.

Wow, that kid is still on his cell gaming.  Hell of a battery.  And sadly, the Miner has discovered the other nostril.

The room is filling much faster now.  Only a few seats left.  Almost no pairs to be had.

A dying laptop battery just sent me scurrying through the waiting room to find a wall outlet for my charger.  Thankfully the logical part of my brain was still in control and located behind a tiny love seat free power.  Now I have a whole new set of  immediate neighbors.  I feel like the new kid in school.  I said the proper “Hello” to these new friends of mine.  None of them wanted to converse either, thankfully.  The influx of new roomies has began to ebb somewhat.

Now on my left is a man wearing slacks and cheap shoes.  Short sleeve button down shirt.  Mustache.  Not intelligent enough to be an engineer.  Perhaps a middle school science teacher.  I don’t see a wedding ring, and I’m not surprised.  Suddenly just as I was evaluating his future, the nurse called his name and he bolted without haste.  I realize that he wasn’t waiting on anyone, he was waiting to go back for a procedure.  There’s no-one here waiting for Joseph, and that makes me a little bit sad for him.

The flow of the room is changing again and a sudden tsunami of humanity has descended upon us long time waiters.  There are so many choices for me to stereotype.  At least they call you by  name here and not a number. Over and over I have hard “I can help the next person in line.”  They’re fast here, and I like that.  Clear.  Efficient.  Things I strive to be in my own chosen profession.

Right about now I’d kill for a cigarette.

Fate has now dropped Adam and Eve into my lap.  They have taken over the seating formerly occupied by poor Joe.  And they’re speaking Francis.  That explains a lot.  They’re obviously married and look very happy together.  Moving and chatting as my own bride and I do.  The woman is having a procedure I manage to hear her say.  I really should have paid more attention during those two years of french I took.  They’re both very calm looking.  I feel like they know that they are here for each other and that’s really refreshing to me.  Nice looking couple.  He’s white and she’s black.

Ah shit.  Someone brought a damn kid.  Man, I don’t want to hear that bull shit.  Kids are the devil.  Abandon all hope!  He’s got some body's cane and he’s running around with it.  Little rat bastard.  Looks to be about 5.  Why aren’t you in school?  I can tell you his name’s Lane.  I know this because his fat ass mother has been screaming it for the last 5 minutes.  Some people shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce.  I bet when Lane grows up he’s profession is going to be inmate.  I could smack him around a bit, make it look like an accident.

The Miner is just staring out into space, and I think the 20-something lad finally killed his cell’s battery.  The science teacher is back in the OR getting violated.  Melba has been rolled to another corner of the hive.   I’m just sitting here charging my electronics and making up stories about these poor souls, just as they are likely doing to me.  My other has been back there for a long time and I’m worried.

Random and Dateless Babble
I just carved your name into the side of a bullet.


But we’re both good for a trip together once in a while, just to remember the times we spent together.

To K, I am so sorry.

Drive it in deep

I want to be somewhere where I can drive with the lights off on a full moon night.

We have our own secret hand signals and looks.

To be the best at what you do, you have to absolutely know that you are the very best.  And you can never tell that to anyone.

As I stepped between my two friends that were about to come to blows, reality slapped me in the face and reminded me that I’m 5’10” and 150#.  What the hell was I thinking?

There is something magical about doing something that requires you to put on a helmet.


Monday, October 3, 2011

It's Getting Worse

Things are getting worse. That’s what people say. There has always been an underlying feeling of doom in most people. Some say the end of times is near. When I was a kid things were simpler, things weren’t this bad when I was growing up. Ever heard that one? I bet you have. Politics, religion, society in general. They’re all going down the tubes. Right?

Wrong. The world is not changing, YOU are. Hold on, don’t get revved up, listen to what I have to say. Many years ago when I was a puppy (thanks Donnie) I read a great article about how society is going to shit. How all the killing, war, famine, genocide, etc are increasing. How certain eminent doom is upon us. Any day now the world will come to an end. It was a long and well written article. At the end there was the By line and the date; 1898

I believe it’s just human nature to be chicken little. The Christian Bible has loads of information on the subject of our impending doom. The problem is, it’s open to interpretation. Psychotic preachers and aspiring cult leaders have feasted upon our fear for centuries. Just in our lifetime we’ve seen Jonestown, Heaven’s Gate, the Wacko in Waco. All spewing the message of our end of days. Just this year we had the fossil preacher Harold Camping incorrectly use a slide rule and his toes to predict our end. When it didn’t happen we got a whoopie-it’s in October now. Dumb dumb dumb. Next year is 2012 and the Mayans, who couldn't predict their own extension btw, get their turn in the spotlight.

I’m not saying that it couldn’t happen. It could. Right now. I may not even get to finish this article. Though our methods have improved the premise is still the same. It took the Spanish hundreds of years to conquer the peoples of what is now Mexico. Now we could drop a few tactical nukes and wipe out millions and be home in time for supper. It may be easier today to bring the 4 Horsemen but it takes the same human desire for dominance to order men to fight. When we were kids I remember having a great fear of nuclear war. I was convinced it was going to happen and that I would be one of the few humans left alive. I figured I needed a dirt bike and a manual can opener to survive. I still hate Regan and the commies for the cold war. I was about 11.

So with 40 years of research and experience I can say that I believe that the world is not getting worse. We are simply aging and we naturally romanticize our youth and have an innate desire to go back to those times. Times then were the same is now. Technology has improved. Communication has improved. We have made huge strides in medicine that enable us to live longer lives. We are in the middle of a long great curve of mankind. We’re doing OK.

When we were growing up our parents and our grandparents pointed out how when they were young the world was better, correct? Well in that time, they saw the world as bad. However, that time was our youth and we now see it as a good time, correct? Do you see my point? Our children will view the time right now as a good time when they are our age. Yet we continue to think this time is a bad time. It’s simply that we’re aging and we’re changing. The methods and the tools have changed but society has not. I also believe that people will never change until they HAVE to. Something has to happen to society as a whole for us to put an end to war, famine, murder etc...

Right now our age group are the owners of the world. We are the leaders, the voters, the people of the world. The Earth was handed to us from our predecessors and now it’s our time to live. If we operate the way our elders have we are merely the second boring movie in a trilogy. We own the world, let’s take it and make it better. Let’s not think that the world owns us.

As always, I hope not to offend and look forward to our discussion. I’ll see you when I see you. LL

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

2 Seconds at Target

I bought a new laptop. It has an icore process or and all the things I wanted. The ram was a little low so I thought I’ll just upgrade that myself. Ram is cheap. Ten minutes later I’m on the floor at Target begging God to let my sweet wife live. I’ve got her face in my hands and I’m shouting as loud as I can “YOU FIGHT! FIGHT! DON’T YOU LEAVE ME HERE ALONE! Her lips turned purple and the first responder training I had at work kicked in. I moved her head back to clear her airway. Her eyes were looking in all directions but obviously seeing nothing. I tried to open her mouth for the sake of her breathing and to make sure she hadn’t bitten her tongue. I tried as hard as I could, but her mouth was clenched tightly closed. She moaned a little. FIGHT. YOU FIGHT. YOU COME BACK TO ME! Her arms were fixed straight out in front of her and her legs were also rigid. I was straddled over her on my knees face to face with her. Her chest heaved and would rise up to hit me in the thighs. Please God, let her stay with me. I never ask for anything for myself. Please God, please. She looked right at me, or rather through me. But I could tell that what here eyes were seeing wasn’t making it to her brain. She has already had two blood clots, this one has went to her brain and it’s over. She’s dead. Just like that. No warning. She just passed out. I had seen her falling out of the corner of my eye and i grabbed just a piece of her shirt and eased her down as best I could. Then she convulsed. And then she died.

She really just died in my hands. I couldn’t save her. She’s not moving anymore. Eyes wide open and fixed. Every single thing that was wonderful in this world just left me here on the floor. Her little body just gave out on her. I had this overwhelming feeling that half of me had just been cut out. I was alone. The one beautiful thing in my life had just wilted and now I did not want to live. I remember thinking, I’ll take care of all her arrangements then I’m gone too. I thought that, I really did and that’s no lie. I honestly did not want to live without her. And if that happened again right now then I assume I’ll feel the same way. I believe that I’m going to Hell anyway so why bother living in this much Earthly pain? I just felt...I don’t know...hollow. I don’t think there’s a word to accurately describe it.

I thought she was gone for about 2 seconds, the entire seizure had lasted about 1 minute. All the above shot through my mind as images and feelings during that small amount of time. Her eyes flicked a little and I could tell that she could see me. I was just about to start CPR when I noticed that she was regaining consciousness and her life force was back with me. I said “Hey there do you know who I am?” She nodded no. “Do you know your name?” Silence. “I was walking by here and I saw you fall and I wanted to see if you were OK” I said. That seemed to reassure her a little. Imagine waking up on the floor of a grocery store with a stranger on top of you. “Do you know your name?” I asked again she replied in a rather smart ass tone “Robin.” As if to say yea you stupid SOB of course I know my name. I replied in an equally smart ass tone “Do you know your last name?” Silence. lol.

While all this was happening two young ladies and one young man who worked at Target had come to help and dialed 911 imminently. They were awesome. The young man brought a new pillow still in the plastic from the bedding department and put it under Robin’s head. He was also good during the seizure telling her to “Keep your eyes open.” One of them was the manager and she called a few days later to check on us. Just great kids.

The paramedics were there within minutes and they also were great. We had her loaded up and ready to go to the hospital in another 5 minutes. When we arrived at the ER I parked and ran to the back of the ambulance as they were unloading her. I’ll never forget the look on her face. She was a scared 6 year old girl. Totally innocent sweet little girl. It was as if all the things the world had done to her were stripped away and her core personality was the only thing remaining. It was truly a beautiful thing to see. When she saw me her face lit up and there was the big smile that she reserves only for me. I knew that we’d be alright then. I kept asking questions and getting some but not all answers. I never left her side and I wanted to be the link from her memories to the present. The very young doctor at the hospital was also great. We had a head CT done and when that was clear he had her transferred by ambulance to the main hospital in New Orleans. I admit it was a little bit fun following the ambulance at 3 in the morning hauling ass down I-10. I couldn’t have asked for better care up to this point, they were all top shelf IMO. By the time we got to New Orleans and in a room much of Robin’s memory and motor function had returned. She still had troubling grasping words and walking but that came back with time.

You all know the story from here. Two days at Ochsners, how ever you spell it, in New Orleans with some sorry ass doctors then back home. Their doctors all wanted to pin the blame on another area of medicine that wasn’t their specialty. Young pussies really, all of them. Afraid to make any kind of decision. We saw our friend in Biloxi who is a neurologist and we have a plan now. I feel like she’s in good hands with our friend and he’s close to us both personally and location-wise. She isn’t driving for a while (as long as I can convince her not to lol) and her mother stays with her when I work nights.

So this is my blog for the week, well two weeks because I was a little busy lol. There’s no moral question or any theme. Just my life and something that happened in it. I have a friend about my age that lost her husband and I pray for her a lot. Now that I’ve had just a very tiny glimpse of what that’s like, I can’t imagine what it takes to go on after a loss like that. It was the worst 2 seconds of my life and I have a new found respect for pain like that. You guys all know that I beat the drum of spending time with the ones you love in these blogs so here it comes: SPEND TIME WITH THE ONES YOU LOVE because one day you might be looking for crackers on isle 16 and ten seconds later you’re on the floor talking to your God. BTW tell him I said “Hey” and “Thanks.”

Monday, September 5, 2011

Who Do I Think I Am

          I’ve got to say, last week’s blog was a huge stink pickle. One discussion reply. LOL. I found it both surprising and amusing that we didn’t mind tackling the deep and serious subjects but we didn’t want to chat about our happiness. I don’t know if that’s a reflection of society or if we simply didn't feel challenged by the topic. I’m pretty sure it was the latter. So back to business.

          I was going to write about Drama. Drama that we have to endure in our daily lives. Drama at home, drama at work... all the counterproductive life force sucking crap we’ve had to learn to live with. I work with some bona fide Drama Queens (I’m referring to men), and I thought this would be a good topic. But instead I’d like to tell you about something that I’m experiencing and save the drama for next week.

             I’ve learned that perception plays such an important part in our everyday lives and how we view the world. I see now that the world isn’t as cut and dried as I thought it was. I wasn’t taking into account how every single one of us views a topic in their own unique way. I never knew there were going to be so many ways to look at a problem. Sure, more than one, but never so many. So, right about now you’re thinking “Lloyd, get to the damn point!” Yeah yeah, my point is: Now I wonder how you perceive me. I really do. Looking at the list of who this blog went to I count 50+ names. That’s 50+ different views of me.

I think I’m at the point in my life where I can accept pretty much any kind of view of me. It wasn’t always this way and it’s taken me a very long time to get to this place. Only my closest friends know how I’ve fought anxiety all my life. I always felt like people were looking at me, waiting for me to do something so they could laugh at me. Jeremy will tell you that in high school I would go pick him up to go to Wally World with me so I wouldn’t be alone there. I am also OCD. I count. I count everything. Add up numbers on a clock. Number of road signs I pass. Cracks in the sidewalk. Oh, it was bad and I was a prisoner of my world. But thankfully, in about 2000, a new Doctor started visiting our plant once a week and he got me to try Paxil. Paxil changed my life. It’s as simple as that. I like to say, if I ever have a son I’m going to name him Paxil, Paxil Crockett lol. I also started to visit a shrink and worked through some of my issues. Robin has helped me so much, to see that I am loved and accepted unconditionally. Now I’m a much more adjusted person. I can go where I want, alone. I don’t count anymore (thank God). I know I’m not perfect but I am very happy in my own skin and that’s the thing that matters most. If anyone is fighting anything similar to what I described above, I beg you to see a Dr. and try an anti-depressant. They worked for me, and seeing the therapist made a huge difference.

Back to today. Because of all the above I think that I can accept just about any view of me. I just wonder what they are. I started thinking about my own idea of self and how I’m sure that differs greatly from your view of me.

I had a tremendous advantage in that I was able to reboot my life. When I moved here in 1992 I didn’t know a soul. And all people here knew about me was what I told them, I realized this early on. So you know me as either the guy from before or after I moved to the Mississippi Coast. Let me tell you what-they’re two very different guys. I think that probably plays a huge part in your view of me, which one of me you know. If any of you have had the same opportunity then I’m sure you know exactly where I’m coming from.

If you know me from growing up together, let’s call that guy rev. 0, you know me as arrogant, spoiled, self centered, a slacker. All I did was ride around the parking lot with my music up in my low rider. I was the skinny kid that wasn’t good at any sport. I skipped school. I had a mullet (it was a good one too). I had my ass whipped by more than one of my girlfriend’s boyfriends. I was just an average student. I was all those things and more. I’m not going to run from all that now, I admit that was who I was and that guy is still a part of me now. I accept all that I did and I think that I’ve learned from it. Rev. 0 wasn’t a good guy and he never really cared about anyone other than himself. I’m sorry I was that guy. Rev. 0 hurt people, he hurt one of the most precious things ever created and Rev. 1 has to live with that.

If you know me from ‘92 on, guy Rev. 1, you don’t know the guy I was just talking about. I made sure of that. I’d like to think that I turned my life around just before I came to south Mississippi. I decided that I needed to close my mouth, put my head down and go to work. Hopefully you know the guy who’s a good husband, a good coworker, a member of your congregation, a neighbor, a golfing buddy. Someone who’s loyal and trustworthy, and can keep a secret. At least I hope I’m all that. I still stick my foot in my mouth and make poor decisions. This isn’t Behind The Music where everything is always peachy at the end. Rev. 1 is the exact opposite of Rev. 0 in many ways. But I accept them both and I am still both... and more.

After thinking on this for a few days and trying to put myself in a few of your shoes, I realized that which version of me you know probably has a lot to do with what you think of me and my blog. If you know Rev.0 I would love the chance to introduce you to Rev. 1 sometime. Very few of you really and truly know both those guys. If you do I hope you can see how I have tried to change my life. All the bad things that I did back then, I have to live with that and those things make me want to be a better person. I own that pain. I don’t think you can hide from your past or run from what you did. I think you have to admit and accept it, the sooner you do that the more quickly you can move on.

I’m not fishing for compliments here or writing this so that you will write me back and tell me how you think I’m a good person. I’m not doing that at all. I know that I try to be a good person but sometimes I can be a bad person. I like to think that I’m firm but fair. I don’t mind telling someone when they do a good job or when they do a bad job. I just like to write (I’ve been writing since 1994) and I don’t mind saying what’s on my mind. I’m comfortable being who I am and where I am in my life.

BTW things are going well and I may have a very big and wonderful announcement next week.

That’s a little bit about how I personally see myself. The point of this edition of my blog is to show that I bet your view of me is significantly different than my own and from one anothers. Depending on whether you know me as the guy who spent some quality time with one of our coach’s wives in high school or the guy who worked Christmas Day 12 times so people with kids could be off, your perception of me varies. I’m both those guys but I try hard to be the second guy all the time. I wish we could just erase the slate and start anew from here. If you knew me then please don’t assume I’m still the same, and if you know me now please don’t assume that I have always been the person I am today. Your own individual experiences with me have shaped your view of me, and to each of you I am slightly different. I see that now. Thanks to this blog.

Whatever you think of me, I’m glad to count you as my friend. If you are reading this then you are in a group of my most trusted and admired friends. Friends whose opinion I value highly. 3 of the most intelligent people I have ever known are on this list and I think you all are exceptional. As an added bonus I think I have just coined my Nom de Plume!

  Your Friend,
Paxil Crockett

Monday, August 29, 2011

Shifter Marks on the Long Way Home

Well, we’ve been covering some pretty deep subjects lately. I’m still so amazed at all the openness and insight you guys shared. I started doing these blogs as a kind of therapy for me, I never expected...I don’t know how to put it into words. I never expected that it would be this rewarding for me. Since this edition is about what makes us happy, you should know that writing it and discussing it with you has brought me great happiness. I know that I’ve said it before, but I sincerely thank you all for meeting me here and in our discussion emails. So, in light of this I thought maybe this week we’d take a break from hurting our brains and talk about a different kind of subject. Let’s talk about all the things that make us happy.


This is the third time that I have written this one. Every time I start out keeping it light hearted and funny, I end up getting too deep again. Let me just say that the greatest sources of happiness in my life are My Wife, My Daughter, and My Granddaughter and I’ll just stop there. I think that’s a given with all of us, our families are what make us the happiest. Let’s just stick to the stupid quirky little things that we all love so much. This one is going to stay fun. It may be a little short but I don’t care. I’m here to have fun this time!

First up, XM Radio. Oh hell yeah! XM makes me so happy. It’s one of the greatest inventions ever. No more commercials, no annoying DJ. It’s fracking awesome! Never again in my life will I have a vehicle without XM. When I first got it I called 2 local radio stations, The John boy and Billy Show, and Walton and Johnson. I told them all that XM should be paying them because their BS drove me right to satellite radio! True story. I loathe talk radio and for a channel to be nothing but music-genius. Kind of like my DVR. That thing makes me extremely happy. I never watch anything live anymore. I start a recording then wait an hour to begin viewing, skip all the commercials during playback and enjoy the show. DVR- couldn't live without it.

That leads right into the next topic, my IPOD. A gift from God and my wife. Love it, take it everywhere I go. 1,642 songs and growing. As far as that goes, music in general. Music can change your mood and put a smile on your face in an instant. You know you had a “song” with your first love. Come on, you know you did. I believe songs from our past mark times in our lives. Times that maybe you romanticize and wish you could relive. If you’re like me, when you hear that “song” boom, you’re 16 again for a few seconds. And of course, that brings the happiness.

Just like music, smells do the same thing for me. Yeah I know, you’re thinking “Lloyd you’re being pretty stupid on this one.” But wait, I can prove it. Well at least to people I went to kindergarten and first grade with. To those classmates, next time you get a chance walk into the little red brick school house we went to together. I promise you, the first thing you’re going to notice is the smell. And that’s going to make you smile. That place still smells exactly like it did in ‘76 and when I walk in there all the great memories come flooding back. To me it’s construction paper and glue. Let me know what you think it smells like. I read that smell is the strongest trigger of memories in humans and I believe it. I once woke up from a dream about my grandmother, the one who raised me. Tears were in my eyes and I was kind of hyperventilating. Robin was holding me asking “what’s wrong, what’s wrong?” because nothing like that had ever happened before (or since). I managed to say “I’m not upset, I’m happy. I was dreaming about Mee-maw and I can still smell her.” That was an awesome day. I hope I get to do that again. Smell, I”m telling you.

Our animals make me happy. Like really happy. For Robin and me, they’re our children. Two German Shepherds and two cats. We all live in the house together. There’s hair everywhere. Some of the stuff they do and get into is so hilarious. And when I get home from work, you would think I was Jesus coming back to rescue his flock. Look, my two dog’s think I’m God, and if you come over don’t dare tell them different! The two cats are something else. A laser pointer and cat, that’s some funny shit right there. One cat is a little person in a fur coat and the other is a worthless slug. The slug did make me pretty happy the other night though. Robin asked me to get him out of our bedroom. However she didn’t specify how. I had this freon horn on my desk and....well that made me happy!

Near the end of my drive home from work there’s an intersection where if I take a left I can shorten my drive time. If I go straight my drive is about 2 or 3 minutes longer. The first way takes me through a bombed out looking area that Katrina had her way with. There are a few sets of steps that no longer lead up to houses. Overgrown lots and empty slabs. It’s a much shorter route, but there’s certainly not much to look at. But the second way, ah the second way. Though longer, this route takes you over a short but high bridge. As you come over the top of the bridge you can begin to see the sea meeting the sky. The road slowly turns eastward as you descend and the white sand beach of south Mississippi unfolds before you. The sight of the sun coming up over the blue water and the white sand can bring happiness to even the grumpiest dwarf. Some days the water and the sky are so nearly the same color, you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. The way I look at it I’ve just spent 12 hours looking at nothing but steel and concrete, I want to see something beautiful. So, going the long way definitely makes me happy. Frost would be so proud! 8-)

So here’s the deal with the title Shifter Mark. I was at my masseuse's office and she asked me if I had been doing well lately and if I was happy. At that time I was sitting and taking my shoes off. I looked at my left shoe and there was a dark black mark over the big toe. I told her “Well I have a nice shifter mark so I must be doing pretty damn good.” She’s also a motorcyclist and instantly knew what I meant. If you have a bike then you know. That mark meant that I had been on my bike recently, and if I’ve been on my bike then a lot of things in my life have been going right. Riding for me is almost a religious experience. The peacefulness, the freedom, everything about being “in the wind” makes me happy. Most days my back has me feeling like a broken old man, but when I feel good enough I’m on that bike. So now, the shifter mark has become a metaphor for how my level of happiness. If my shifter mark is dark then I’m one happy little boy.

There you go, short but sweet. Those are just a few of the things that make me happy. I wish I could be more clever or come up with more anecdotes but when it comes to happiness I’m a pretty simple straight forward guy. Most people say that I don’t look happy, but believe me that’s just the way my face was made 8-) I’m not unhappy, I just don’t smile much. Credit 4 years in braces for that. BTW one day I’m going to dance on my orthodontist’s grave and that’s going to make me really happy. Oh I’m just kidding. Maybe.

So what kinds of things make you happy? Care to share? Maybe I’m overlooking something that could really bring me joy. What’s your shifter mark, and what’s your long way home? Help a brotha out. Inquiring minds want to know!

Until next time, I’ll be sitting here listening to Buffet and watching the sun go down. See you when I see you my friend. LL

***Here are a few bonus happinesses with less detail: McRibs. Dirt roads. The fact that I wrote this all in Comic Sans. Men who can type (and not the little peckers that can’t). Waking up in 70634. Our Church Family. Irony. Mercury Dimes. Wrestling. Karma. Golf, I haven’t played in 3 years but it still makes me happy. HDTV. Calling 337-463-3511. Astronomy. Mitch Hedberg. Boudin. A 6-4-3. Watching episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man (I have them all, and the TV movies.) Singer/Songwriters. A good baseball game. Facebook for bringing us together again. Banana Pudding. Sailing. Calling into work and telling them that I ain’t gonna be there today. Blue water. Eddie Murphy Raw. Where’s the beef? And starting sentences with And.