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.

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