Busy, Busy, Busy

I flew and drove far away to attend a 60th birthday party.

On that trip I injured my back, doing basically nothing.

I went to a memorial for an old friend who died in January. Everybody was drunk, and one of his girlfriends threw another girlfriend into the pool, overturning the buffet table in the process.

On the same day I visited another dear old friend in the hospital, and told him as I was leaving that I’d see him soon. He died two days later.

At the request of his family I created a “memorial website” in his name. It logged 5,000 hits in a week. All I did for 10 days was manage the site, answer email, post pictures that people sent me and forward messages to his family.

When that was done I went to his funeral, a sprawling two-day affair with much laughter, many speeches, and many tears. Frightened, we all promised to be better friends, and stay in closer touch.

All of this felt like Death to me, closing in.

In the 80’s I might have been voted Most Likely to Suffocate in a Pool of My Own Vomit, but somehow I’ve outlived a bunch of the voters, and even though I’m not the last one standing, I see that there are a lot of dark vacant spaces around me.

I’m shell shocked. I haven’t written anything in this space while all this was going on, because nothing seemed important. I’m looking now at my life and wishing I had made more of it. I’m looking at the time I have left — I should say the time I might have left — and wondering what I can make of it.

Oh yeah — my back is better now.

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13 Replies to “Busy, Busy, Busy”

  1. I’m no Hallmark card and like you I’ve survived and also seen a few friends go. In some odd and strange way, aging is liberating. Some get so liberated they become cranky or self-indulgent. Me, I figure it’s a race against death and I’m going to attempt keeping a creative cutting edge until my mind can’t do it anymore.

    I once read that at a younger age we tend to learn and respond with facts and absolutes. With age we tend to have assimilated the facts and then speak and create with abstractions.

    If that’s an accurate generalization then all sorts of possibilities exist. I look at the success of many who raged against aging – Sam Clemens, Norman Mailer, Kurt Vonnigut, Gore Vidal, Ansel Adams, Matisse and so many more – They didn’t seem to be looking backward, they just kept at it … and did terrific work as old people.

    Fuck aging, fuck the guilt, fuck worrying.

    You got creative chops, that’s enough.

  2. Yes, I know, goddammit. Sort of wish we could meet and swap condolences, but it’s probably all the same. I begin to realize lately how old and worn I’ve begun to feel since that stroke last year. How could this happen to me? I was always somebody else, not this guy! Maybe I can think of something (in place of condolences) before it’s too late. I hope so.

  3. You’ve been on my mind, Larry Jones. I’m sorry you lost some old friends, but I’m glad you’re back. The concept of death is scarier now than it used to be for me, too. I always wonder where the years went — and then I laugh at myself because the older people I know all said that, too, when they reached my age. I like Bill’s take on the whole thing.

    You know, we can only live one day at a time. That’s probably good. We’re all in this together, so consider yourself hugged.

  4. Rock on, dude.

    No, seriously.

    And don’t be too harsh on yourself. We all take the chances we think we can take, and you’ve taken what many people would regard as many chances. You rolled the dice.

    I know about the regrets and the what-ifs and the I’ve-done-nothings; as you know, I get a serious case of those with some regularity. But remember the joy, too, and the folded laundry and the made bed. (“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”) You’ve embraced life, and that, in itself, can be difficult, because of the loss that inevitably accompanies all life.

    Anyway, enough blather. I’m so very sorry you’ve lost two of your friends in such a short time. Love you.

  5. Larry,
    Sorry you’ve lost your friends. Also, sorry you’ve been dealing with the harshness of unknowing mortaility.
    I attended a cello recital a couple weeks ago. The cellist was phenomenal and the venue was intimate. I was especially impressed with his performance of the first piece. When he finished, he said he was relieved to have it done; however, I could tell that he was pleased with himself. How could someone so talented live in my town and I’ve only just discovered him? Then, I thought of you and how passionate and talented you are.
    Love you ~ T

  6. Every now and then, if we are lucky, we get a reminder that this life is just a temporary journey.

    I’ve learned to never take ANYTHING for granted.

    You are a lucky and good man.

    Enjoy every moment.

    Jess

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