February 25, 2013

This Day in 1970

Today is my birthday. I was born in a small 7th Day Adventist Hospital in Denver, CO sometime in the early morning. The night my mother went into labor my father was out with friends for a business meeting (meetings in the early '70s always involved alcohol). I wasn't their first child, so Mother was prepared, her hospital bag was packed, and she was ready. When my father came home from his "meeting" it was after midnight and mother was waiting for him with her bag packed.

Probably because of the state he was in, Dad was frantic. He changed, came down the stairs to take my mother to the hospital. He ran to the top of stairs and told my mother, "Let's go!"

Mother, in her all her wisdom just said, "Bob you still need to wear pants."

After they finally got on their way my father sped down the road, and of course they were pulled over by a cop. Dad, already in a state of nervousness (and inebriation) was more panicked. Mother, simply sat in the passenger seat with her bag on her lap waiting patiently.

As the cop approached the window dad immediately rolled it down and exclaimed, "My wife is having a baby, so unless you want to deliver it here in the car you'll let us go!" Now as dad describes it, the cop turned 30 shades of whiter, leaned in the window, looked at mom, and then turned back dad, "Follow my patrol car, I'll take you to the hospital."

He jogged back to his patrol car, flipped on the lights and siren and speed with mom and dad in tow to the hospital.

I made it, as did Mom and Dad, and so on this day in 1970 I was born to a calm, collected mother, a pant-less father, and the cops leading me to my triumphant escape from mom's womb (a Stewie Griffin reference here).

I'm 43 years old today, feeling pretty good (need to get back to the gym routine, my excuse which is lame is that I hate winter), and I am glad to be on planet Earth. I've had an adventurous 43 years thus far - I've lived in Denver, San Jose, CA, my beloved Steamboat Springs, CO, Northwestern Missouri, Rome, Italy, Chicago, Ft. Collins, CO, Louisville, CO, Brooklyn, NY and Manhattan, NY. I've met popes, saints, sinners, lovers, and friends along the way. I've learned that family is important - but the friends we build as adults are family too. I've learned to love, lose love, regain love. I've taken risks. I have been afraid. I have conquered fear.

I was a priest. I wanted to be a hero. I was a failure. I am a success.

I don't know what I'll be for the next 43 years, probably all of the above (minus the priest probably). I know that I need to live my life with more authenticity. My burning desire to be hero still exists in me, and maybe I'll find the cape I need to wear to finally realize my heroism. Maybe that heroism is a quite triumph, maybe I'll save the world, maybe I'll learn to love more fully. Maybe like most of us, I'll fade into oblivion and the world in 50 years will not remember my gentle steps upon its skin. No matter, I shall continue to walk and in my mind's eye my cape will bellow out behind me, my fists thrust upon my hips and I'll imagine the world going on before me, a calm given by mom, action taken by dad (pant-less), and the world's sirens and lights blaring before me announcing, "I am here, I am alive."

Below is a poem I composed several years ago about my mortality. I hope you enjoy.

Sometimes I feel like a huge mountain
As time goes on and the winds of change blow over me
Little bits of me are lifted up and carried away,
the sands and stones
and I grow smaller, smaller and smaller
But now upon the wind I am all over.

The sand and stones are like like memories that I give away.
Maybe one day they'll all be collected
and perhaps then,
I shall be a mountain again.

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