When The Dad Bloggers Went To War

Some people write about the great struggles of ’06 and the hard times that came before and after but few of them really know it.

That is because their information comes from second-hand news and faded newspaper accounts but some of us weren’t that lucky.

Some of us were there. Some of us know because we saw, we lived and we loved.

Most days I don’t spend any time thinking about how it changed us but sometimes it is impossible not to look at life as having a huge black line dividing who we were and who we are.

Three Things Every Story Has

Every story has a beginning, middle and end.

I figure my own story is heading towards the middle but is a hell of a long way off from the end.

Ask me to tell a bit about how I became who I am and I may opt to share a few things but only if I feel like you really want to know.

Small talk doesn’t interest me much any more, probably because there is a constant conversation streaming through my head.

You can blame that upon the curse blessing of being a writer.

I have been raging into and against the night for so long it is fair game to question whether I just like to rage.

Maybe it is why I relate so well to the lyrics in Social Distortion‘s song I Was Wrong.

Steiner the minor and I are seated at the food court, each of enjoying a fresh Cinnabon pastry.

We probably should be eating the small one but the conversation is serious and I choose not to fight his teenage hunger on this point.

I need him to do more than listen, I need for him to hear me.

Inside my head I hear Steely Dan start playing Reelin’ In The Years and I start speaking.

“I want you to be smarter than me. I want you to stop pushing the river. I want you to recognize and understand the water just flow between your fingers, through your legs and around you. I want you to leverage the strength of the river and not fight it.”

He tells me I don’t understand him and I tell him no teenager has ever been understood by his parents.

The echoes of the past have found me in the present and I remember the conversations with my own father

I am using a fork and knife to eat my Cinnabon. Got clients to see and work to do, can’t afford to stain my work clothes, not now, not today.

He is the reason I am playing hooky. He is the reason I am pushing against the river, hoping that since it is smaller and I am wiser I can bend it to my will.

Toby Keith has joined the concert inside my head and he is leading off with As Good As I Once Was.

What Happens Now

I am driving now, flying down the freeway towards the next meeting wondering if that cinnamon smell has permanently attached itself to me.

Steiner the minor refuses to concede most of his points but has given in on the ones I think are most important.

Later that night I’ll find him half awake and tell him he ought to go to bed and he’ll prove that sometimes teenagers are just bigger versions of the toddlers they used to be.

He’ll tell me that I must have cheated when we wrestled because I won far too easily and I’ll tell him that sometimes I am as good I once was.

But what he won’t hear is in the inner dialogue in my head that is cheering because this time I really did feel like I was only 20.

The weightlifting is working. I can feel my strength returning. I just need to focus on my diet and see about dropping a belt size or four.

That is worth working on, especially because my focus is on the present, it is on what happens now.

It is on figuring out the best and smartest moves to make now. It is focused on acknowledging this sense of a major shake-up on the horizon and the need to protect myself and us.

The Great Dad Blogger War Of ’06

The veterans of the great war and all of the little ones that came before and after float aren’t as plentiful as we once were.

Our numbers are shrinking and those that replace us aren’t made of the same stuff as we were. They don’t want to be and even if they did it wouldn’t matter because we are all products of the environments we come from.

But some things never change. Most of us long for more readers, more comments and more acknowledgment that our words are read and appreciated.

I once told someone that I was all in and that we should forgive each other and move on.

I think I might have to say it again.

If they were near I would say I am all in and that we should forgive each other and move on.

I’d probably say something else about being in the middle of the story and how that provides us with the outline of what could be the next great adventure of our lives.

Won’t always be easy. Won’t always be hard.

But it will be fun and it will be worth the effort.

Do You See Me?

I might ask them to tell me if they really see me.

Might ask them if they really hear me.

Because I can no longer remember a time where I felt like I couldn’t do it with them, at least when we were both paying attention.

Tom Petty is singing American Girl and the parade of pictures shifts to us in my car and the adventures we had and have yet to experience.

Sometimes I stop the internal film and ask if what I see really is or was and wonder if the universe chooses to share snippets of a future that has yet to come.

That is the beauty of being in the middle of the story, there is plenty of time to get the answers to these questions.

Plenty of time to be all in and if need be to shift, pivot and adjust because if you don’t like how your story is being told you can always move.

You’re not a tree.

Originally published at www.thejackb.com on April 19, 2016.