The Zoey Blog: 25 Random Pieces of Information...Version 2.0 (for Zoey) FINAL - COVER UNIVERSE EXPLORERS ORDER

Monday, September 21, 2009

25 Random Pieces of Information...Version 2.0 (for Zoey)

Awhile ago I was tagged in a Facebook note from my Father-in-Law, Gerry. The note was called 25 Random Pieces of Information. His openness and candor was a quietly inspiring thing and so I made my own list, tagged him in return and shoved it in the faces of a few others. It felt good, liberating if you will, as terribly lame as that might sound, but it was. It felt good enough to re-print here, for Zoey's sake, and perhaps to re-visit for round two of peek inside Brian. Why not? There's no Junior Mints in there, no alien or rotten soul...just me.

The original 25 pieces of random information...dated June 26th, 2009

1. I’ve passed on a dozen or more opportunities to make more money, work less or not as hard, or gain recognition because I believe in what I do. I also believe that whatever it is that I do well I still don’t understand. Maybe once I get a grip on all of this I’ll try something else.

2. I ask a lot of questions…and I can talk for hours…but you’d be surprised at what I hear.

3. If I ever disappointed my wife, well, I don’t want to think about how that might feel.

4. I’m learning more now than I ever did as a student.

5. Every time I look at our daughter I see June and I think that this little one will be just fine.

6. If you knew what I knew you’d be a lot more depressed than I am. For some reason I have more faith now than I ever did. There’s something infinitely more powerful in the energy of awful things than there is in the good stuff. I’ll take the loser that’s still playing over the winner who’s already achieved their goal any day. Success and happiness are terribly relevant terms.

7. I take the chore of living up to people’s expectations very seriously. I know what respect or affection means to me and it’s far too valuable for me to devalue with indifference.

8. I talk about my memories with June like I’m some kind of swooning school girl -- our friendship, our relationship, our engagement, our wedding, our child, our lives – it’s the kind of satisfaction that very few others can understand.

9. Two summers ago we lived at June’s parents house for 6 weeks and I got into the habit of talking to Gerry out on the deck every night when I got home from work. They were the kind of conversations that left me writing down things that I wanted to look up or learn more about, big ideas and an easy environment to not know something or to be converted to something else. I’d never had anything like that before and I liked it.

10. I almost always feel embarrassed when I get angry or annoyed. I tell myself that I’m better than that but then I remember that I’m not, no one is.

11. I used to think that Michigan changed me the most, that it was the thing I orbited around but June insists with authority that it was the book, and that year on the street. June says that my life can be divided in two, the Brian from before the book project and the Brian from after.

12. Most of who I am right now came from young people in trouble. I always think of the Lester Bangs line in the film Almost Famous, “The only true currency we have in this bankrupt world are the moments we share when we’re not cool.” He’s right.

13. I was sitting backstage at the Troubadour last winter with Jason Collett and I couldn’t stand what I was scribbling down. I had no interest in reading whatever it was that I would write from that exchange. Similarly, a dozen years ago I was sitting across the table from Gary Barnett in the bowels of Michigan Stadium and I didn’t want anything more to do with what I was doing at the moment. It just paled in comparison to what was happening in the real world and I wanted that stuff more. It was cool as hell, but it didn’t feel relevant or real in the least. I’ll take the real stuff and someone else can have the over-glorified crap. It’s never what you think it is.

14. A long time ago, probably when I was 14 or 15, I learned how often sincerity and curiosity were misconstrued as weakness or ignorance and how often other people would use those things to either steal energy, label you, or set you on some pre-determined shelf of their own making. I’ll guarantee you that I’m not what you think I am.

15. Growing up, and even now, I typically had some unique problems with adult males, especially the kind that embody authority whether they’re trying to or not – employers, parents, etc… I’m finally starting to connect all the dots with some degree of understanding. I either give my energy away or I fight really hard to keep it, there seem to be very few times that its anything in between. I didn’t have a very positive relationship with my own father and I really didn’t have much access to any other men whom I might have enjoyed some kind of kindred connection with. It explains a lot.

16. I believe in people and that won’t ever change.

17. Until you’ve stared into the eyes of someone who was truly desperate and was looking to you for help you won’t understand how the world works, and to be honest I don’t really want to talk to you about it because I’ll get angry…not at the world, but with you. Too many of us live behind white picket fences.

18. I used to think that my father and brother were the toughest guys I knew, until I grew up. I don’t think that anymore.

19. I don’t do much casually, despite how it might look. If I light up when I see you then I love you and want to be near you. If I ask you to do things then I want to be around you and that means great big gobs of respect and affection and curiosity. If I talk a lot when I’m with you it’s because you make me want to talk. There aren’t many casual relationships in my life. You’ve either got me or you don’t. If I stop to talk it’s because I want to. That’s much more than what most people interpret it as.

20. I could watch the first hour of ‘Casablanca’ or the first two hours of ‘Giant’ a billion and a half times. There’s no one on the planet cooler than Rick Blaine or Jett Rink…no one.

21. People say I write extremely well, and maybe I do but it’s not something I collect compliments for very graciously.

22. When I die I’d like to be cremated. I want the urn to read “Ripple in still water.” I could rest for an eternity in such lyrical perfection. I suppose Ill have to.

23. I wake up every day and just try to do the best I can do, be the best I can be…it’s a conscious decision, something I actually consider each day, not something you should just hope happens.

24. I don’t sleep very well sometimes.

25. That line in Pearl Jam’s song, Given to Fly, “He floated back down ‘cause he wanted to share the keys to the locks on the chains that he saw everywhere,” always shoots straight to my heart.

The new 25 random pieces of information...dated, well, today...September 21st, the last day of summer, 2009...

1. It takes decades to come to grips with who you really are and what it is that you really believe in, and when you finally do I dare you not to set your hands on your hips and sigh, "Well, shit." I did. I really couldn't believe that my values and decisions brought me to this place.

2. When I was young I never missed an episode of the TV series "Fame," I'm not kidding. I didn't have any interest in playing an instrument or dancing or even acting but the notion of all those incredibly talented people in one place, and all of that emotion and passion and commitment, it just mesmerized me.

3. There are certain people who's affection and respect I just crave. You could be one of those people. I think everyone is like that, so if you think about it, you could be that person for someone else ten times over. That's a heavy weight to bare, and one you should take really seriously. You have no idea how much you might mean to someone or what they think of you or how they see you. Respect that. It's a big deal.

4. I try to think about the day that I became a man, as if it might be this one day that I could a soldier might be able to...but nothing stands out. All of that thinking made me wonder whether or not I'd stumbled into that day yet. Then a friend opened up and said, "You've been a man since the day I met you. While everyone was busy trying to be what they thought a man was, you just were one." I don't think I've ever fielded a kinder compliment.

5. I'm easily disappointed. That used to bother me until I realized that all it really means is that I put a lot of faith in people. There are bigger character flaws.

6. I once read that, "an ant colony is far more intelligent than an ant," and I've tried to live my life with that knowledge. Most people don't, and there's the breakdown.

7. There's a lot of emphasis on kids being strong, on kids being successful. I want my daughter to be compassionate. That doesn't necessarily mean that she'll fit your version of success.

8. I don't think I'll grow old anywhere close to the places where I was young.

9. I built a lot of tree forts as a kid, so it makes sense to me why I'm always escaping to something or somewhere else. The day that you stop wanting to build tree forts is the day that you stop wanting something different in your life and don't feel confident enough that you can simply build it yourself. That explains the kind of people who have the same postal code as their parents.

10. It's crazy how much affection I'm capable of. I can simply pass you in the hallway and feel a rush of affection that you wouldn't believe. I've always been pretty generous with my affection.

11. I like to go to bed at night when the house is still alive with noise and light. It's probably some leftover thing from my childhood but it's comforting. It makes me feel safe and I'll drift off with a giant smile on my face. Then I wake up to June, who wasn't there when I fell asleep, and it's like this soft, warm, loving gift. Someday Zoey's going to grow up and move away and miss falling asleep in a house full of so much obvious and accessible love.

12. Despite my best false front I'm no Martin Luther King type. I understand what he was talking about but I have a hard time embracing it. Spit in my face and I'll knock you out. I'm not indiscriminate but I'm not gonna be pushed around.

13. I've got friends that I love and that I believe in, who I've told that to, who have heard me say those things out loud, in front of others but who don't ever reciprocate and that bothers me.

14. Just the other day I got me a pair of Jack Purcell Converse sneakers that I'd been waiting for my whole life, well, at least twenty years of it, and you know what? It was worth the wait.

15. If you embarrass me or make fun of me I probably won't ever forgive you. Those things are built from the ground up with awfully ugly intentions. If you hurt me it might have been by accident, but if you shame me there's a good chance that you knew exactly what you were doing.

16. Standing for something means a lot to me.

17. I don't remember a time when I didn't want to be a better person than I was.

18. If you do it right getting a tattoo is a deeply personal thing. You're taking the gift that nature or perhaps your God gave you and carving it up to your own liking. That's a pretty big deal, so you better be committed to what you're doing. You'd better believe in what you've done to yourself.

19. I worry that I'll die in a car. I don't want to die in a car.

20. I get so enthusiastic about certain things that sometimes when that enthusiasm isn't matched or returned I feel disappointed. I have no right to. It's my enthusiasm, not yours, but I want to spread it around like butter on toast. When your excited all by yourself it feels like trying to spread that chunk of cold, hard butter around hot toast. It just doesn't work and it's frustrating. It should work, but it doesn't.

21. I used to work in an auto plant in the summer, between semesters at school, and the notion of going to work on the midnight shift could put tears in my eyes. It was honorable work, and there were decent people there but I couldn't manage the notion that while the whole western world slept I was shuffling through something that I hated...It felt like some kind of damning double indemnity. I knew right away that I had to find something that connected me to people. I feel best when my rhythms match the rest of the worlds rhythms.

22. If I ever won the lottery, well, it was nice knowing you.

23. Tears come to me as easily as indifference doesn't.

24. I have this urge to keep moving forward in my life, not to look back too much. I want new streets, and new people, and new places to get excited about. I still don't think that I've found the actual home, that physical place, where I belong but I'll keep looking, Maybe I'll never find it, but maybe I will. That's more than enough reason to keep looking.

25. I've been lucky in my life that the mistakes I've made and learned from weren't ones that were out on display for everyone to see. I've mostly learned a lot without an audience. That makes a difference.


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