Archive for October, 2010

A Year Later

I’ve been sharing the tales of this great journey with you guys for a little over 365 days now. I have learned a lot in this year of telling Large Man stories. The best lesson to date is that no matter how much I learn along the way, the things I don’t know will always be in the heavier suitcase. That’s probably the only real sense of pride that I take away from The Large Man Chronicles experience.  

I am in frequent interaction with men and women who know everything, and they are happy to let you know how and why they do. I always find these people comical, and sometimes even a little scary – kinda like a circus clown. That will never be me. The more I write about the people, places, and things that I see, the more I realize how much I don’t know.

Every time I sit in front of this Compaq 6515b and try to turn my view of things into words, I realize all the things I don’t understand. Presenting a coherent organization of thoughts expressed in a way that you, the reader, can relate to, understand, and appreciate seems like it should be so easy, but it never is. It’s fun, it’s always a challenge, but it’s never easy. Then, when I press the “publish” key on WordPress, I feel like I’m watching my daughter cross the street  all by herself for the first time…I trust that things are gonna be okay, but I never know.

So why do it?

Socrates said that “the unexamined life is not worth living”. Socrates was a dick.

Well…that may be a little harsh, and I don’t completely disagree, but like everything else, moderation is the key. I truly believe that too much examination of life can be counterproductive – it’s so easy to over think shit. I’m walking, talking, keyboard chunking proof. I over think every single part of my life. I guess I do this because of all the things I don’t know. I’m so proud of it in paragraph one of this little essay, but here I am complaining about it a couple of lines later. This is the shit that the people who love me and I deal with every single day. It’s madness.

 It’s a Bad News/Good News situation.

The bad news: I teeter on the edge of being a semi-institutionalized, drooling, former salesman that tried to make it as a writer but now can’t make it to lunch without the meds.

The good news: Because I write it all out and I’m willing to share, I unload a little of my psychosis bucket into your bucket. To Socrates’ point, this “examination” of life is relatively cheap therapy for me, and it seems to entertain many of you.  Better news:  If the self therapy doesn’t take, and they haul me off to the happy house, you all get be witness to the drama and humiliation. Stuff like that can be a lot of fun.

And here’s the very bestest part: I’m putting all of you in a perfect I told you so position.

If I end up getting hauled away to the funny farm, every one of you can say, “I was there man! I saw it coming. Don’t know why it didn’t happen sooner. Ya know, I always thought there was something about that dude…”

Or, if I become famous (or maybe even rich), you can say, “I was there man! I saw it coming. Don’t know why it didn’t happen sooner. Ya know, I always thought there was something about that dude…”

You’re welcome.

In all seriousness, I doubt that I’m in any immediate danger of a meltdown, but I’m starting to understand why so many people in the arts are a little bit “out there”. The distance between crazy and normal is sometimes measured by ones bank balance. Angelina Jolie gets to roam the street as a free woman because she’s rich. You can’t tell me she’s not off the reservation cuckoo. But other “peculiar” people are put into state homes every day because of their stories about the UFO they saw last night. Income (and smokin hotness) issues many a pass…I think Socrates said that too.

I guess this logic puts me in the “moderately unstable” category. I’m not wealthy enough to be considered a “quirky writer”, but I’m not poor enough to be considered “deranged”.  I’m not a physical threat to anybody, and I pay too much in taxes for the government to let anybody take me off the street. I’m not paranoid or anything, but The Large Man Chronicles is on the internet, so I’m sure there is a government agency that has a file on me. Trust me, they’re watching.

Along with the psychological treatment aspects of writing the LMC, I also use it as a tool that will help me remember and appreciate the things I see along the way. Sharing it with the rest of you wasn’t an original intent, but that’s where I get the magic…if I kept it to myself, it would just be a journal or a diary.  There’s nothing too exciting to me about a journal, and only teenage girls keep diaries…

 Plus, The Large Man Journal would make a shitty looking t-shirt.

The very first time I opened up MS Word and typed The Large Man Chronicles…dropped in the date, and gave the page a title, knowing that it was going to be published on my blog page (Thanks Kelly Armentrout!) I got a few butterflies. My palms got as clammy as the first time I held my wife’s hand, and I just sat there for a minute or two and smiled. The butterflies and sweaty palms are mostly gone, but there is still magic in the moment when I type out the header for the next story. Knowing that a few hundred people are going to take a few minutes to read what I have to say is pretty special. I don’t think that feeling will ever go away.

 I wondered if the things I saw, or the way that I saw them, (just a few parts of my “examined” life) might be something that someone could relate to. Just some of you, never all of you – and not even most…just some would be good enough.  A year and 10,871 website hits later, it’s still a work in progress, but I’m happy with what it has become.  That’s a big deal, because it’s really hard for me to be happy.  The LMC makes me happy, not satisfied, but truly happy. Satisfaction will probably never come, and that’s okay – it’s the way it should be.

Based on your comments, The Large Man Chronicles has made a few people laugh, a few people cry, bored a few, and disappointed a few. If this Large Man thing made a few people think about something that they might not have otherwise, then it has accomplished something.   

I’m not sorry for anything I’ve written, but I realize that some stories were better than others. Some were a little too sweet, some were definitely too salty, and some never delivered the message that was originally intended. It ain’t easy. I have only written one story that I can say I’m truly proud of.

A big lesson learned in the process, and something I should have known at the start, is how powerful the written word truly is. Not my written words, but anybody’s. Having learned this in year one, I’m gonna be a little more respectful of it moving forward. The things we say can evaporate and disappear over time…the things we write can quite possibly last forever. I’m not arrogant enough to think that my ramblings will be historical documents; I’m just going to be mindful of the fact that there is permanence to things that are written.  (I guess I shouldn’t have called Socrates a dick)

 So, that’s why I do it. It’s the therapy for my lunacy, and it’s a desire to get other people to take some time to look around.  Look at your kids, your friends, and your loved ones, and let those images burn into your memory. Enjoy the simple things like a cold beer, and a hot waitress, but still appreciate and try to examine the more complicated things, like a mentor or a hero or a moment in time. It’s all amazing, and it’s all right in front of us. Maybe Socrates had a point.

 I’ll keep throwing this stuff out there, and if some of you can relate to what I’m saying, it will make me feel a little less crazy. That’s’ good enough.

Thanks for reading.

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