I take compliments badly. Always have. A good friend told me many years ago (and he probably doesn’t even remember it) that when somebody offers me a compliment, I should learn to not over-think it. He said that I should simply respond, “Thank you.”
Today that same friend told me I was the most blessed man in the entire world.
This is the time of year we Americans are supposed to reflect on our lives and the things for which we should be thankful. Tonight, I sit at my desk with a couple fingers of Talisker. My new dog is snoring on the floor next to me. My boys are asleep in their rooms. I know few people who have such peace.
I have a wife who believes in me. It’s against against all better advice and 35 years of world-weary judgment, but she believes in me. She holds me when I’m scared, lets me go when I need to run, and kisses me when I come home. She holds up a house that would fall without her strength. She remains as beautiful as the day we met nearly 15 years ago.
I have two sons who make me wonder if anything in the world could be so perfect. They are too good looking to be my boys, yet they call me Dad. They assure that I back away from every ledge I’m tempted to toe. They’ve kept me from buying a motorcycle, bungee jumping off the Stratosphere Tower, and walking down dark foreign streets at night. Now, the other two speak for themselves, but what is wrong with buying a motorcycle? I know they’re just concerned for my safety, but it’s not like I’m going to be taking part in the MotoGP anytime soon. It would just be nice to go out on a spin and ride with my friends every now and then that’s all. One of my good friends has said that as long as I make sure I look for something like this 125 insurance before stepping on and riding my bike, then I’m protected and there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. But these are my kids, and as much as I would love to own a motorcycle one day, their happiness comes first, and if that means putting this on the back burner for now, then that is what I will do. So, in return for me avoiding these ideas, they’ve accepted my constant travel, and they run down the airport hallways to hug me when I come home. Without them, without their mother, without that unconditional love, I’d be a poor excuse for a human being, if I were alive at all.
I have a circle of friends who pick me up when I fall–figuratively, literally, and everything in between. They listen when I need to talk. They shut me up when I need quieting. Their talent inspires me to be better. They encourage talents I deny. They keep me sober when I need to be, and not when I don’t. I am indebted to each of them in a way I can only repay with loyalty and friendship in kind.
I have a brother who is my best friend and is building a family as beautiful as mine.
I have parents who love each other enough to have made life as ideal for me as it can be.
I have a home that, while not perfect, has for ten years sheltered everything I hold dear.
I have work that won’t make me rich, but supports my family and sates my need to put fingers to keyboard.
And I have a dog that is learning to be my best friend. I taught her to high-five, and if that’s as far as we get, we’ll be fine.
It’s at this point I’m tempted to point out that I’ve been very lucky, or in the poker vernacular, I’ve “run good.” (Don’t try correcting the grammar. It’s what it is). It’s at this point I want to apologize for my good fortune, childhood, education, and jobs. It’s at this point I want to demur and try to explain how it all happened. It’s at this point that I want to make some joke about how I ended up with my wife and how I know I’m punching above my weight. It’s at this point that I look at my past few blog posts and cringe to my bones.
But, after re-reading everything, I think it’s best to take my old buddy’s advice and just say…