Shortly after my father died...
Look, I'm taking an aside to tell you this is not going to be one of those weepy introspective dead father posts. I aim neither to depress you nor impress you by waxing rhapsodic over the acmes of my grief. There will be no tears tonight. I haven't cried all week, as a matter of fact, which is some kind of record for me. Of course, it's my birthday week. That's right. I said "week." There's no crying during my birthday week. During my birthday week, everyone is supposed to tell me I'm pretty and buy me drinks. Good drinks, you understand? You can keep your Budweiser and off-brand vodka. I'll have something expensive, bitches! (I'm actually not sure how this migrated from reassuring my three readers that I'm not going to get all depressing to ordering them to buy me drinks. But, let's go with it because, hey, free drinks!).
Where was I?
Shortly after my father died, I went to his office to pick up some of his stuff. After we left, one of his colleagues walked us out to the car and stood patiently waiting for me to get a hold of myself (FYI: when your parent dies, people will stand patiently and wait until you're ready to wipe all the runny mascara and snot off your face. They will not even comment when you remain snotty). Once I was done, he said "I just wanted to tell you that your father always made time for the people he worked with. If someone came into his office with a question, he would stop and listen. He was a really good man and we're going to miss him a lot." (all right, I'm getting a little weepy now... but in a minute I'm turning this ship around to focus it back on me, and then we'll all be just delighted because it is my birthday week and you are constitutionally obliged to find me delightful. Look it up. I'm pretty sure it's in the same version of the Constitution that Michelle Bachman uses because that is one cuh-razy Constitution!)
Roger Ebert, who you know died yesterday, had a similarly kind, collegial reputation. Check out this great great great article about him from Will Leitch (http://deadspin.com/5482198/my-roger-ebert-story).
Both of those men really lived good lives. They both lived up to Charlotte's Web. Of course, you know what I'm talking about... that quote at the end that I like so much? You know. You don't know? Jesus Christ, you guys, I don't write this stuff for my health. I expect you to remember it. God. I bet you haven't bought my birthday drink yet either. I just don't know what .... Fine. Here's the quote:
"We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.”
(FYI - you just got a little taste of what it's like to live with me. You might want to buy Don a drink while you're at it)
I've thought about this a lot since I grew up (I grew up around 40... now I'm just growing out! HAHAHAHA! Middle-age jokes are the best): I'd really like to be in a profession where I'm lifting myself up by helping people. I often wish I were doing good, important work like my father did. Like Roger Ebert did. But instead I do a job in which I draw a salary that enables me to continue paying down the massive debt we accrued adopting Laney.
Poor, poor me, right?
Oof - so much bullshit, such slight bloggery! Because even if I'm not making my living taking care of the mentally ill like my father, or writing about art like Roger Ebert, or teaching like my mother did, I can still strive for honest collegiality. I can still aim to be kind and open and willing to help the people around me. We all can.
It's something I'll try harder to do. Next week. As I think I've made it abundantly clear that this week is my birthday week so it's on you to do the heavy lifting. And drink buying. I've heard good things about the Moscow Mule! Let's get on it! (http://www.esquire.com/drinks/moscow-mule-drink-recipe)