Friday, February 1, 2013

The Rock: Chapter 1 Continued

“There is no greater glory than a good piece of wood in hand, the path underfoot, your dogs at your side and the call of the wild leading you on.”

How many years it took to earn the right to write those words...

There are many reasons I could offer up as to 'Why' I initially didn't want Malcolm in my life like I had no compelling need or even the slightest desire to have a dog.  Or I was busy in business school and my upbringing just didn't lend itself to a loving nature towards companion animals.  

But this isn't a fluff piece.  I am writing this with the purist of intentions like scientists trying to understand something unquantifiable and seemingly, eternally elusive.  The thing that keeps them up late at night in the lab, calibrating, testing, and toiling then recalibrating, retesting, and toiling is the same thing that keeps me up late at night.   

Only we use different instruments.  This book is my microscope, the focal point of which is aimed squarely into the depths of my soul and the lens I chose for it, the lens I use isn't either refracting or reflecting, it's a piercing one.  


Inglorious (sic) Basterd

The truth is I've always been a self centered, singularly absorbed, solipsistic sumbitch hyper focused on myself, something that's taken me a long time to understand and accept. 

Hell, I was having fun in my twenties and I had no interest in being encumbered.  I was exceedingly well educated, rakishly handsome, dapperly dressed, dating models, and in an upward spiral to what I thought was my destiny.   Hey, there you are, you smart looking devil.

And then everything changed.  Not immediately.  Nothing ever does.  


But even after I had Malcolm for a couple of years I still wasn’t what you would consider a dog lover.  I didn’t go to parks to meet other dog people and whenever we were out for a stroll and happened upon one of them I hurried by. 

They creeped me out kinda like the cheerleader and beauty pageant moms of the south who live fanatically and vicariously through their kids. Think Toddlers and Tiaras.  I won't even mention the other one.  

I felt uncomfortable being around dog people, you know the ones who talk all about the color, consistency and regularity of poop like a carat rating then hit you up with play dates?  I had absolutely no interest in discussing Malcolm’s bowel movements with complete strangers or hearing how special their little snowflake was.  It’s like they lived in this one-dimensional universe and I was a stranger in their strange land.

A girlfriend once goaded me into going to some sort of dog event up in the hill country and it didn’t do anything for me.  I wasn’t interested in talking to anyone there so I found a secluded patch of flat grass far away from the others and just hung out with Malcolm.     

I didn't know if I was protecting myself from them or protecting him.    

Whatever, I wanted no part of it, which, in the grand scheme of things is a cosmic irony why I was picked for this mission.  


Of Metaphysics and Men

Noone likes being under the scope but it's a responsibility some must bear.  John Donne famously wrote, "No man is an island in of himself".  It's a quote that's almost always abused and misused.  

He should've written instead, "We are all rocks part of a great mountain.  Some of us choose to be pebbles, some cobblestones, and others gigantic boulders.  But we are all, each and everyone of us, part of it."  

Though I studied Donne and Johnson and all the rest in a 17th century literature class in college, I had no idea what any of that meant at the time and even if I did, I could have never predicted nor been prepared for that one day back in 1997 in Castroville, Texas when I got the call from Lindsey.  


Unexpectedly, unwillingly, and definitely undeservedly, I became part of something bigger than me back then.   

Malcolm became the rock that I broke myself against.  


Author's Note:  Publishing this book in blog form wasn't my intention and I keep making mistakes.  Not in the MLA English writing sense, screw THOSE assholes who constrain writing, but the notes, thoughts, ideas, drafts, revisions, edits, and midnight musings have been written in more states than the union has, and on scratch paper, cocktail napkins, several moleskins, and multiple computers that have gone kaput on me.  Piecing them together has really become the story.  

In the preface to an anthology of poems by Dylan Thomas he wrote, "These poems, with all their crudities, doubts, and confusions, are written for the love of Man and in praise of Dog, and I'd be a damn' fool if they weren't."  

I'll try to do a better job of it but if I don't, I'll either curse you for it or condemn myself.  


Anonymous said...

"This above all: to thine own self be true." W.S.

Your courage to be true and look into the depths of your soul and share these thoughts with us is beautiful. Such a difficult thing, yet you continue to share.

"Malcolm became the rock that I broke myself against." So powerful and raw, yet so delicate. Truth, strength, love and pain all in one telling sentence.

Your words are beautiful, honest, passionate and deep. But your courage to open up your heart and soul....captivating.

I long for more.


Anonymous said...

First time visitor here. My wife and I met a high school friend of yours who told your story with such eloquence, we were intrigued and immediately inspired to join your cause. "But there's more," she insisted, "Just wait until you hear him tell it."

All we can say is WOW. A guy with a great adventure and passion to make a difference is one thing; but a guy with an even greater talent and passion for telling it? That's extremely rare, and another story in itself. It's the key combo, in my opinion. Keep on living it, man. But definitely, keep telling it. We're on board for the ride.

Anonymous said...

You move me.

Anonymous said...

"....the rock I broke myself against."

Painfully poignant.