Wednesday, April 11, 2007

They Stone You When You Trying To Be So Good...

I am gonna be the last person in the world to complain. I've got my health, a strong body, a good mind, three healthy kids, two Ford Rangers--1994 with 275,000 miles and a 1998 with 110,000 miles--that are paid off and run like new, more work than I can do, a house that leaks but not too much, three dogs, two goats, a cat, lots of birds, a girl who lives with my oldest son in my house; an ex I'm getting along with; her new baby who calls me Pe-Ter and spends three or four days with me weekly, and I'm headed down to the Amazon for a three week trip in five days that people are paying me to lead.
So I'm not going to complain.
Three years ago I felt the same except that I had no work. So I was behind. I was borrowing all I could. I've already written about those hard times in an earlier post. This time I'm saying I've paid the Television a couple of months in advance, paid the phone two months, the water three months, the car insurance for everyone two months, the electric and phone two months and the mortgage isn't due for another three weeks.
And I've still got a thousand bucks in the bank.
It's not a lot, I know. But it's more than I've had in a long time, and so I'm sitting pretty and the family is eating good. Tonight I'm making shrimp and baked chicken thighs (not together, just two different things), steamed broccoli, salad and Basmati rice with garlic.
That's living large, folks, so forgive me for feeling good. When a dad can't provide he feels like garbage; when he can he feels like he earned his sleep at night. He'll still wake up three or four times to check that everyone is okay and that there's no problem outside the house, but he'll have good dreams.
And I appreciate that more than is possible to explain.
Being poor, really poor, for a while has reminded me of how it was for me years ago, before the good times. So I had to do a full cycle and come back to desperation despite the hardest work possible to remember the keys to survival: Work, keep working, don't feel sorry for yourself, make another phone call, eat your ego and do what needs doing and pray a lot for help from powers you don't even necessarily believe in.
The kids are the thing, right? You and me can live in a swamp and be happy. That's not the issue. The issue is that the kids can go to the doctor when they need to, can have a good birthday and a decent Christmas. Have some good used clothes to wear, and a pair of shoes that don't hurt their feet. And maybe a dental visit every two or three years. Not too much, but enough.
All that said, even when things are good, the angels are reminding me not to get cocky. That's what reminded me of Dylan's ageless song, Rainy Day Women #12 and 35, from which this piece got its title.
Cause now that I've got bills paid, now that I've got three magazines oweing me for stories I've already written and a trip to Peru next week that might net me another grand, even after all my expenses, in other words, now that I'm a freaking pig with shrimp on the stove, today the lawnmower belt broke on one mower, then the blade broke on the other. Then my ex's car broke down when a hose burst and the engine overheated, tossing a rod. Then the little roof leak dropped a 4 X 6 foot section of ceiling down on the computer. And the puppy needed a parvo shot. And then I gritted my teeth and broke a crown.
So there goes more money than I have.
So it's a good reminder that you shouldn't get cocky.
Cause even when you're working hard and thinking things are going good, the ceiling might fall on your head.
And it did.
Just another wake up call from the angels.
Time to go fix at least one of the lawn mowers.
"They'll stone you when you're trying to be so good. They'll stone you just like they said they would. They'll stone you when you are young and able. They'll stone you when you're sitting at the table. But I would not be so all alone....everybody must get stoned...."
Thanks Mr. Dylan.


bamboo said...

You hit it on the head about how it good it feels to provide. On one journey of tea drinking I wanted to know how to best keep my family safe, secure and happy. The answer- Keep them belly full.

Phoenix said...

Thanks for keeping it real Mr Gorman. All I can write about is my theories of life. Never had kids, a mortgage, an ex or a goat but I get what you're talking about vicariously. when the angels pull the rug out from under you may you land on your feet.