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Friday, January 4, 2013

3 Reasons to Come Back

Knowing when to quit is a nuanced skill.  After all, we love nothing more than a good comeback.  Our professional sports leagues award Comeback Players Of the Year; we line up for sequels of even the most tired franchises and we hold no ideal in greater regard than that of never giving up hope.  That said, we also note with disdain and vicarious embarrassment, those who have held on too long: the athlete who retires and un-retires repeatedly, the aging actress who insists on obvious plastic surgery and the band who, despite custom made monitors, fails to notice that they just can’t hit the notes anymore. (Dear the Guess Who, I’m talking to you).  But despite these cautionary tales, I find my cup not quite as empty as I expected.  And so, a great risk to whatever reputation the previous iterations of this project has built for me, I have decided to come back for one more year.  And by way of explanation the only way I know how, here are three reasons I’m back:

1.  I can be.  The combination of the pending end to the football season, the greatest dearth of entertaining television since we invented the thing and no pressing yard work has left me with a great deal of free weekend time which I’m remiss to fill with anything similarly mindless.  I’ve tried crosswords, audio books and word games on my iPhone, but nothing really satiates me addiction to wording like just writing them down.  And so I’m back to spending my free doing what I spend the other twelve hours of my day doing: slapping the ol’ keyboard around (which may be the worst euphemism for writing, ever).  The primary difference being, no one will pay me to write the funny stuff.  Sure, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but neither do Gummi Krabby Patties, Gangham Style or the chronology of the James Bond series, and I’m completely addicted to all of those.  For the most part, I’ve got the time, and when I don’t I can finally make it.  And guess who gets to benefit from all that?  It’s definitely not my lawn.

2.  I want to be. Crossing the finish line of twenty years since high school means not being ashamed to like what you like, and I just like writing this stuff.  Three Things represents the first thing I’ve ever written that I can consistently go back and not be mortified while reading.  Sure, there are always things that I might tweak – and a few pieces I’d like to take back altogether, but on balance, I actually like what I wrote back then, and I’d like to have the same experience years from now.  Truth is, Facebook notwithstanding, very little of what we do has any permanence, and even less of it has any desirable permanence.  So if you find something that fits that category, seems to me like you ought to keep up with it.  Sure, I could spend my time doing all sort of mindless jibber-jabber, but just like a glass of scotch versus a fruity cocktail, I prefer laying down these tireless rants over more hedonistic endeavors.  Sure it may burn a little more at first, but doesn’t that seem to make the ride just that much sweeter?

3.  I must be. The catharsis of writing is a cruel addiction.  Walk away for just a moment, and the ache of keeping it bottled up arrives before the ink has dried on your previous piece.  Do that for the better part of a year, and you’ve got all the makings of a psychotic break.  Writing is a life sentence.  Writing is our most basic expression of intellect.  It is the sharing of information in a permanent way that gave rise to our civilization as we know it.  Recording our thoughts, our impressions and our aspirations is the most human thing we do, and if I have discovered any small part of the “meaning of life” it is that we are meant to share our minds.  No endeavor has ever given me the intellectual satisfaction that I derive from these pieces; this includes a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, qualification as a Nuclear Engineer in the Navy’s submarine program, a law degree from Stanford and eight years of private practice.  And so, for any measure of peace of mind, I have no choice… but to write.

* * *

When I first started writing these odes to that great Trifecta in the sky, I wondered if I might ever run out of “threes” to muse over.  And to that end, 2012 was instructive: there was always be new and horrible things to rant about; there will always be beautiful and wondrous exceptions to our otherwise barbaric and foolish nature to inspire with; and there will always, always be a reason to laugh, cry and maybe do that awkward thing that’s a bit of both.  And because of these things, these three things, I’m back – and with a little luck, and a whole lot of your support, I’ll be better than ever.   


Kristina Weller said...

Slapping the keyboard around? Is THAT what that noise was?

Weekends have been pretty busy!

Anonymous said...

So glad to see you are back! Love 3 Things! -Kevin

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