I listened to Charlie Parker as I cooked dinner tonight.
Jazz isn’t out of the ordinary for me, and it’s not like you can listen to anything else after watching Whiplash on demand.
So it was me, and Bird, and the sound of sizzling Brussels sprouts drenched in sriracha sauce. All I needed was a glass of Cabernet and it totally would have been a scene in a movie.
It surely felt that way.
But right now, my life feels like what happens to characters after a movie ends. The credits roll, and in the theater you’re like, “I wonder if he became a famous musician after all of this? Do you think he got back together with that girl?”
And the person you’re with says, “It’s just a movie. Nothing happens with them next.”
And you’re like, “I guess you’re right.”
But you still think about it silently on the car ride home. And again before you go to sleep. “He really was a great drummer. Maybe he got a gig at the Blue Note. And I hope he stabs that J.K. Simmons bastard to death.”
And then you start worrying about him in jail after he kills his teacher. “I wonder how many push ups he could do?”
And then you start thinking about The Shawshank Redemption. “His first night in the joint, Andy Dufresne cost me two packs of cigarettes. He never made a sound.”
And then you fall asleep.
So, I’m like a movie character after the credits. Guy gets his book published, lives on the beach in Florida, guy’s father gets sick, guy moves back to New York, father dies. And then the movie ends and you turn to the person you went to the movies with and whisper, “I wonder what he’ll do next.”
I’m kind of just waiting. Seeing which way the universe will unfold. Listening to jazz. Writing this to you. Yes, you. The person reading this right now.
After I ate, I was interviewed by some blog-talk radio station and then I sat back in front of the TV. Not much else to do with this continuing blizzard outside.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was on. A true story about a writer who at the age of forty-three, suffers a stroke that leaves him completely paralyzed. Completely paralyzed except for his left eye. Which he blinks out the alphabet with.
I turned it on during a flashback scene. His father was sick and he was shaving his face for him. They jokingly mock each other back and forth and then his father says, “I remember what I wanted to tell you – I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you.”
Coming out of the flashback, voiced over, the writer says something like, “Praise from my father. We’re all children, we all need approval.”
Jesus man, what are the chances of “coincidentally” turning the TV on right at this scene? It really is like I’m in a movie.
I remember my dad’s scruffy face so well. I rubbed my face against his right after I watched him take his last breath.
And on the couch tonight, watching this movie about this guy who can only live through memories, I decided to feel grateful. Really grateful for everything.
My breathing. The heat that kicked on in the house at that moment. Etcetera etcetera.
But then I started to question it all. Once again. Is it okay to feel grateful after realizing and re-realizing the abhorrent suffering of others?
I guess the answer is yes. Anything that causes you to feel grateful is okay in my book.
And maybe that’s the answer. The answer to the question I’m always asking myself. What’s the best way to live this life of ours?
In appreciation of all the little things. Always.
Because the big things just seem to happen. With or without our approval, asking for, or understanding of. They just seem to happen.
Listen, I know I’m not saying anything new here. We’ve all heard the “be grateful” rap before.
And I honestly had no idea I’d end up talking about this when I first opened my laptop. I was just thinking about that kid in Whiplash and I just wanted to write about how much I miss being young. Being young with myriad possibilities.
Alas, such is life.
And what happens to me next in this movie I’m in?
Who’s to know really.
Maybe the pages have already been written by the great scriptwriter in the sky, or maybe it’s being written as I go. Maybe it’s a quantum combination of both. No one knows for sure and be wary of anyone who professes they do.
Here’s one possibility for the next scene though: A woman found my book Where Is God When Your Loved Ones Get Sick? on Facebook and she fell in love with it. It turns out that she’s friends with Robby Krieger, the guitarist from The Doors, and since I mention his old band a few times in that book, she’s giving it to him this weekend.
Maybe he’ll tell the world about it and I end up living happily ever after.
I’d like to see a movie like that.
thank you for trading your time to read this – it really means the world to me,