When I Was Younger -by Gryphon

from Admin – This is an inspiring story about surviving the pitts of life:

When I was younger (not young) I was in love with studying politics as an art and watching current world events. Bosnian War crap and ethnic cleansing was going on in the Balkans and the Clinton administration was having a grand old time. This was before we knew anything about Monica and Slick Willie hadn’t Wagged The Dog in Somalia just yet.

It had been several years since the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union had collapsed and news du jour always pushes the previous day’s fare off the map. Regardless of how monumental positive world events are they always get relegated to the dead letter file–unless you are a dead Princess named Diana and that seemed to NEVER go away.

What were YOU doing when the Wall came tumbling down?

I was watching it happen on CNN, but I was also quite likely stone drunk which I usually was in those days. Who do you know who can talk intelligently about the end of the Cold War and the ramifications today? I’m a junkie for that kind of stuff and I know no one. Well, years later, fast forwarding to 1995, I was younger by nearly 15 years than now (of course). I had gone back to college in my mid 30s and was in my junior year at the illustrious University of Christopher Newport. My son was still alive in 1995 but not for the whole year.

I was studying for my PoliSci degree and living as nearly the oldest man ever in the university dorms. I’m sure I couldn’t have been the oldest man to ever do it as I was still a Spring Chicken in my 30s but I was pushing the envelope and no news reporter was doing a story on me. What a shame, anyway…….

I had a great sense of humor–still do–but it went away for a while. And when it went away, it didn’t announce it was going and then stick around to say its fond farewells. Oh no. You see it was my sense of humor in all its weird and wonderful permutations that kept me sane. My humor went away in March of 1995. That was when my son died. He was my only biological child. I had two adopted daughters and if anyone tries to tell you that the love you feel for an adopted child is any less than the love you feel for a biological child is different you can tell them that I say they are a damn liar.

But he was my only son, and that is a special relationship that can’t be explained in a short space here. Add to this the sense of guilt I was carrying for the disastrous physical health with which he was born. He was born with multiple handicaps that the doctors told us would cause his early demise–they said maximum age 13. They missed it by only two years. He was eleven when he died.

The Bosnian War in what was formerly Yugoslavia had been raging since 1992. I was following it closely in the news. Ethnic cleansing, rape and murder of women, and wholesale massacres were going on. It was absolutely horrendous. It made me ill to read about it in the press and to see it on television but I was hooked into it. You see my major field of politics was theory. I was ALL up into the past masters; Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, Rawls, Hegel, Marx, Mills, et. al. and etc. I was trying to apply some grand political evolutionary plan based on theorhetical poltics and doing my whole Karl Marx/GWF Hegel thing on thesis and antithesis equals synthesis.

By the way, that doesn’t work for the most part but it’s fun trying.

And then my boy died.

And suddenly I could find NOTHING humorous about ANYTHING anymore–not even stuff that was SUPPOSED to be funny. My intake of alcohol very nearly tripled and it was already nearly off the scale as it was. I didn’t know it at the time but I think I was subconsciously trying to kill myself. uh huh. Instead of watching the news and laughing it off as “that’s the way the world is” and playing my fiddle while Rome incinerated–instead of throwing down with the philosophers and historians and trying to find a synthesis in the whole fetid, septic mess . . . INSTEAD . . . I was left only with the absolute paralyzing HORROR of the whole damn show.

Humanity was going to hell and I had a front row seat! Suddenly I wanted to get up and run out of the theater. But, I wasn’t here as a regular member of the audience. I had a job as a Reviewer. And objective criticism flew out the window the moment the voice on the telephone told me that he was gone. Everything became totally subjective from the rain on the window to ethnic cleansing in Herzegovina.

I began to rave and rage and rant. I did it best when deep in my cups but could raise a little mania even in times of relative sobriety.

Now I just looked at the bottom of this post text entry box and notice that I have got to 0ver 900 words and am not sure if I am getting anywhere I wanted to be when I started in regards to making an actual damn point.

I’m going to light a cigarette and think about this a moment. Don’t go anywhere.

O.K. Still here? I got it now. Sometimes it pays to look at the title.
When I Was Younger

I am fifteen years older now. Nearly a generation older. Had my son lived he would have turned 25 this year. But he didn’t. So he’s not. I hope that doesn’t sound cold. I still think about him and get very deeply sentimental and retrospective about him at certain times of the year, like around his birthday and Christmas, you understand?

I eventually got sober after a long hard struggle. I had already lost the care that a lot of people had for me over the destructive way I was treating myself and them as a byproduct. And for the most part and for most of those people the care will not be restored. But time passed. Bad events became things of the past and things of memory. I regained my humor. Thank God. I changed. Thank God.

I met more people. I did more things. And the present became something in which to actively work for things that suddenly seemed to be worthwhile. The present stopped being merely a space in which to rehash the past and criticize everyone around me. The present became a place in which to live.

And writing those last words I just had a freaking epiphany but that’s for another time, maybe. But it tells me that it’s time to wrap this up and try to impart a moral or some such shit, so here goes . . .

Time Passes

Too simplistic? I happen to think it very profound especially if coupled with

Nothing Lasts Forever

Too Cliche?

Look People! Just try to be good to yourselves. The people I know in this world amounts to NOTHING compared to the actual number of people in this world, but I love every last loony one of you! SO BE GOOD TO YOURSELVES! And if you think that LAST commandment is tough, try this one: BE GOOD TO ONE ANOTHER! ‘kay?

All you or I or your pet gerbil have is today. Stop burying yourselves in regrets and griefs of the past. Stop worrying about what is going to happen and how you’re going to live and eat then. Isn’t today bad enough for you that you have to take time off from getting things right RIGHT now to worry about things that for the most part you have no real control over. Take care of today and tomorrow will take care of itself. and love love love love. One more time, love.

I love you guys. Now go love each other.

Merry Christmas.



About DigitalPlato

Poch is a Bookrix author and a freelance writer. He is a frequent contributor to TED Conversations.
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4 Responses to When I Was Younger -by Gryphon

  1. writerdood says:

    Very nice.
    Good article. I enjoyed reading it.
    Merry Christmas to you guys as well.


  2. Gryphon says:

    Like I said over in the Aerie, I am honored that pochp saw this has something worth a repost here.

    Truth is, it wasn’t intended to be a maudlin retrospective of my life 15 years ago. I become so disheartened by what I see the human race doing to itself, that I long to reach out and try to grab it and give a violent shake and say, “Wake Up, Damn You!” I also long to reach out and grab it and hug it until it begins to love itself long enough to stop what it is doing to itself.

    I thought a story from my past concerning these things might make a difference in someone, somewhere, and sometime. Don’t know if it will. My cynical side says it won’t. My spiritual side on the infinitesimal chance that it will then I have to try.

    Don’t feel sorry for me “back then.” I hope I made that much clear. Instead, realize just how important it is to take the love that is abundantly available from an infinite source that is struggling to share it with you. And then once you have a hold of that love, use it to love yourself. And then because you will have no other choice at that point, share it with others.

    Do it today. Yesterday is absolutely irretrievable. Tomorrow will not come.

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