Just to Smile

They say springtime is coming in less than one month. This means our half of the northern hemisphere will tilt closer towards the sun. This means more daylight and an earlier sunrise. This means warmer weather too, which means summer will be here before we know it.
As for now, I am writing to you with no agenda in mind. In fact, I am watching the orange hue build from the horizon in the east. There is a white line in the sky, which is the sign of a jet plane, flown over my home at a place I call Wesley Hills. I am on the verge of something here. And so are you, for that matter. We all are.

There is a change coming. And I don’t know what this means. I don’t know what any of this will look like. All I know is that coming soon, the snow on the fields behind my home and on the wooded side of my property will melt. For now, I am not concerned about the unsettledness. For now, I decided to keep the morning simple. I have Chuck Mangione playing at a quiet level in the background. I like Chuck. I dig his style, which is dated to say the least but hey, music is meaningful to me.
Do you remember him by the way?
Or better yet, do you even know who Chuck Mangione is?

There is a song of his that dates back with me to a time, long ago. There is a song called Feels So Good, and for me, the easiness from the song and the internal feelings that come are a link back to a time of childhood where nothing was so bad or contemptuous. Maybe Chuck isn’t your guy and maybe his music isn’t your thing. And that’s fine. But still, there is something about his songs that hits home. And there is another song, aside from the one I mentioned before.. This one is the Cannonball Run theme that comes from a movie I watched as a young boy.
There was something about this movie too. It was a comedy to say the least. This was also a movie I watched more times than I could count. And I remember this from when I was young and sick.
It would be dishonest to say that I was exceptionally healthy as a boy. I was painfully thin. I had problems eating food. I’m not quite sure how to explain this other than to say that I was far from a good eater. I did not like to eat. I enjoyed some foods but I was a terrible eater.
I did not like too many different flavors, which is a funny thing for me to say now. I was far from adventurous. I would never eat things that were out of my comfort zone. This is a funny thing to say because as a grown man, I am someone that has taken more than a few dares when it comes to eating exotic foods. And I laugh when they call them exotic foods because in fairness, there is nothing exotic about them. Who the hell ever thought about eating a scorpion?
Nevertheless, I digress.
And back to the point, I am listening to some music in the background that links me back to a connection that allows me to close my eyes and see my childhood home. I can see this exactly as it was.
I can see my living room and my family room, which we called the den. I can see the old paneling on the walls. I can envision the couch and the big television. I can see the Old Man and Mom too. They were so young then. And they were happy too.
And about the television, in fairness, the television itself was not so big. However, the television was only big for televisions back then. These were the days before technology. These were the days before huge HD flat screens televisions. There were no cell phones. There were car phones back then. I know that I saw a few.
In fact, if my memory serves correctly, The Old Man had one in his work truck but I don’t think the capabilities were quite the same as the cellular services we have now.

Kids used to play outside back then. There were video games back then. And they were fun but being outside and outdoors was always the primary choice as opposed to being indoors and playing a video game.
See, I come from the days before caller ID. I come from the days of corny prank phone calls. In fact, I come from the days when we did silly little things, like say, order a bunch of pizzas by phone and had them delivered to someone’s house, just to mess around.
We would order something with extra anchovies and pepperoni. And make that two pies with a few 2 liter bottles of Pepsi, or make it three and then we would send it to someone’s house nearby.
Usually, we’d send this to a neighbor that we didn’t like. And I say we because I mean myself and my friends. Then of course, there were the old jokes. There were the times we’d call the bowling alley and ask the person that answered the phone if they had 15lb balls. And they’d say yes and we’d laugh and say it must be hard to walk.

Eventually, the people would just hang up because they knew who we were. They might not have known our names or faces. But they knew our voices on the phone. In fact, the man from the pizza place screamed at me in Italian. I’m not sure what he said exactly but I’m sure whatever it was, it wasn’t friendly. And if the man could, I’m sure he would have loved to kick my ass. 

I’m smiling now.
Then again, of course I am. I am thinking about a different lifetime when I never thought much about tomorrow or the day after that. I never thought much about my future because as a kid, there is always a plethora of tomorrows. Plus, the world was so much less intense. Everyone is so easily offended now. 
I see these kids, fresh out of school and entering into the working world. I see them and I watch their faces as they apply themselves to adult life, which is real life, especially when there’s no one around to wipe your nose.

I heard a youngster talk about his supervisor. He said he was offended by the way he was told to go clean something. He said he was going to tell his supervisor to speak differently. I watched the supervisor say, “Oh yeah?” and then tell the youngster. “I understand that”
The supervisor said, “I forgot to say please. How rude of me.”
I laughed because I knew what was coming next. And I was right about this too. The supervisor belted out, “So please, go do what I told you to do!.”
The youngster seemed appalled when the supervisor added, “ You know what, just get out of here. Get away from me! Go back home so your mom can wipe your ass because I’m not gonna do it.”

The kid was an intern with a father in a position somewhere. And of course nepotism is a real thing, so of course the supervisor heard some pushback. But still, the kid was in for a rude awakening once he enters the real world.

Life doesn’t care if we are offended. Apparently, this is only important to us. In fact, I have spoken about mental health and after presentations, I’ve had people come up to me and argue my position or tell me they were upset about what I said. I offended them. I smile and tell them “Good.”
I had a mother approach me after a town hall meeting. She said that I made some of the children in the audience emotional and cry. I told her “I would rather them cry here then be locked up in jail or see them in a hospital because no one told them the truth.”
But hey, talks like this are wasteful.

The truth is the morning and the outside view I have is amazing to me right now. I think I’ve been going about things the wrong way. I think there will always be someone out there, just looking to argue. They want to be heard. They want to tell me about their thoughts. And if I argue back, my energy is just wasted at best. I don’t suppose asking them if they’ve ever heard Chuck Mangione would help. But hey, it can’t hurt either.

By the way, I’m going to get in my car in a few minutes. I’m going to play some good driving music. And just out of curiosity, I wonder about your favorite song to drive to.
Do you understand what I mean?
Have you ever started a road trip and hit the radio and miraculously, the perfect song comes on.
As for me, I am a product of my generation, which means when a song from my youth plays, I can feel a rush of nostalgia burst through my skin.

“I’ll stop the world and melt with you.”
This is a great chorus from a great song that reminds me of great things, which has the ability to leave me like I am now:
Smiling!

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