Posted by: twistsoffeet | May 17, 2010

My Beginnings


I was born back in the nineteen fifties, a time of change and the beginnings of a new prosperity in our nation, or so history tells us. I can’t say for certain, as I was just a wee babe.

I was born with what they called, at that time, “water on the lung,” and I have no idea what they call it now.  Whatever it is, I was not expected to live; I was rushed to the hospital on more than one occasion because I was unable to breath, with either my father or uncle running stop signs and red lights trying to get me to the doctors that may be able to save my life.

We lived a life of Ozzie and Harriet style innocence, at least us kids did.  We lived in a nice suburbia neighborhood on the southwest side of Denver.  As a three year old, my older brother convinced me I was superman.  But I didn’t need much convincing; all three year olds think they are superman.  At one time, he convinced me to try to fly or dive off of what I think was a bunk bed; I landed on my forehead and still bare the scar.  If this had happened today, social services would probably have tried to take me from my parents for child abuse.

There was no abuse, I mean come on I was a three year old and we do things like that.  (Since both my parents and my brother may read this, I emphatically state that they had no responsibility for this and it wasn’t their fault!)

My brother and I used to dig holes in the yard and build forts or convert our basement into a fort made out of boxes and blankets and furniture all combined to make our secret little maze or fort… these were our hiding and make-believe places.  If kids now days only understood the joys of fantasy rather than electronic slavery, I believe this world would be much better off.

I remember going over to some of my parents’ friends’ houses to watch the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.  The parents were all disgusted and the kids all enthralled.  If you don’t happen to know who the Beatles were, then I truly feel sorry for you.  My parents, however. took us to the drive-in theater to see the Beatles movies “Help” and “A Hard Day’s Night.”  We used to go to the drive-in regularly, until one time, a drunk father and son got into a fight in the car next to us.  One of them put his fist through the window of their car and in the process,  got his blood all over our car.  The beginning of the end of the age of innocence.

For my tenth birthday, my father bought me a .410 gauge shotgun, an Ithica Super Single three inch magnum.  He would take me out into what is now Ken Caryl Ranch and we would shoot clay pigeons.  When he thought I was “responsible” enough and hunting season was in effect, he would take me pheasant hunting.  I was not taught that guns were bad, but instead that guns are to be respected.  I was taught that having a gun meant taking on a responsibility.  These are lessons I never forgot, and also lessons that unfortunately have not been taught to far too many members of our society– from my generation all the way to current generations.

When I was in sixth grade, I weighed only sixty-nine pounds; yes, I was a runt.  But this runt would not allow the larger kids to pick on me.  Instead, I learned to fight, I learned how to be mean, I learned how take pain and deal it out tenfold.  I learned lessons I wish I had never learned.  There is no pleasure, no pride, no joy in causing pain.

Unfortunately over a number of years, I became very adept at fighting and at causing pain.  Never realizing that all this pain would come back to me, that the pain I dished out in one place would come back to haunt me and cause pain to those I love.

I will state here very emphatically that I am not a pacifist.  I believe there is a time and a place to make a stand, and when you do make that stand, compassion must be tossed out the window.

As an example I will tell a tale.  I was once a cab driver and worked long hours fortified by artificial means.  I became mean, angry and a scary person.  But I realized I had a problem and was working on changing it.  One day a tow truck driver ran a stop sign and almost broad sided me.  I honked my horn, he flipped me off, and I returned the courtesy.  I thought it was over.  A mile down the road, I was stopped at a stop sign when this tow truck skidded to a stop next to me.  The driver got out and started to come for me, but then he looked at me and decided that was not his best choice.  So he grabbed a baseball bat from his truck and started beating “My Cab.” I then grabbed a tire iron and got out to face him.  We had words.

I knew one of us would probably die that day, and since I was working on my anger management skills, I decided not to kill him. I dropped my tire iron and stepped back.  The last thing I remember was him saying he was going to kill me.  He hit me so hard the entire side of my cab was covered in blood, my ear was cut into three pieces and severed from my head.  One piece of my ear was attached to my head when the earring I was wearing was driven into the base of my skull.  My C7 vertebrae was cracked, my mastoid bone crushed, oval window of my middle ear was ruptured. I was beaten with this baseball bat and left for dead.

I don’t remember, but I somehow picked up my glasses, the other pieces of my ear and drove home.  I remember we had just purchased a new carpet, and I didn’t want to bleed on it, so I took off my sweater and put it under my head to absorb the blood.  When my wife came home from work, she found me in a pool of blood on the living room floor of our home.

To get back to my point, no one, and I mean no one, will ever hurt me like that again.  I will not be compassionate, I will offer no quarter, and I will ruthlessly defend myself.

But since I am the Captain of my own ship of destiny, I know that it is up to me to stop these situations. I know I can either think and avoid putting myself in these negative situations, or I can be stupid and get involved in stupid petty realities.  I can avoid bars and drunken/drugged parties and stay safe or life the wild life, the very short life.

I choose Peace, I choose Love, I choose Compassion, but if necessary, I will choose survival.

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