About Me

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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Find it Difficult

I like to write, I like language, I like words. I can virtually always think of something to say about anything you'd care to name. But I choke a little when I want to write about someone to whom I feel very close or whom I love. I prefer to tell the stories about what they did that I admired or the ways they behave that pull me, but I don't feel I do them justice with something as straightforward as setting out their special qualities in list form. Sometimes I can't write about such a person all in one piece - they play too large a role in my life and I have to do it in bits. It's as if the emotions and thoughts are too huge to let out in the room all at one time.

October is a month I like. All kinds of special dates fall during those 31 days, from birthdays to simply dates on which something happened that I love to recall. When it was time for me to plan my wedding, I purposely planted it in October, even though Ex would have preferred to do it sooner. This October has loomed large for some months now. In October, 2002, when I contacted the Badger for the first time in more than 30 years, I remembered his October birthday. And this year is a landmark birthday.

For the Badger is turning an age today, entering a decade, which no one would consider young any longer and most wouldn't call middle-aged, either. I asked him if it bothered him. Although he grinned at me, he was truthful: "Yes." The grin didn't hide his little bewilderment about where it had all gone. At least not to me. I know him well. We sat dining in the restaurant that always sends him the good coupon at his birthday ~ "Hey, Limes, it's here. Do you want to go?" Well, yeah. (I ate lunch for four days from my take-out box, too.) And I searched for words that would make him feel not bothered.

Oh, I landed on all manner of trite statements. "But you're an accomplished racing cyclist doing your best showings ever!" He already knew that. He was there. "We camp and hike like people 40 years younger." He knows. "Your photography is fresh and exciting and has taken a new path!" That's his eye in the viewfinder. He knows what he's producing. "You're blogging and loving it - you always have written well!" He already had that information. "You're in the job situation of your lifetime. You're admired, respected, well paid and secure." He knows he's the big man on campus. He goes there every day. I was falling flat on my face. Finally I hit on the thing to say. "Badger, I'm sorry it bothers you. If it's happening to you it will happen to me soon. It will bother me, too." Said he, "Of course, the alternative isn't very attractive." Grins exchanged - sincere grins hiding no pain.

We were seated in a round booth, so he didn't see the waiter approaching with "the bomb". I saw that chocolate, gooey mountain of fat and calories with the candle burning on top. The Badger's jaw dropped when he saw it, for this had not been ordered or ever presented in prior years. He stuttered a little. The waiter wondered what had caused such consternation and I finally said, "He's a racing cyclist. Chocolate volcano is not what he does." He was very generous, immediately offering me some of the bomb. "No thanks, Badge." And then I watched that disciplined athlete do completely away with the chocolate mountain. He doesn't even like cake! He likes pumpkin pie.

Once after leading the Badger cheering section on my own blog, I was apparently criticized through some commentary made to him, not me. It stung a little. It made me feel a little less free in my own territory. It made me feel criticized for expressing myself in my way about a person in my life. I got over it.

Badger, I'm cheering you again. Right out loud. Happy, happy birthday and many happy returns of the day. I wish you the things that make you joyful. I wish you purpose, lots of squid and a good picture or two. I wish you the wind at your back and wings on your wheels. I am glad to have known you on your journey and mine. I'm glad to share the parts of life we share, no matter what definition we apply to ourselves on a given date. It's not really the business of anyone except you and I. Thanks for the gift of you and thanks to Mother Badger for doing such a grand job at only 23 years of age! She got it as right as it gets.

Anyone perusing the blog care to wish the Badger a happy birthday?

In my ears right now: Oh, come on. My followers know me too well to miss this one. The happy birthday song, of course.

Something that charmed me: On the last day of his 50s I asked him to tell me how he felt about this important change of age. He said something very similar to statements I've heard him apply to only a handful of events in his life: "I feel like I'm about to walk through a doorway and everything will change forever."


  1. Happy Birthday, Badger! It's a great day to be celebrating!

  2. Doozyanner, it's Happy Birthday to you, as well! I wore the cobalt blue sweater as requested. Home dude will take a picture I'll post next time. I hope your day is wonderful, and I'm pretty sure you're entering a new decade as well. Many happy returns.

  3. Happy Birthday, Badger! Best wishes.

  4. On my birthday I rode my number one bike, the Cervelo R3, with my best wheels, just for the pure pleasure of it. So far, it's been a great day. Thanks to all of you for your birthday wishes!

  5. Happy birthday, Once known as The Badger.

  6. OK, I can't resist. Does Once known as The Badger know Once known as The Mole and Once known as Mr. Toad?

    All you Kenneth Graham fans out there will get that.

  7. I think all those "Once Known as the . . . " folk are distant relatives.

  8. Happy Birthday Jim! All the best.

  9. Kirk, I'm well familiar with Mr. Toad, who still goes by that name...

  10. Have a wonderful day! You're both "COOL" in my book.

  11. Thanks to all of you for poppin' on by the Badger's virtual birthday party. He survived! Today he's upbeat and positive. I hear 60 is the new 50.

  12. True story: tonight I was sitting in the chair, under the drape, Christine delivering up the razor cut that makes me drive way too far for "just hair". I'm chattering away about the Badger turning 60 and the little virtual party and all the nice followers' comments. She'd finally made it to my blog since the last haircut and had a little sense of the flavor and the fun. She said, not 2 hours after I typed "I hear 60 is the new 50": "Limes, tell the Badger I heard 60 is the new 45." So, Badge, you seem to be traveling back to the future and dropping years. Live your dream. Ooops. I repeat myself.

  13. The OB said 60 was the new 43.75... Real Age says I'm really 49.9. Hmm. I'm having an identity crisis now. What if I'm asked for my ID and they think it's fake because the age is so ambiguous?

  14. Be pretty funny, Badge, if you got carded next year at the wonderful coupon birthday dinner! The waiter might take a look at me and decide you're dining with your mother or older sister.