Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Story 1

It's not like I go looking for the metaphors. I'm mostly the kind of person who plans to keep to himself. It's just, well, something about this world keeps drawing me out to people's front doors and smiling face. The metaphors for life, they just kind of jump me.

Like the story of Dick, and the people he tries to love. dick is a not-too-distant but not-too-familiar member of my family. The droop in his shoulder and the round scoop of his belly place him well into the second half of his time here on earth. His suits fit well with the big leather seats of the steak houses he frequents most nights a week and his big, black Mercedes.

In fact, that car might very well be the key to understanding Dick. For a good many years he tore around town in that car (or some previous year's model) as if it's phallic significance wasn't quite enough to assert his dominance over pretty much everyone, he had his own name printed squarely on the license plate in those state-regulated capital letters. There was no mistaking when "DICK" rolled around town.

He must have known the aura this black carriage created for him. In fact, I'm pretty sure he relished it. As it turned out, the trait most people associated with Dick wasn't his business prowess, his financial success or his imported suits. It was his complete lack of social subtlety and willingness to spout off about whatever he thought at any given moment about any plethora of topics that left it's most lasting impression.

How Dick came to marry into my family by way of the nicest, most elegant and most kind-heated woman of our clan is a mystery that I imagine stretches back to a time before the X's and Y that would become my generation ever had a chance to meet. Perhaps it was the money, the sense of security or the social status. But there they were. A relationship full of one-sided fidelity. I vaguely remember their house with a pool and the little automatic golf ball return novelty and the funeral where I learned that the nicest woman in our family would no longer encourage the reckless combination of back-to-back eating and swimming

After that time in Dick's life a few other wives came a went. The license plate changed. The suits needed to be let out. But something much more troubling began to occur. This man, who had no ability to connect with people, who had no idea what it meant to listen and be gentle with the criticism, needed someone to do just that.

You could see somehow behind eyes that he wanted to connect. It just that the only tool belt he carried is one full of frowns and wry comments and the other tools barely recognizable even to his family as something to latch onto. some kind of hope.

So the man who had built his lonely castle found that the only tools he wanted were a sledgehammer and a pickaxe to break it down again. I guess I just don't have the heart to tell him that if he hasn't found those tools by now it's nearly certain he never will. But then again, maybe it's something about my heart and his that keeps it this way.

I mostly try to keep to myself and sometimes that's not the worst thing you can do.


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