Monday, April 07, 2014

I Am The Person My Parents Warned Me About

An anniversary slipped by while we were looking for that Malaysian airliner and Vlad the Putin was annexing parts of his old empire. The good news is that it didn't hurt anyone's feelings. There probably won't be a sit-com episode that will encapsulate the feelings in some mordant way. But today, in a very special episode of Entropical Paradise, we will examine what it means to be a quarter century sober, and how that must look from the outside.
First off, I really don't have any idea what it means to those who used to know me "back then" that I have straightened out my act and started to behave like a productive member of society. With the exception of my family and closest friends, there aren't a lot of hangers-on from the days when I had hangers-on. When I used to have parties at my apartment for little to no occasion, unless that occasion was the celebration of getting face-down one more time and possibly offending those who I had invited to said soiree. This is one of the reasons why I have a curiosity about sticking myself out on Facebook for a couple of weeks to see who would like to take a whack at me. This is just a little prideful, since I am imagining that there are some grown men and women out there who might still be harboring a grudge against me for this or that embarrassment. I was that guy who held a real gun to one of my party guest's head and asked her, "So, are you having any fun yet?" I used to kid myself back then about how I knew the gun wasn't loaded and how it was this great gag that made everyone else laugh hysterically. I don't see it that way anymore. I'm married and have a kid who is rounding the bend toward that same time in his life and I can't imagine what I would do or say if he was accosted like that. Or if he was the one holding the gun.
Hey, I was all messed up at the time, right? Not good enough. Not now. After twenty-five years, I know that I was living way too close to the edge and I was taking a lot of people along with me for the ride. Literally. The fact that I never wrapped my car around a telephone pole or spent a night or two in jail comes as a surprise to a lot of people when they hear about how I spent my twenties. This story has a happy ending, though as I have suggested I imagine there are those who might not be satisfied with the way things turned out. To those people I can only say this: It was a lot of fun until it wasn't anymore. I'm glad that I lived to tell those tales, but I don't know if anyone wants to hear them anymore. It was another time.

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