Monday, March 31, 2008

The Kid Gets it All

I have a young gentleman in my life that has become precious to me. I met him a little over six years ago. We are both members of a Twelve Step Program and I have had the opportunity to spend much time with this “Kid” as I call him traveling hither and yon in our pursuit of the reclamation, and repossession of our sanity. We travel and spend nights sharing rooms in far-gone locales and eat, alternatively, great meals from restaurants and/or vending machines. It is a function of our friendship, and an integral part of our relationship.

We smoke too many cigarettes and fart…a lot. He tells me about his job at a retail game store. He talks to me of his marriage and his family. We spend many hours speaking of comic book heroes and villains. Films are a passion for both of us. We have found particular joy in the emerging super hero genre where Hollywood has found success. We talk about the different evolutions of story lines of the comic book characters we like. We both prefer the Dark side of Batman, and fervently believe that Superman is undeniably the baddest son-of-a-bitch around. I am soon to be 55 and he is 32.

Now what-in-the- hell are two grown men are doing still concerning themselves with such a childish past time? Well, I will tell you. Neither of us is even slightly convinced that growing up was the best thing to happen. As I have shared before, my entry into the world of the prose and poetry began with a comic book. These phantasmagorical realms developed by the likes of Bob Kane, Stan Lee, Siegel and Shuster, et al gave us a place to go when the world outside proved too much. Neither of these “Grown Men” have had easy lives. Our brains do not work right. We see things in different terms then most of the people we encounter and it is in our friendship where means, motive, and opportunity are exhibited through art and not as a tool for a District Attorney to have us committed to a mental health facility.

I have lived with this Kid (yes, he likes me calling him that) through several negative life occurrences. I lost my father a few years ago. He lost his stepfather a few years ago. He had the opportunity to live with the wonderful young woman I feel affection for as an adopted daughter, and experienced the headaches associated with loving that particular troubled child of the Great Spirit. We have laughed together and cried together. We have had times when neither cared to see the other. We have argued over his propensity to have his telephone turned off due to non-payment. I look back at those arguments and realize that my position and opinion proved tenuous given the number of times in this old farts life when I went without the miracle given us by Alexander Graham Bell for reasons of default.

I remember the time, soon after meeting, when he called me to inform me of a relapse. He had gone on a date and drank one beer. Now under normal circumstances this would not be a terrible business. I mean he was trying to get laid, just as a man in his twenties should be doing. The beer in and of itself held no real danger except in the fifty or a hundred that would have followed if not dealt with. We are members of a Twelve Step program that calls for complete abstinence from all mind-altering, mood-changing substances. This occurred quite soon after we met and not that far into recovery for him. I wondered and queried him on why he was so quick to come honest. He told me that the girl had pulled out a bag of my particular favorite mind-altering, mood-changing substance (you know, the one God gave us because it grows out of the earth). This freaked him out and he fled the scene leaving the young lady with her virtue intact. I am not sure, even with my rather effusive belief in the miracle of recovery, if I would have had the character to flee a scene such as that with only days clean. I never told him, even to this day, that he became one of my heroes that night.

I have watched him meet and fall in love with, a darling young woman, and stay faithful to that sweet girl. I see him maintain a loving relationship with his father who took him in when he needed a place to come to get clean. I see him maintain vigilant contact with his family in another state, and look past situations in which he would be completely justified in forsaking any relationship with them in the spirit of unconditional love and family fidelity.

We share the experience of losing a father and gaining a stepfather. This situation proved equally painful for both of us. I was completely abandoned by my father, and had difficulty with the man my Dear Sainted Mother chose to spend the rest of his life with. He had much difficulty with his stepfather. We were kindred souls long before we ever met. He found a way to release his disapproving mentality by realizing and accepting the good in his former nemesis. I did also.

His grace and decency taught me how to accept my stepfather for what he was…the man who wanted to be my father. That same grace and decency taught me how to grieve the man and I will always owe the Kid a debt of gratitude.

His father, another example of grace and decency in my life, became associated with a Twelve Step program for family members of people attending the program I hold near and dear. He has almost driven us crazy in trying to bring recovery into every area of our collective lives. He has done it because he loves his son that much that he willingly rearranged his life to facilitate the Kid’s life in recovery. It has become a rather humorous part of our lives talking about this shenanigan or that escapade in pursuit of a new way to live. He is addicted to fried chicken and thinks less of himself if he “relapses.” I find a rather evil pleasure in sending home pieces of fried chicken from places the Kid and I have dined. One particular place is now on his list of restaurants to patronize in his quest for cholesterol-laden poultry, He is vehement in his pursuit of an appropriate reason to travel the 90 miles it would take to eat there. I am sure he will succeed in his grand mission. I hope I get to go with him. He is a most assuredly as precious a man as is his child.

I am fortunate in having this friend. He is always there when I really need him, and he smoothes the way for me when we travel together. He is charming, and earnest. He is direct in his criticism of all that is evil. He is valiant in his beliefs and pursuit of a proper life. He is a champion of justice. All that is missing is the cape. God save the KID!!!!!

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