There is a quiet place, a secret place, that is yours for restoration. There is a realness in the stillness. Go there, when you can; when you need to. It's safe. For me, it is the Other Side of the Trees.
I saw him, running in the jungle. I heard him: he belted out a prolific call, flying all over the jungle. The animals, apparently, took note. “When Tarzan calls, the Wild Kingdom listens.” When Tarzan would step off a limb of a high tree, his hands gripped on to a rope-vine, and then swing through the trees … it was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. When I was a kid, I climbed trees quite a bit. But I never, not once, came across a rope-vine! To this day, I am so disappointed that I didn’t get to swing in the trees. At some point, I became aware of other responsibilities / cool things beyond climbing trees. Girls, I realized, were good looking, and they did catch my eye. I appreciated Tarzan because he had a good-looking babe with him most of the time. Jane. That was her first name. I guess her last name would have been “Tarzan”, yeah? (Image from http://old.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/review/5308)
With Jane and Tarzan living in the jungle, limited income, Jane didn’t have any money to spend on clothes, and that explained the clothes that did not do a thorough job of keeping her warm. I never went out with any girls that were dressed like Jane. If I did, my parents would have found out about it and I would have been in some serious trouble. At some point, I found out that Tarzan is not real. Tarzan was an alias for a gentleman by the name of Johnny Weissmuller. Here’s a thought: Does this look like Tarzan? Sharp looking guy (below), I must admit. But, with all due respect, Mr. Weissmuller, you are definitely … not … Tarzan. Life can be a jungle. And in this jungle, there is no Tarzan. There are no rope-vines to swing on, from tree to tree. I’ve seen some beautiful women, and I am married to one of them. But there is no Jane. And finally, I’m okay with it.
Okay, Mr … “Wilder Man?” … Is that right? You are Mr. Wilder Man?
Yes, although the “Mr.” is not used very often. Call me whatever is most comfortable for you. Some call me “Thor”, because is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce. And, as you can see, I look like Thor. By the way, do you mind if I put my hammer on the table?
I see … (clears throat) So, this interview panel will call you … “Thor”. Let’s get started, Mr. Thor.
Mr. Thor, the position you are applying for is Regional Manger Front Range Territory. Some of your responsibilities will be to develop the relationships we already have with our buyers, business owners, quality control people, key networkers, etc. Tell us something about yourself that suggests your experience, your success in this area.
I’ve been wired for this type of thing for as long as I can remember. (I stand up) This is my purpose for living! (I have raised my voice and I have fire in my eyes) This is what I was created for! As William Wallace once said “You can take our lives! But you CAN’T … TAKE … OUR … FREEDOM!!
(Interview panel spokesperson clears throat) Ummm, Mr. Thor, please sit back down, and try to keep your voice just a little lower. Thank you. Now let’s move on the next question. Mr. Thor, where do you see yourself in five years?
Great question. In five years, I want to have moved beyond the position I am being hired for, into a place in the company where I am making more money than anyone else; and I can work whenever I want to, and I can do whatever I want to. I want to be your boss.
Hmmmmm. Well, that certainly is ambitious. Could you tell us something about why you would say that, Mr. Thor?
Simple. It is what I am good at. We thrive on what we are good at.
Well, Mr. Thor, we do need to break for lunch. When we come back, the panel will let you know if we need to continue the interview. We may have everything we need. Any other comments before we take a break, Mr. Thor?
Yes, there is one thing. AfterI am hired, I would like for you to consider hiring my little brother, as I need to keep an eye on him. He is a good kid, really (I am stretching the truth, here) … He gets frustrated, but I can usually calm him down. You might want to jot his hame …. Loki.
our world is, eh? Sometimes, a tad bit too serious. We need … something … that is way outside the box that is not going to be harmful, but helpful, to bring a measure of humor. I found this piece on YouTube, the TED talks: truly, a different piece of humor, medicinal foolishness, and an undeniable ingredient of brilliance. I hope you enjoy. This gentleman, Reggie Watts, opens up with a series of words and sentences in Spanish; he switches over to French; he then switches over to English with a British accent … and, well, I do believe it is worth watching. At the very least, it is a reminder to smile, and to see that the world we live in will always have a mystery of nonsense.
Dog, we get along fairly well. I feed her; I give her water; I rub behind her ears and her back. I allow her to come to town with us. She deeply appreciates getting away. Really, I don’t think I ask for too much. I’ve told her: “Stay off the couch.” Sometimes, she pretends to be asleep; pretends not to hear.
So, I remind her: “Stay off the couch.”
Again: STAY … OFF … THE … Couch. This time, she hears me.
The story is all over the net. I simply wanted to express my a) appreciation for this story, and b) desire to see this story passed on through the generations. One man made a choice to think beyond himself, beyond his world, and to respond with a prolific, uncommon, creative, action. Here is an oversimplified glimpse of the Santa Tracker, with hopes that you will check out one of the two links below.
NORAD is the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD, inside Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado Springs, CO. One night, in 1955, a call came in on a red phone at NORAD, a number known only by two people: a four-star general in the Pentagon, and the U.S. Air Force colonel who had that red phone on his desk. The caller was a child, who asked “Is this Santa Claus?”
How the U.S. Air Force colonel responded is … quite profound. So, here are two links to choose from:
The following post, rooted in my imagination, should not be taken literally. Imagination has always been a highly valued resource for me. As I become older, I try to remember to practice that imagination. ‘Hope you enjoy. And, have a stellar Christmas.
His appearance changes, and there are some odd theories out there, about … where … the man might be, at any given time. Steven Wright’s theory:
Yuletide Man: a man, a healthy girth, covers much ground, much air space (without being shot down), undeniably a mysterious man.
Below left: image from satellite of the SOC (Santa’s Operation Center). Below right: sketching of Santa Claus from a confidential source.
Yuletide Man: a man, a healthy girth, covers much ground, much air space (without being shot down), undeniably a mysterious man.
Visionary, a hope agent, an “other-centered” man; a logistical-minded man, a genius, this “Santa Claus”.
His has organized a system for the storage of multitudes of gifts, the movement from storage to the loading docks, distribution plans … all of this is amazing.
A report from a confidential source, classified, slipped through the cracks back in the late nineties, made its way to my desk, with the request to burn the report as soon as possible. I will get around to that, eventually. The polar regions (North and South) have always been monitored carefully: some men / women are about keeping the North Pole safe, a neutral place, where Santa can work; and others are interested in claiming the north pole for strategic purposes, with some degree of ill intent on their minds.
I attempted to do some research on the security protocols for keeping SOC (Santa’s Operations Center) safe. A few days after I began my research, the dogs started barking, and I knew we had visitors. I opened the front door to see a group of ominous looking vehicles: two black vans, with men dressed like SWAT – guys coming out, guns drawn; and three SUVs with running lights on the top. Long story short: I was asked in depth, about my interest in the security protocols with the North Pole. I was told that this information is classified to protect Santa Clause and the work he is doing, year round.
Indeed, the man is truly elusive; not only the man but the work that goes on there. When NORAD’s Santa Tracker emerged, I experienced some degree of relief, knowing that there are people tracking with SOC. That link, by the way, is: http://www.noradsanta.org/
So much written about R.W. Thus, Solomon’s piece, at the core of my writing: “It’s all been said before.”
Here some thoughts of a disc-jockey in “Good Morning, Vietnam”, a professor in “Dead Poets Society”, Mrs.Doubtfire, Teddy Roosevelt in “Night at the Museum”, Ramon the penguin in “Happy Feet”, Maxwell “Wizard” Wallace in “August Rush” … Those are a few parts of Robin Williams.
And here are a few parts of who I was, and how I was blessed, and impacted, by Robin Williams, and his art. I was the class comedian, high school; a joke for anyone and everyone. The rush of making people laugh was amazing. I studied the great comedians: Robin Williams, Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Jerry Seinfield, Steve Martin. Out of these mentioned, and those I have not mentioned, Robin Williams was … at times … present: where I was, what I was doing. I read a magazine interview with Robin Williams, and among the many things I read I remember something that wasn’t so cool. I paraphrase: Williams said that at times, when he was not doing well, he had to go somewhere by himself.
I was blown away by his prolific spontaneity linked up with priceless humor. I also couldn’t shake the idea that there was a dichotomy happening: humor / laughter with melancholy / depression. The mixture of these two forces haunted me a bit … and it was because I wanted my depression that I had struggled with since I was a child to be separate from everyone. I wanted to go to Robin Williams for robust laughter, and I did not want to know that the man who made me laugh struggled with depression like I did. Incidentally, I didn’t know, when I was a child, that it was depression. I didn’t learn that it was depression until I was in graduate school (my late thirties) … Sounds crazy. Robin Williams, to a large degree helped me to release some of my “crazy”, and to be able to sit with all of this, and to laugh through this.
If I could have a discussion with R.W., it might include some of these comments …
“Bro, just to make this clear, suicide, yes, I agree, is wrong.
Just as important, please know that there is no is condemnation coming from me, nor from my God. And, I’ve got no judgment for you.
My heart goes out to your family. I can only imagine that their pain is immeasurable. And its been said that there is no pain up in Heaven. But, I know your heart is good, Bro; and surely you feel some of their pain … But, I don’t know, because I don’t know much about Heaven. And by the way, I hope there are people making you laugh … I’m sure there was pressure, through most of your days, to make people laugh. I know that there are no excuses for ending your life; but there are definitely factors that contributed to your decisions. Our pain, our struggles, our failures, our shame, we are driven passionately away from all of that … toward something that relieves our suffering. And the relief is always temporary. When the performance is over, the Black Dog, depression, remains.”
Robin Williams messed up when he took his own life. I should have permission to tell my close friends when / if they messed up. And my closest friends have permission to tell me when / if I messed up. We can do that without condemnation. Do I condemn Robin Williams for taking his life? NO. Am I angry with Williams? NO, not so much angry, but sad. So, maybe the takeaway is this. We all need to “do” self-care. We need to take care of ourselves; and in turn, we can bless our families. If we are wounded, and we are not doing our own work, then how can we be our best with those we love?
“Holiday, coming. Are you heading southward, to see your folks? You have some older brothers, there as well, eh? And your parents?”
“Parents and my two brothers (a nod), down there, east of Dallas.”
Both men sat in the logged house, a small place, in chairs made of gnarled pine posts, smoothed from years of use and exposure to the wood stove heat. Words were suspended in the air, transformed into vapor and memory.
“I am not going back . . . “
“It is a drive, isn’t it …. What, about 1200 miles? Twenty-two hours?”
“If I drive straight through, its only about eighteen hours. And, around 120o.”
“Boy, that is a bear of a trip. So you’re not going to make it this year.”
“Naw. I’m not going back. Its one thing to pack up, load up, head out on a 1200 mile trip… (pause) But, the trip … or the thought of the trip … is a metaphor for the struggle I’ve had for years: ‘going back’ to the lies I bought into, the l mistakes I’ve made in my life. In that sense, I’m not going back, or backwards. ”
“So, why is it that we want to … ‘go back’?”
“For me, I think I go back to my past because it is easy, a path of processing that has very little resistance. I know those apparitions. I know my past. I think that I can change it by going there. As for what is ahead, I don’t know it because I’ve never been there. But I plan on going there, soon.”
“Yeah. Me, too. There is good stuff happening there.”
Earlier this week, during one of my regular fitness programs, I was doing some Moonwalk reps (3 sets of 5) … and I somewhat supernaturally encountered another fitness exercise by a group of guys from Britain, inspired by the same fellow … Michael Jackson, even though I have never been a fan of Michael Jackson. But life is full of surprises, and sometimes we experience such life-full-of-surprises … outside the box, or even, possibly, outside the bottle. Here it is, to hopefully pass on a fresh additive to your day. One minute, fifty-three seconds; otherwise known as 1:53.
Also: Bill Bailey … the original Moonwalk from 1955 … here is a link. Recommendation: check out the first part of the video, to see the announcer’s hair style. Then skip ahead 2 minutes mark ahead to see Bailey’s Moonwalk right away. Oh, and Good Morning.