I sit at a bar on the lower east side of Manhattan and eavesdrop.
A faint male voice complains, "The problem is that people aren't beating their kids anymore. I miss the good old days when a parent would beat the crap out of their kid right there in the grocery store aisle in front of everyone. Just beat the snot out of em. They don't do that anymore. Now what? Now we got kids shooting up the place. They show up at the schools with their parent's guns shooting other students and teachers…they shoot the janitor. They don't care."
I could just as easily be sitting in a bar in St. Louis, Missouri and hear the same complaint. I could sit and eavesdrop on some old guys reminiscing about how, as a kid in their day, you could get your ass beat twice in one day: once by your teacher and once again by your parents when you got home. According to the old guys…boyhood ass beatings made them better men. I'm amused by their conversation just long enough for my friend to arrive and meet me for a drink. My friend thinks I'm smiling because I'm happy to see him when he walks in, but I'm really at the tail end of laughing at the old guys at the end of the bar. Not that I'm not happy to see my friend. I guess the smirk of being entertained and the smile of seeing a familiar face blended together.
After hugs and salutations, my friend goes straight into a diatribe about how the lower east side is infested with private investigators working diligently to catch tenants subletting their apartments so that the new, financially ambitious landlords can kick them out on the streets and raise the rent. I listen quietly, being secretly sympathetic to both parties involved. While not wanting my friend to be homeless, I also understand the desire to have your real estate produce the highest yield. I keep my thoughts to myself and suddenly the topic switches to my blogs or lack thereof recently. I respond in kind, "There comes a time in every man's life when he gets into things that he just can't blog about".
I found myself explaining to my friend that I didn't do a "last blog of 2013" or a "first blog of 2014" because the mere thought of either seemed trite. He accused me of over thinking a thoughtless thing. Hell, I'm only doing this blog now because more than one friend said it was about time I do another one. When my friend asked me what my big plans for 2014 were, I said,"Well…I don't know if I would go as far as to call any of them big. Sticking to the basics this year like staying alive and out of the hospital…stop wasting time on people and projects that are obviously going nowhere…learn more. You know…the basics". My friend stared at me for a moment and said, "That sounds really boring". I smiled at him and said, "I know, right?"