Friday, June 14, 2013

Reaching for the Best

In honor of Father’s Day, today’s post is brought to you by a REAL DAD — my awesome brother Barry!

I've read many tales about drifters, and to be honest, one of my favorite modern-day main characters is Jack Reacher from author Lee Child. If you've never read a Reacher novel, they’re full of adventure and twist.

You see, fellow Benders, I used to be somewhat of a drifter myself. Back in 1997 I moved from Washington to New Orleans to Pennsylvania to New Jersey to Maryland to South Carolina back to Pennsylvania and then returned to Washington. And this was not for vacation — this was because I couldn't settle down.

If you notice within that list of states I don't say “Louisiana,” I say New Orleans. Trust me, that town should be a different state altogether, and it's motto should be “Home of Adventure...and Cockroaches.” I once saw a swarm of cockroaches so big down there, it was carrying away a baby. Yeah, I saved the baby, but that’s a tale for another day.

Getting back to Jack Reacher...

He doesn't have material things. I used to be this way, too. All due to the fact that once my car was broken into and everything I had was stolen… except for my journals. It seems that the slimy thief or thieves didn't care for a big box of old notebooks. All they wanted was my CD collection and clothes. From that day on, I vowed to be a minimalist. Well, until 2008. That was the year my son Luke was born, and I found out what life was really about. Minimalist? His toy trains alone would not fit into a cargo plane.

I would like to see Jack Reacher change a diaper when, in the middle of doing so, the little fireman decides to put out a fire that isn't there. The first time this happened to me I just stood there in a sleep-deprived stare getting whizzed on and wondering, How do I stop this thing? Not even thinking of covering it up with one of the millions of diapers that surrounded us. Which makes me remember how I thought back then, There is NO WAY we’re going to use all these things. WRONG, so very WRONG.

And speaking of sleep-deprived, Jack has a bunch of mottoes he lives by. One is “Sleep whenever the opportunity presents itself because you never know when you’re going to get the chance again.” I would like to see him try to make a fussy baby lie down and go to bed, when all you yourself want to do is sleep. Barb has written about selling her soul for some sleep as a new mom. At least I'll be in good company when I spend my time in hell. I'll bring the marshmallows, Barb.

So these days, I don’t really need a Reacher adventure story. If I want adventure all I have to do is listen to my son while he’s playing with his trains. God bless you Reverend W Awdry. I would like to see Jack try to answer a four-and-a-half-year-old’s barrage of questions like…

Why does Thomas have a face and real trains don't?

Where is the Island Of Sodor on our globe?

Or my personal favorite— Do trains poop and if so where does it come out and does it smell?

Good luck with that, Jack.

You see, my son taught me that I don’t need to be constantly moving like a shark. Now I know that all those years I was really just trying to run away from myself…

Even though, before I left Washington back in ’97, my sister Barb looked at me and gave it to me straight, "No matter where you go, there you are."

But I wasn't listening. I was too self-absorbed in what I had flowing through my brain and veins.

I can say now with all honesty that I am SO happy with where I am, who I am, and who I have in my life. So on this Father’s Day I give thanks to my son for helping me be the man I am today —

A guy who outreaches Reacher every day of the week…

Luke’s Dad.

By the way, trains do poop — it comes out the bottom, and it does not stink.

PROMPT: Be the best you can be.


  1. How can I be the best when you are? Thank you so much for letting me be a part of the Mind's Elbow.