I’ve often remarked on these pages that a good title will write a good blog. The both of you, my loyal readers, know this to be true. The rest of you who swing through to gaze upon the wreckage like so many standers-by drawn to a train crash will also note the lack of many decent titles.
Tonight I want to write.
I want to write for the joy of writing.
I just finished watching a movie. It was a silly flick starring Kevin James. In it he plays a writer. Actually he plays an actuary who is also working on a novel. I mention that because my late father was an actuary.
A note about that… Growing up, none of us knew how to answer the question our friends would inevitably ask. “What does your dad do?” I remember asking the old man once. I think I was six. “Daddy, what do you do?” Reaching deep into his brain he quickly shot back, without raising his eyes from behind the Wall Street Journal, “Well son, an actuary is the man who brings a bomb on a plane. Because while the chances of there being one bomb on a plane are negligible, the probability of there being two bombs on a plane are infinitesimal.”
A few years later I had cause to ask him again. I believe I was 11. “Dad, what’s an actuary?” Releasing a puff of smoke from the pipe clenched between his teeth he said: “Well my boy, an actuary is place where they bury dead actors.”
Finally when I was sixteen I asked yet again. “Father, what exactly is an actuary?” Putting the remote down for a brief moment while switching between Jeopardy! and Crossfire he rejoined: “An actuary, lad, is the guy who uses the last urinal in the men’s room because he knows it cuts in half the statistical likelihood of getting his shoes pissed on.”
And I finally understood.
I went back to all my friends and said: “He does something with math.”
In the movie, James’ character, working on a novel, remarks that he writes to escape life.
Not me. I write to document life. I sometimes feel as though if I didn’t write down some of the crazy things that have happened to me no one, not even I, would believe them. So what crazy things have happened to me lately?
I went out to visit the school where I am soon to begin work as an assistant principal. I met with my spine surgeon and discovered that I’m in pretty amazing shape. My kids appeared in a couple of short plays at their music school.
None of these things are amazing by themselves. Take the job, for instance. Lots of people start new jobs and lots of people work in school administration. But standing in my new office the other day looking around, being called into meetings with the principal to decide important matters… A few short months ago I really would not have believed this is where I’d be. In the back of my mind I had a goal that had almost vanished. I wanted to be an administrator before I hit 40. Here I am. I still can’t believe it.Sitting in the office with the doctor today and looking at the CT scan of my spine all brightly lit up from the contrasting dye I was convinced he was going to tell me I had some kind of condition, maybe even a spinal tumor. Instead he said: “Both fusion are holding great and the disc height at the level above is incredible. Your spine is strong.” He even tossed in “In fact, you’re looking really good. What are you doing?” Hear that? My spine is strong! And I’m looking good. Must be doing something decent. OK, with those two plays… Nothing really remarkable here except that my babies are growing up. There was a time not long ago when I would hold them and read to them and take care of them. Now they’re entertaining me. They’re memorizing lines, looking so grown-up in character on a stage. How did that happen?
So the title of this post is so generic I didn’t even have to write it.
Nothing amazing happening here except life.
And life is pretty damn awesome.