Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.
A friend stopped me on the street yesterday to point out that I was riding a skateboard with an iced coffee in one hand and an iPhone in the other. Not a pretty sight, I conceded. Forty-year-old father of three, skateboarding. I only bought the board last week, my first time riding one in 22 years. It felt like plugging in an ancient lamp and finding out it still works, miraculously. Oh! This is something I can still do! I guess I'm not dead yet after all ...
When you're in the forest dark, shame doesn't factor anymore. I bought the board at the mall from a punk kid who was born the same year I last rode a skateboard, 1989. My 4-year-old was tugging on my pants, begging to leave. "Can we go home, Daddy? I'm boooored."
As we tried to get out of the mall, some smiling guy in a zoologist outfit tried to sell us a pet marsupial that looked like a squirrel crossed with a monkey.
Everybody keeps telling me I'm going to get killed on this skateboard.
Then two contractor buddies come over yesterday to assess how much I'm going to fork over to insulate my basement. Both of them are southern transplants like me, one from North Carolina, one from Texas. The NC guy is bald with tufts of red hair on the sides and a fu manchu beard, looks vaguely like a redneck Harpo Marx, and quiet like him, too. The Texas guy is tall and rangy, tells weird jokes, likes free jazz. Anyway, before they left I made them both stand in my living room while I blasted "Flirtin' with Disaster" by Molly Hatchet at top volume on my stereo. I looked at them while air-guitarring that hickory-smoked solo. Right? Yes? See? Remember this? Figured they'd get this. Back when men were men, before the dandifying effects of liberal arts educations and the testosterone-vaporizing effects of fatherhood. Doughy, chinless white dudes in denim with flowing locks and really bad split ends, driving loud and fast in cobalt-blue Camaros on sizzling interstates in August. Big gnarly laughter, beer dribbling down beards, hellbound and heedless ...
I'm travelin' down that lonesome road
Feel like I'm draggin' a heavy load
They both nodded politely and looked at me with a faint air of sympathy. $460, just for the materials. Did I mention that I spilled coffee all over my laptop last week and destroyed it? It's a paper weight now. Had to fork over more money for a new one, which I'm tracking via FedEx as it makes its way here from Shanghai.
Welcome to the new Driftwood Singers. Same as it ever was.