Tag Archives: truth

How to Make A Guap: Fire

Today’s Music: Red Fang – Number Thirteen

An irregular series on some of the misadventures – the highs and lows along the way that made me who I am, in case you’d like to make your own.
As always, these stories are true, or at least as true as I remember them.

This story takes place somewhere around 1980. I was between nine and eleven, I guess.
It was summer – the very beginning.
School had just let out.

Such a beautiful day. What could possibly go wrong?

Such a beautiful day. What could possibly go wrong?

I remember it being an exceptionally beautiful day. It was warm, the sun was out. Birds were singing, and I had the whole summer to play.
But first, I had to tend to the end-of-school chores. All the notebooks, the handouts, the loose papers and tests all had to be put away, or my parents would get very upset, and I’d have to spend the summer cleaning my room.

So I gathered them all together and put them in a garbage bag.
A paper garbage bag.
And then decided (like the young miscreant I was) that instead of throwing everything out, I could just burn them.

Next thing I know, my bed was on fire.

So a few minutes later, my sister sees me running by with a full teapot in my hand, turning and rushing up the stairs.
“What are you doing?”
“FIRE!” I shouted, heading to the blaze.

It had grown beyond the capabilities of a teapot.

I just had to ask...

I just had to ask…

So my sister grabbed me (thank god one of us had brains) and got both of us out of the house. At this point, you could se the tower of smoke coming out of the back window of my room.
My sister left me on the front lawn and ran up to the corner where she pulled the handle of the fire callbox.
Our next door neighbor was on the sidewalk just before the trucks came, and heard the sirens and saw the smoke. He thought my sister had been smoking, and that’s what caused the fire.
I have no idea how she answered.
20 minutes later, I was lying on our neighbors couch where he’d given us shelter. The firemen were in the house doing what they do.
My neighbors daughters, about my age, were giving a running inventory of stuff being hurled out the window of my flaming room.
“There goes a bed.”
“Oh, and some blankets!”
“Are those books?”
“There’s a lot of stuff…”

I may have asked them to shut up.

Eventually, the fire went out, my parents came home, and we headed back.
Somehow, my parents were kind enough to let me live that I could tell this tale all these years later.

One final note – for all the kids reading this: If you do something like this (please don’t) and live through it (you won’t, at the time, feel good about that), if your mother tries to ease herself and your dad by saying “well, we needed to change the carpets anyway”, DO NOT(!!!!!) say, “Oh, so this was kind of a good thing!”.

Trust me on that.

Yeah, there are easier ways to get one.

Yeah, there are easier ways to get one.

Talismans and Magic

Today’s Music: Lindsey Buckingham
A talisman (from Arabic طلسم Tilasm, ultimately from Greek telesma or from the Greek word “telein” which means “to initiate into the mysteries”) is an amulet or other object considered to possess supernatural or magical powers. (Source – Wikipedia)

Lets talk about magic.
Not the kind where you teleport yourself from home to work so you can stay in bed later. And not the kind that bends the evil starbucks lady to your will.
Lets talk about the other kind – the kind that anchors you to this life, that gives you strength to endure and even beat the challenges of the day. The kind that reminds you of who you are.
I have several talismans like that. Most of them I keep with me all the time. Despite the fact that none of them look the same, and that some of them are replaceable for a few dollars, all of them have special meaning to me.
Join me for the tour, would you?…
From Club Med
This is my Club Med dive token. It entitled me to up to 5 dives during my stay there in October ’97.
My old boss sent me there as thanks for putting in an ungodly amount of work in a short period of time when we built our second restaurant. I went, planning on lying on the beach, drinking way too much. but my friend Ace, who came along for the trip (and picked out all my clothes, thank goodness) wanted to take the PADI Open Water Diver course, and convinced me to do it with her. Diabetics are not supposed to get certified to dive. So I never did, even though it was really high on my list. But Ace was lying on the form anyway (we both smoked over a pack a day), and said I should too.
So after thinking long and hard about it (at least a minute), I filled out the form, checked NO for the questionable stuff, and learned to dive.
It. Was. Fantastic. One of the smartest moves I ever made, lying on that form.
The token was needed to get on the Club Med boat to go out to the dive site. Afterwards, I could have thrown it out, or returned it, but I kept it. I found myself looking for it late at night and getting comfort from holding it, remembering how much fun Ace and I had, and it reminding me that sometimes it was important to break the rules. And that sometimes the rules were stupid.

I put it on it’s cord shortly after that trip, and with the exception of maybe 15 to 20 days, it’s been around my neck ever since. I don’t wear it out, I don’t talk about it, but every so often, when I’m about to do something out of my comfort zone, I give it a quick pat and get the strength I need to do whatever it is, because I’m a diabetic who learned to scuba dive on a whim. So I can do anything…

Ever since I “borrowed” my sisters guitar all those years ago, I’ve wanted to be able to play it. Still want to bee able to play it.
I can make some nice phrases, keep time, stay in key. But I’m not a great player, might never become one.
But I’ve been at a long time. Probably longer than I’ve pursued anything so far. And it’s always been there for me.
I keep that pick in my wallet. Sometimes it gets changed out for another, but there is always a guitar pick there.
It’s magic is that it carries with it tenacity, perseverance.
It reminds me that I may not get there, but sometimes trying is just as important.

And the most important talisman, that I draw an awful lot of gris-gris from,

This is my wedding ring. It’s white gold. On the inside of by my wife’s and my rings is incscribed (in Hebrew) “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”.
By the time we went for the ceremony, we had been together for many years. We got married in large part for the legal benefits and standing, which are stronger than common law.
So the ring isn’t what married us, but it is a physical token of the bond between us. (It’s also fun to clink them together to activate our “Wonder Twin powers”!)
I spin my ring around my finger. I clack it against my desk. And I rarely take it off. Because it is a tangible reminder that it there is someone out there who is relying on me, who trusts me, and who thinks I am worth it.
When I feel overwhelmed by responsibility, I spin my ring. I like having that reminder always there. It reminds me of who I am, and who I can be. And that I am trusted and loved by the most wonderful girl in the universe.
And there’s a heck of a lot of power in that.
Magic power, even.