I called my friend this mornin’. He had just returned from a short trip to Massachusetts.
“How’s it goin’, man?” I said. ” How was the reunion? Glad to be back?”
“Ecstatic, I tell you. I had a great time. I was able to catch up with old friends, old girlfriends and go to some meetings. Couldn’t be happier. How bout you?”
“Am I ever anything other than ‘just okay?'”
My friend works at a halfway house.
He’s the resident curmudgeon and says he has little to do with the day to day activities of the clients.
Yet, he knows everything that’s goin’ on with everyone who is stayin’ there.
This a.m., he was hopeful about one fella. He said, “I was worried about him but I think he’s gotta chance. He’s been goin’ to meetings since he’s been out…and he has a sponsor.”
“Good., ” I said. “Good for him.”
“How bout you?” he asked. “Are you spreading joy and wisdom. After all, you’re a beacon of hope to all the young folks in this program.”
“How’d you figure that?”
“Well, you’re not young anymore but you bought into sobriety and the steps at, what?”
“Considered a baby back in the 70’s. 37 years ago. So much experience. So much to share.”
“Yeah, but I’m goin’ backwards. Pickin’ up those dreaded defects of desire and ambition late in the game. I wasn’t impatient, I didn’t care when I was young.”
“And, now, you realize you blew your chance and…”
“What’s that mean? I don’t understand. Where’d that come from?”
And, then, I didn’t want to talk to my friend anymore.
I knew he didn’t mean anything by his remark.
I knew he was probably jokin’.
But it wasn’t a joke to me.
Every single day, I think, “I’m too old for this shit.”
Every single day.
Now, my friend didn’t say I was old but, if he’s correct and I blew my chance, that chance would’ve had to have happened a long time ago, when I was young.
Young and stupid.
Too stupid to have realized I was blowin’ my one and only chance.