“Well it’s all right, remember to live and let live.

       Well, it’s all right, the best you can do is forgive…”

Burnside and I were at Corky’s when my phone rang. A program guy was calling, canceling out on something—totally screwing me over. “Thanks for the call, I’ll handle it,” I said, munching blueberries.

“You’re not mad, are you?” asked Dennis.
“No…He’s a schmuck, that’s all”
“You’ve really got that acceptance thing nailed, Rabbi.”

It wasn’t always this way—just the opposite. I used to pride myself on saying most things don’t bother me, that I don’t hold grudges BUT, (I’d readily point out), if and when you make my list…if you cross that line…then you never get off. Ever.

What a terrible way I lived! That heavy burden of resentment weighed ME down, not the “bad guy.” It crippled my todays with past baggage. I now get that A) the world’s not perfect but B), neither am I. I now know that my serenity directly relates to how well I accept the tightrope walkers and acrobats in my life. (Am I not, to some of them, the circus act)?

I don’t have to condone to forgive—I just need to let go. I don’t need to forget to move on—I just need to accept…FOR MY SAKE. (Not theirs…F&#! them).

The gift of time works wonders. Raw feelings grow scabs; new skin covers hurt….and this clown, for one, works to neither regret the past nor shut the door on it. It’s cleaner, easier facing forward.

Sometimes, though, easier said than done.

There was this guy, a friend from youth. His parents ran with mine (so in a sense, we were friends in embryo). Our dads formed Bolo Enterprises as teens, to market used baseball cards. Our moms, years later, would bowl together and complain about husbands between frames).

We were fast friends—from Presque Isle trips at four to grade school…to OSU. Never fully accepted by the core group, he was, nonetheless, always embraced by me. Richard was likeable, funny, and, IN A GOOD WAY, a novelty. This nice Jewish boy not only had an erector set, knew electronics and was mechanically inclined, but—get this—he was absolutely the only contemporary of mine to, in a world when kids would say “Hello Mr. Bogart, Hello Mrs. Bogart,” greet my parents by their first names. (And get away with it).

“How you doin’, Al?” he’d say, offering him a cigarette.

Our friendship sustained through the years. As newlyweds, The Jersey Girl and I fixed him up with the woman he’s been with four decades and counting. Our kids were friends. Still are.

Richard, though, threw me to the curb as my marriage failed. Without warning, without reason. Done. And it hurt.

A relationship that traveled from uterus through adolescence to parenthood…that survived the divorces of our parents, the deaths of our patron saint fathers…the storms of life in general…unilaterally discarded.

It hurt bad.

I remember crying to my mother about it—back then. Elaine Turner had raised victimization to an art form—she was (excuse the pun), the perfect ear.

“Really?” Mom asked AND ASKED. “You guys have been pals for years!”
“I guess I’m not fashionable now,” mused the victim.
“Is this one of your jokes?” she wondered.

But it was no joke. Richard, my friend forever, was now just a Dick.
Ensuing years saw hurt become anger become resentment….until I let go. It was a period I lost, not he. But it was a lesson I was learning, not he.

How toxic was it to say “I wouldn’t pee on his grave.” How wasteful was my spirit…until…

I grew up. I moved on.

By Michael’s ’06 wedding, indeed, I’d let go. It was tennish, and Dick was sitting at the reception…table for eight…alone …post-dinner…looking like a tired Steve Freedman…

“Hey,” I greeted, extending my hand. Nodding response, he asked where his wife was. “Not sure, “ said I, adding “Well, catch you later.”

And then I did what I’d done years before. I moved on.

One Response to “END OF THE LINE”

  1. Stuart says:

    His loss…. “Serenity Now”

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