Sisyphus, according to Greek mythology, was condemned to an eternity rolling a rock toward the top of the mountain. Each time he’d approach the apex, it would roll back down.

Three men spoke in the deep end of Beachwood’s Pool. It was 1990. Standing (both literally and figuratively)stationary,  they solved all problems of the world but theirs. Each, whether he knew it or not, was the elephant in the living room. Each, whether he knew it or not, was in a crisis of self-worth. Surrounded by the privacy of water, they’d found the one safe place to talk.

Those were halcyon days…wasted. Consumed by the angst of declining marriages, we stood in five feet of mutual sainthood, decrying the voids in our lives. One of us longed for love, another … money. Me? I craved acceptance. We laughed at others and pitied ourselves.

The marriages, of course, flat-lined. As such, in time our paths divided. Barry became a serial monogamist and discovered that the more he chased, the less love he found. He’s somewhat evaporated, calling usually for favors.

Ed’s run finally ended, yet he survives. Mellowed by time, he is more the man today than he ever was in his days of limousines and bar tabs. Indeed, my friend opens up now, sharing life’s vulnerabilities with a candor he never could “in the day”.

I, perhaps, was the luckiest. First to stumble (to the outside world), I may have been the first to stand up. Somewhere along the way the blame game ceased. Somewhere along the way I became accountable. Somewhere along the way I found acceptance…with myself.

Haven’t been to the pool since marriage—Beachwood’s, that is. A part of my past, though, for better or worse, the lesson remains: if you don’t want to be stationary in life, if you don’t want to be the elephant in the living room….you have to get out of the water.

There’s a bottle cap in the console of my car—a gift from my friend Bill. The underside, which I keep facing up, reads “I am looking at the problem”.

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