As I folded my right leg over my left knee and dug into the part where Cujo brains himself against the driver's door of the blue Pinto (with Donna and Tad screaming helplessly), I noticed/saw/felt a yellowish creamy-white substance fall from the green heaven and establish itself on my right ankle-bone.
"Oh, shit," I said. (Yes.) "You gotta be kidding me." The splotch of bird shit lay there, on my ankle, resplendent in the late-afternoon sun, winking crystals at me. Louie looked over at me, briefly, and went back to his lying in the dirt. I put the book on the edge of the trampoline and snagged a couple of close-by large leaves. They'd have to do. I'd never been shit on by a bird before, but, instinctually, I gathered that I ought clean it off, before it solidified. (Yes. I am a man-o-th-woods.) The leaves turned out to be what the doctor ordered and I turned back to my book.
But the thought crossed my mind that I really should go in and wash my hands. Nonsense. I hadn't gotten any on my hand; I'd been thorough. That cleaning-thought passed, and I was, once again, in the Grimm fairytale land of Castle Rock, one in which a sheriff named Bannerman probably should have radioed in for back-up the very instant he saw the blue Pinto in the Camber's dooryard.
I remember hearing the story, a long time ago, about when my Dad, assuredly black-bearded and strong, was talking to a colleague when a bird screamed "Drop-Zone!" and left a bomb on his lapel. "Shit," he'd said, and the lady had answered yes. I remember hearing that story and thinking that my dad was a lovable loser--who else gets shit on by bird-brains?! I guess I do. And I also further surmise that, perhaps, the apple doth not fall from the wooden greeny thing.
Let me amend this, posthaste: My Dad was lovable, but he was not a loser. (Shit. It makes me feel all chink-y just writing that.) He was/is a success. World-travelling, bread-winning, business-opening, family-loving success. And I feel that I have big huge shoes to fill. (And, I can't, really. Each person is his or her own Sun.)
But the thought jabbed at me: Am I not my father's son? That's a loaded question. Of course I'm my father's son. I would never say otherwise. I think that it's a requisite part of living for a child to compare and contrast him- or herself with the parent of the same sex. Often, it's done beneath the conscious level, methinks. But that doesn't go away, I think. I think that that mindset stays with a person throughout his or her lifetime, and I think it is particularly forceful when they're in their mid- to late-30s.
Sometimes it is just a whiff of Have I measured up? and other times it is a full-blown gale-force scream that tells one that one cannot fill the god-damned shoes, damn it!
I acknowledge that. I acquiesce. But, in some ways, I fight it, too. Why the fuck must I be the spittin' image of the man whom I love and miss? Why shan't I bust my own groove? I have; I know I have. I know that I have "busted my own groove" and gone my own way, yet I still feel the cold fingers of Predestination chilling, tickling my back.
Am I doomed to die the death of my father and his brother? Am I doomed to deteriorate in the way in which my father's father died? Do I have the Lung Cancers and the Parkinson's and the ALSs genetic bulls-eye stitched upon my back, pink like weeping tattoos? Are they my Soul? Am I doomed? I'd love to floss it over with glitter and balloons, but the fact remains that genetics play a huge part in a person's wipeout.
As does free will and choices a person will/could/should make. It ain't over till the fat lady sings, right? Right.
But the troubling thought remains that I am not fulfilling my potential and that I think that I will be scolded for it. By God.
Have ye e'er been scolded by a sparrow, from the high green heaven? I was, today, and it made me think about my Dad.