Saturday, January 31, 2004

It only took six years, but it finally happened. My PC got a virus. That’s why I haven’t updated in the past month. I had gotten my PC for free as part of a dot com business which traded the free computer for three years worth of marketing data through tracking all of my online time. Three weeks after my PC was delivered the company went under. So, technically, I got the computer completely for nothing. I then justified that I never took the time to back up that hard drive and all the lovely data. Now, I’m paying the price for it. Luckily, I had my previous PC in a closet. For computer geeks, I am working off of a Compaq Prolinea Net1/25S. This box is so old and slow that I can start loading a web site, fix lunch, get a drink and come back before it’s done. But, at least, I’m back online.

It has been an interesting month on many fronts. I had started a really nice entry about happenings at work; I’ll save that for another time. The Reader’s Digest version is that my company is undergoing a major management change and EVERYONE is running on sheer paranoia wondering if they’ll have a job the next day. Makes for interesting times.

That paranoia has taken up so much of my time at work that I haven’t had more than one lunch with “the young lady” and I’m beginning to feel as if I’d blown the timing on that. Not that I’ve given up, by any means; I just hope I haven’t blown it.

Johnny and I had a great week together. I can hardly wait to have my van back on the road so our visits can be a back on a regular schedule. He amazes me each and every time I see him. He is growing into quite a person. I hope our relationship and grow and develop as he grows to adulthood, as I never had the opportunity to experience with my father. I often try to imagine going out for drinks with a 30 year old Johnny. Of course, he was the major inspiration for my gastric surgery; standing with him at the maternity ward looking at his first child. Everything I’ve had to go through in the past ten years has been worth it for every moment I spend with him.

Now that I’m back online I will be updating regularly again. Hold back your excitement, please!

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Happy New Year!

Every year, at some point on New Year's Day, I remember Tony.

It was New Year's Day in 1978 when my friend, Anthony Scott Theisler, died after a drunken New Year's Eve that found him playing chicken. His car burst into flame after hitting another car head on near the beach where he lived. I don't remember who told me or how I reacted. To this day, I vividly remember being a pall bearer at his funeral. 16 tears old and carrying a friend to his grave four and a half months after standing at my own father's.

I remember moving his casket through the church past his parents, family and friends. The nervousness I felt, hoping my sweaty hands would hold. The biting cold at the cemetery and someone having to pull me away. I had been in cemeteries too many times and couldn't comprehend it all.

Tony was the son of a friend of my dad's, fellow police officer. During junior high school our parents had put us together hoping a friendship would grow. At the time, Tony was very ill, hadn't attended much school and didn't have many friends. Our parents had hoped our friendship would help Tony through his illness knowing I knew what being that sick was like due to my bouts with asthma. I did go over his house a number of times and when he entered the same junior high school as I did we spent some time together. As with many friendships, time and other interests took its toll, we drifted a little and finally different high schools made the final rift between us.

Tony started playing saxophone in the junior high school band and got better and better and better. So much so that, as 1978 approached, Tony was being courted to record professionally. He and I talked occasionally on the phone and I was excited for him and proud to know him. Something about him didn't seem right, though.

I never racked myself with, "What if I had known" or "How could I have been a better friend". Years later, however, when I was going through my own alcohol control problems, I did have his ghost to wrestle. I had been out drinking and drove home drunk one night. Just a mile from my house the road took a turn and I didn't. I hit a telephone pole and wrecked my car. This was long before DUI laws even existed and drunks were brought home to sleep it off. A family friend was the police officer who responded and he brought me right home. In my drunken stupor I lamented how I had let Tony down. For seven years I didn't drink. Every January, while I lived in Rhode Island, I visited his grave on this day.

These days I do wonder what might have been. Where would his talent had taken him. How would our friendship have changed. What would he have even looked like n his 40's. I have gone back to drinking. I have been drop down drunk. I have even driven drunk. Does that diminish Tony's memory or lessen the impact his death mad on my life. I'm not sure. I think he had other reasons for drinking that I never had. I could make some sort of philosophical stretch that his last moments on earth were more a race away from something than a race towards another car.

I also think the fact that I'm still alive says a lot, too.

I miss you, Tony.