I will turn 50 this week. So what I thought I'd do today, is take a breather from all of that crooked government bullshit that I usually write about. Tell you about some of the observations I have made during the last 5 decades. How it was for me.
When I was 10, I was a very happy kid. Playing baseball, beating up on kids, fishing, honing juvenile delinquency skills. I started using tobacco around 11. Got my first hickey about that time. My parents were happy to see that. Nasty girl, about 17, did that the first time I met her. I liked her right away. I have always loved older women. Strange how that works. We shined shoes in the bars in Butte, Mt. Made a lot of money courtesy of drunken miners. I saw my first stabbing turned homicide in a place called the Helsinki Club. From these humble beginnings, I would become a cop. Like I said, strange how those things work.
When I was 20, I still hadn't learned much. Drinking beer, working full time, going to college. Mostly drinking beer. Those were pretty good years. I learned to skydive, had my first love. I don't think I had a rational adult type thought until I was 25. I spent years in the gym lifting weights that decade. I would pay for that shit later on. Your misdeeds do haunt you. Trust me on this. Nobody gets away.
When I turned 30, I thought I knew everything. I was sure of it. I got married, took a hostage. My body started breaking down, sporadically. Just started to hurt and ache all over. I seemed to have a blood clotting disorder. I gained weight. I drank more. Smoked off and on. Job stress began to rise but I always loved what I did. Life kind of peaked about mid decade. From age 35, the fun times just seemed to get less frequent. My life took a turn for the worse. I'm not sure why that was and if I did know- I'm not sure that it would matter. The important thing, the thing I am most grateful for now, is that it did get significantly worse. That's what happens when you start looking back and connecting the dots. I have learned to appreciate the bad times in my life.
At 40, I began to have occasional thoughts that maybe I didn't know so much after all. Some fool (actually a very decent man) made me the Chief of Police. Let me explain what kind of a guy I was. I was a hammer and every problem looked like a nail. That's how I dealt with life. I didn't have much luck with the bolts and the screws of the world. I just didn't have the political skill set for being a Chief of Police. Small town Police Chiefs are at the mercy of any maniac seeking to become a Mayor. Long tenured Chiefs of Police have one remarkable talent that I was never able to cultivate. I knew what is was and I saw it first hand at various Chief meetings all over the state. It wasn't like I was so stupid that I couldn't figure it out. It was absolutely essential to longevity. Police Chiefs are professional ass kissers. Show me a guy that's been a Chief of Police for a long time and I'll show you a guy that desperately subverts his thoughts or agenda for anything the bosses want. Political hacks love power and yes men. They don't want any flak from subordinates. Politicians aren't any smarter than the average Joe. Most just crave power, respect. They expect loyalty. Police Chiefs that desperately want to stay Police Chiefs- know this. The ass kissers of the world make a choice. The hammers make a choice. We all decide what kind of men we are going to be and we live with our decisions. That's what I have learned. The politicians didn't make my choices, I did. Towards the end, I began having health issues, drank too much, and couldn't fit into a size 38 anymore. Somewhere, just short of 47, I was able to retire. Sometimes your expectations get in the way of your life, don't be afraid to murder them when they do.
I have a promising future behind me. Thank God.
I am going to turn 50 tomorrow. I don't smoke anymore. I don't drink anymore. The 17 year old girls now call me grandpa. I now realize that I don't know most shit and I am ok with that. I wear a loose fitting waist size- 36 again. I exercise and meditate. I come and go as I please. I don't answer to anyone, I don't have to kiss any ass unless I want to. I can utter an opinion and I don't give a fuck who doesn't agree. I pierced both ears and I am thinking about getting a tattoo. My motorcycle is therapeutic. My right foot is a little numb, veins in my legs stick out, and I pay attention when Cialis commercials come on CNBC. All of the joints and ligaments that I abused in those weight rooms, oh so long ago, are now exacting their revenge. I manage those aches, in fact I am proud of them. I can still hit a drive 330 yards once in awhile and I cracked 22 out of 25 clay pidgeons just the other day. Not bad for a guy who's only shot trap 4 times.
I've been able to connect the dots that are my life. As I look back I can see the achievements and the mistakes. I am alright with that. I am comfortable in my own skin. I focus on simple things like watching the squirrels haul ass up and down my tree and I've taught them to eat out of my hand. I see the neighbors cats lurking about and I throw rocks and shit at them when their owners aren't out watching. I am just an old sheep dog at heart. I try to give folks far more than I take. I owe the world that. I am grateful for my life- the things I did right and the things I did wrong. I wouldn't take any of it back because if I did- I wouldn't have learned what I've learned. I am comfortable with growing old and I have accepted my own death. I am no better at kissing death's ass than I was my last bosses'. I am as happy as I was at 10, sans a hickey here or there. Tomorrow night, I am going to eat a big steak with my mother, my lifelong best friend and his dad. Maybe even one of those big ass onions with the blood clogging sauce. I'm gonna savor every bite and contemplate just what the hell I'm going to do for the next 50 years. Or 5. That's how it is for me.