These are the opening lyrics of a song written by Alan Price (of the Animals) called O Lucky Man. The Bay area band Montrose did a cover of this song and in college I would play this song just to show my appreciation to Dennis “the Digme Pygmie” Mayuba, my roommate and best friend during my college years. And circumstances of late have made me think about this song for the first time in a long time and yes, I do have several friends that I can rely on.
The year of 2011 has thrown several major curve balls into my life, including the passing of both my father and father in law. And this week I had another big one come into my life. What this curve ball is not really as important as what I have to do to overcome this curve ball. And that is where some of my friends have come in and supported me and for this I cannot say thank you enough. A few have given me concrete advice and help on the particulars, and one hard ass friend told me to stop feeling sorry for myself and to get to work on correcting this curve ball. All of my friends have told me that as with many curve balls, the silver lining on this one might just be a whole lot grander than the situation before it happened.
I think that a lot of us feel grateful for our friends, role models and family members who are there to support us when we need it. I would like to write about one role model who I haven’t written about until now.
Can you imagine breaking a bone every 6 months or so, never a major break, but enough for a cast ever since you were 2 years old. This kid was told that he has brittle bone syndrome. This child had a chance to hide from everything but he actually said to heck with it and he played flag football every year through junior high. And he broke a bone every season..but he loved it. He played parks and recs basketball. And in high school he would still play football with his friends, he never backed down because of the brittle bones.
One summer, when he was 10 years old he stepped off of his bed onto a shoe and had a spiral fracture of his femur. First in the hospital for 5 days in traction until they used general anesthesia to set his leg. Then, he was in a full body cast for 6 weeks in the heat of the summer, and a wheel chair for 2 months afterwards. This is when he discovered MTV and actually met Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame (this is a long story for another day). When he was 13 he threw a football in the air and shattered his right arm….his first surgery with a metal plate and 12 screws placed in it. Three weeks later walking his dog, the dog just turned quick to see another dog and he shattered his other arm. Yup, surgery again, and both arms were in slings for a couple of weeks.
But this hasn’t stopped this boy. While his arms were both in slings he got a chance to meet all the members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers including their awesome bass player, Flea. He stood 5 feet from them as they a set at a Surfers Healing Fund Raiser. And he asked his father could he learn to play the bass.
While in high school he asked his parents if he could be a music major in college, he wanted to become a professional musician. While his taste in music has changed over the years his desire and intent has only intensified. At 20 years of age he is playing bass for a church in the Los Angeles area (and a 25 mile commute) where he gets his musical tail kicked, but is learning from top musicians (the current organ player has a regular job with Prince). He is living in a house with 4 other music majors with the intention of everyone making each other a better musician. His personal mentors are quality people like Andrew Gouche (Chaka Kahn’s bass player and music director) and Bubby Lewis (Snoop Dog’s and Lupe Fiasco’s bass player) to name a few.
So life has thrown me a curveball or two. It is easy to say life isn’t fair. But I can tell you something about the young man I described above. He has never said life wasn’t fair to him. He never complained to his parents about how his summers were ruined by his broken bones. And he never complains about the 12 inch scars on the back of his arms, in fact, he doesn’t even care about them.
Now, we know kids aren’t perfect, they can be damn frustrating at times. And it is easy to forget their past and what they have had to endure when they don’t talk about it. To my oldest son, Josh, if I haven’t told you enough of how proud I am of you, I am letting the world know today. And if I haven’t told you of what an excellent role model you are for me, once again the entire world knows today. You have taken the lemons that life gave you and made the sweetest lemonade in the world.
Now, I have to get on to fixing the latest curve ball, batting practice coming up.