12 February 2015
The Student, The Master, The Changes of Roles, and The Degrees of Cool
Thanksgiving, 1994; I had been twenty-two for two months and change. My daughter had been alive for a week. I only had one piercing, no tattoos, and had yet to sprout a gray hair...
For those just tuning in, I was not always the hoopy frood you know now. Very far from it. I was a rather awkward youth. Part of it was being an aberration; being too tall, too skinny, with eyes too big for the rest of my face. Another aspect was the bullying, which nurtured my solitary nature.
There were times I wanted to be someone-anyone-else so badly it physically hurt. Perhaps that is why I despise the concept of a persona so much now is during those ugly, painful, awkward years, I more than once tried to be something I wasn't. More than once, the results were disastrous. I have the metaphysical scars to prove it.
Once, when speaking of someone I admired to the point of idolization with my x-wife, I mentioned hoping to one day achieve their level of cool. My x-wife, the rebelling good Catholic girl who ended up with me to piss off her parents-to this day, I'd speculate-suggested instead of trying to aspire to someone else's level of coolness, perhaps I should aspire to my own. It was a backfist of perspective, which helped me ditch the idea of trying to be something I wasn't. Years later, I knew a cat who would speak of the importance of living one's own myth. Sometimes I wonder if his advice and my x-wife's are interconnected in queer way I've yet to fully understand.
When I first met Job, I thought he was so cool you could store cuts of meat inside him for a month. He was the master, and I, the eager student. We'd hang out at coffee and I'd devour his insights. His advice when I had a problem was invaluable. He was my guru. Me saying I was going to talk to Job was like the monks of old going to speak to the head of the order.
I think it was perhaps six months back I first noticed my conversations with Job had changed, and that was beyond the fact of his becoming born again. Certainly, we had, and still do, stimulating dialogues, but suddenly, I wasn't the one seeking advice. I was not the one thanking my friend for the insights.
We've known each other for twenty-one years and change now. He might be eleven years my senior, but I am no longer so wet behind the ears. Even back in the day, he appreciated what I had to say. Nowadays, it seems he treasures it even more.
I find myself queerly shocked...
During one of our conversations, he told me how he always looked forward to hanging out for my perspectives, because apparently not everyone sees things as I do. This is a good thing in my mind, because the world would be a really fucking boring place if that were the case. From his perspective, my passion was something he saw as a fire that burned hotter than a star, and like Hendrix, he wanted to stand next to it. He told me some of his acquaintances now think I'm his imaginary friend, because a cat like me shouldn't/couldn't exist. That many of those times I was going to his for insight and advice, he was taking from my perspective ways to, as he likes to put it, build a better mousetrap.
"I've always wanted to be Robbie Grey when I grew up," Job told me recently. I told him he gives me far too much credit.
I find myself wrestling with this. When did the student become the master? How did I ever get so cool as to win the borderline idolization of one of the coolest cats I've ever known? To me, this is shocking.
The man doesn't even drink, for fuck's sake, so I can't dismiss it so easily...
At one point, in recent years, I realized I truly do have back in the day stories. I know I've gotten where I have along this Tao of Chaos through a sense tenacity and perhaps a little-a lot?-of strange luck. Yet, when I talk to Job, I go into the conversation feeling like that wide-eyed whelp from years back. Nowadays, he talks to me as his guru and I don't know how to approach the subject.
Perhaps someone might say I've come into my own. It seems, were you to ask Job, I did that a very long time ago. Me, trying to work out this change in our metaphoric roles, thinks it's just a step along the way. Which one of us is right is purely conjecture.
January twenty-seventh, 2015. I've been forty-two for almost five months and my daughter is twenty. I have more piercings and tattoos. My hair's as thick and wavy as ever, although, there's a rather interesting blaze of gray along the right side. Just a few of the things that have changed...