If you look hard at the photo above, you can barely see me getting ready to go up the hill. On the other side of that hill is a broken leg.
I got bolted up today. It wasn’t as clean and simple as I’d hoped for, and there’s no way I’ll be able to sneak in the car for our AER race in two weeks. But I’m going to walk again. The ligaments are in surprisingly good shape. What little problems I still have can be fixed by a scope in the future, apparently.
Now, since I have your attention, I want to talk about the virtue of being unlucky.
I have been unlucky all my life. I don’t mean that I have been unlucky in the things that truly matter. After all, I can see and speak and think. My son is alive and well. I’ve never felt lovable but I’ve been the recipient of more love than I could possibly ever return, from men and women. Yes, haha, from men too. Not in the romantic sense but I have been blessed in the number of friends whom I truly love and whom I believe return that love. Plus, I have some really bitchin’ stuff, like my smokin’ hot girlfriend and some of my smokin’ hot ex-girlfriends (you know who you are and so do the lucky chumps playing Blaze Bayley to my Bruce Dickinson or, possibly, my Paul Di’Annio), my four Private Stock guitars and my Porsches and my bikes and my Kiton jackets and blah blah blah you’ve heard it all before.
So I don’t mean I am cursed by fate. No, I’m just unlucky, in tolerable but frustrating ways. In the past thirty years I’ve found a way to break about half the bones in my body and crash motorcycles and bend the unibody on a race car and blow a $14,600 Mugen-R engine and lose my chance at getting my doctorate and have someone knock my brand-new CB1100 over in the parking lot and drop things and lose amazingly valuable things and so on and so forth to the point where, whenever I find myself enjoying something too much, I feel compelled to ask of myself, “When will the bad thing happen?” Not the tragic thing. I’ve only had one tragic thing happen to me in my entire life and that was the January 2014 crash. Just the bad thing.
After no small amount of reflection, I’ve come to believe that being unlucky is, in itself, a form of luck. All the times I’ve spent in the hospital and on the sidelines and pushing a broom at Rax and feeling lonely: I need it. The writer in me needs it. Being periodically unlucky reminds me that I’m not a competitive shooter or a race car driver or a motorcyclist or a BMX racer or a musician or a husband or a wealthy, successful person. I’m a writer who occasionally experiences a bit of what it’s like to be those things. Just for the length of time I need, I find that monster fish in the deep sea and I fight with him for days and I capture him and I tie him to the boat. But when I reach the shore I find that the fish has been eaten down to the massive skeleton. Nothing but bones. Bones, and the memory. And if you have the bones, and you have the memory, you can write. Which I will endeavor to do, dear readers. For you, but mostly for myself.
What I need you to do, my friends, some of whom I love, is this: Stand behind me, like the slave did for the Caesars on their triumphs, and whisper: “Remember, you are mortal.” Sometimes I forget. And over to you, Mr. Tillman. Yes, I’m personally guilty of every single thing he lists in the whole song.