Monday, December 13, 2010

A Life To Waste

I was at the drug store recently and I ran into a girl I knew. You might say that we grew up together on the same block. It's funny what people carry around with them....She showed me a photo (I wish I could have kept it and scanned it.) of eight of us kids , taken when I was about 5.
She's two years older than me and I think one of her older brothers or her mother actually snapped the photo... About seven of us were all sitting on someone's steps...Me, looking all innocent...a harbringer to the hell raiser I was going to grow up to be...

Of course I asked about the whereabouts of this one and that one....Of the girls, this one was married , had a couple of kids, this one was married and living in Atlanta...This one was divorced, had a couple of kids and living not too far from the old neighborhood, etc, etc. The guys unfortunately took a different path...One guy was dead, massive heart attack! , Another one was in and out of prison and last known to be in a rehab center.... there was me and then there was the guy sitting next to me...She shook her head when she got to him.

"He's not dead is he?" I asked.

"No, but he might as well be." she said.

It seems as if he was working for the phone company, right out of high school and on the fast track to being very successful when he was injured in a car accident. He went through rehab, but he needed a hip replacement. He refused to get the hip replacement and has lived on disability and workman's comp ever since with his mother. (He had been injured while driving one of the phone company's vehicles.)

"He won't get a hip replacement or even one of those motorized wheel chairs" she said -"And you know why??? because then he might have to go and get a job...and be forced to have a life." she said.

Apparently he had never married , had never had any children and had never ventured past the
local grocery store near his home since about 1992 she said. Then she said something that made me freeze-

"You know, as far as I know you only get one life.....A life is a terrible thing to waste...He has no woman, few friends...and he's sapping the life of his poor mother who shouldn't have to take care of a 50 year old man." she said. I agreed, I hung my head. This guy had been "going somewhere" when we were growing up...He was somewhat of a ladies man, had made good grades in school and should have gone to college. He got a great job after high school and had a little car and was doing good, back when I was kind of lean in the 80's. Why people take a detour and just shut down their lives is just beyond me. As I walked to my car I thought about what she said..."You only get one life , a life is a terrible thing to waste."


Rich Fitzgerald said...

She was right about it. You get no do overs in this thing called life. You better live it while the living is good.

Arlene said...

Keith, just a few Sundays ago a community service award was presented in my dad's memory and pictures were circulated of the football team he started back in the '60s. We were amazed at the life situations of some of those pictured. One had died in the Vietnam war, one in a car accident, three from cancer, two from drug overdoses, and one from "gun play." Also in the picture were the 1 public relations director (my brother,) 1 school principal, 2 school teacher (now retired,) 3 entreprenuers with thriving small businesses operating for more than 35 years, 2craftsmen, and just happy men.

Who could have predicted where these people would be today? Grace, grace, God's grace!!


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