Tuesday, April 24, 2012



A recent story on NPR about Alex Karras and his joining in a suit against the NFL proved to be an interesting read because of the role of his wife, actress Susan Clark, as an observer of his decline.  The couple starred together as the adoptive parents of Emmanuel Lewis’ character “Webster” back in the 80’s.  Prior to acting, Karras was a four-time NFL All-Pro, and one of the league’s most vicious players.

"All through the time that I've been with him, he has suffered headaches and dizziness and high blood pressure and all kinds of things that are ... usually the result of multiple concussions," Clark said from Los Angeles in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.     

“All through the time that I’ve been with him…” Wow, that takes a special kind of person to want to invest and be with you, especially without knowing what else is to come in the future, what other kinds of symptoms and maladies that are awaiting you.  Yep, I think that is a rare kind of willingness in a person to go on and love in spite of the unseen that is ravaging your body.

Now the reason that I had sought to be alone after I lost Tee Jay would change over the years.  The first change was the plan to be open to a relationship from my past, originally developed to justify my desiring Tee Jay, but to fulfill a personal philosophical theorem, it was open to anyone that I included in my “past”, including Nebraska.  With the pact I made with myself fulfilled, by having rekindled a relationship with Mookie Dee, approaching both SD and Tee Jay, and having a “darkhorse” ride into the race in my SFC, I felt free to finally move forward and into what the future held for me.

Prior to running into and kicking things around with Mookie, I had never, outside of returning to my starter wife after she threw me out of the “marital estate”, ever tried to bother with someone that I had broken up with.  I never thought of as being anything but fair, as I feel that sometimes your best isn’t good enough, and sometimes you just have to be satisfied with that.  So whether someone wanted me back after I dumped them OR whether I really wished that I could have taken back whatever I said or did to push them to dumping me, having done my level best in the relationship, I would find comfort in that my best this times wasn’t good enough.

Now with my injury and my aspirations, I still thought that sucking it up and going it alone would still be my best option.  Unlike Alex Karras, I won’t have a long body of “good years” to trade when my decline becomes more stark and dramatic.  So though it was not a factor in my thinking about going through my “ex-list”, it seems to be inspired from a then future-past, as though a “one day ghost” had went back in time and whispered in my ear.

Another reason that I had wanted to be to myself, harks back to when I did lose Tee Jay.  Even then, I had felt that I had lost MY best chance to be with someone I could grow with and spend the next 40-50 years with.  As I wandered my path, it would become clear at that point and time that I may never find someone who would commit to our relationship, at least not at the level I would have someone join me in my life with.  I could not entice anyone when I was at my best to invest and trust in me and our ability to live the best life together, so who would take that risk with me now?

I am not trying to make a “woe is me” case.  If I was to do that, then I would have to give back all the small triumphs that I do have and the personal battles that I do wage and win back to the fates, and groan in lamentation of “how unfair life is”, or some other equally uninspired and insipid drivel.  I mean really, who gives a rat’s patootie about why the same bad strategies and unimproved skill sets continually bring you similar results?  I know that I don’t!

So I try to journal honestly as this IS what it is for me… for anyone to think otherwise is a sign of latent paranoia eating away within, something that is conjured and exists only in them, for reasons that only they can fathom.  And that is again, something that I am less than thrilled to deal with, and I must be “highly motivated” to want to be involved with at all.

Like the Marvel Comics character “Longshot”, even though my plan was to go “this way because of that reason”, by taking “that way because of this reason” still seemed to work out.  Coming here without any assurances that there will be a “…oh, THAT me and you,” between Nebraska and me, I brought my hopes and dreams along with me and venture out into the Ultraworld.


Once I started to settle in Omaha, I thought that I did not have to be as concerned about whether or not Nebraska, or anyone else for that matter, have a opening for someone to be a “Tonto” or “The Lone Ranger” to my playing the appropriate role in their action/adventure show.  Omaha had a vibe to it, a feeling, that this was the place for me to be in my life, right here and right now.  Yeah, I am still on “guard your grill, knuckle up” watch, but now it is with the other more crucial things than whether or not someone is going to notice my gait and choose to try and jack a brother, or more importantly, if there are people who actually are “looking out” for a cat by noticing the big cat on his bike/or running around with a smile on his face.  It is really nice and friendly here in Omaha, and folks are polite as well as engaging, which is right up this cat’s alley!  While I never had any real concerns about being isolated here in Omaha, it was nice to have that be one of the first things that I was able to confirm about my new home.

I don’t know what is worse… liquid courage or internet courage.  I mean in both cases, people say stuff that they would not normally say straight-faced or if they were face-to-face with nothing impairing their judgment.  So when people have been a little rude or lacked sensitivity with me on the internet, I have often taken their words with the proverbial grain-of-salt, because I KNOW they would not speak like that to me, personally.  That crap hasn’t happened to me since jr. high, and for real, I would be ready to “drop the gloves” with about anyone in any situation.  Growing up, it became more obvious a risk to f*ck with me because I am a big guy.  And the answer to the question of what is asked of dragons, it is nothing because he is a f*cking dragon!!  Did you want to get eaten or worse?

Day-to-day life, Clark said, "would be very difficult for him without help. He doesn't drive a car anymore. He used to love to drive. He was an amazing cook, Italian and Greek food. He doesn't cook anything at all anymore — he can't remember what his recipes were."

I haven’t forgotten how little I would cook while in Virginia.  And while I do have a bunch of spices, I still haven’t gotten around to cooking a full meal.  Though I do think some of the reason I don’t cook much lay off on things like being single and not having the enough utensils, it is easy to realize just what is going on.  But I am forging ahead with my life anyway.  And what I am not getting on one go-around that I will get on another, because I will be around again!

But I do have “moments” and sometime those moments linger… and since they have been a part of my life for the last seven years or so, I take them in stride.  Woke up at 0430, went to the loo, brushed teeth and splashed water on my face, ran water for my bath.  Sat down for a bit while my tub ran and then IT happened.  Returning from the bathroom after shutting off the water, my body began to go into a “shut down” of its own.  I was fully awake and conscious, but I did not want to move.  Looking down at my thighs at the two bruises that I don’t remember from where they came and considering the aching in my left elbow to be something other than a gout flare (which would have been odd considering I am on medication for the preventing of just that!), I look to see a recently-formed scab, and I had to ask, “When did I fall?”

It was at 0730 hrs. when I went down to the gym and got some work in.  I did not bath or brush my teeth.  I went in, worked out (and a good work out too!) and rode from the gym, with my schoolbag in tow, straight on to school.  I had both classes and did not care one bit that I was “funky enough”.  I really could have given less a f*ck.

The Human Relations class was productive.  That was the class we did the volunteer work for and today the instructor took us through some seated yoga stuff, which I really enjoyed.  If I could afford to, I would go take a class, but I asked her about a book for a beginner and she did make a few suggestions.  I thanked her and started walking around school between classes.  As I approached one of the open areas where students lounge and whatnot, I saw this cute, spunky little red-head that I had in my first term English class.  We always speak and make with the small talk.  Today she looked especially cute, with her hair done very professional-like, which prompted me to say, “You look like you are going on a job interview!”  RING, RING, we have a WINNER!!  For me, that two-word phrase, “job interview” set of all the alarms it needed.  I had a JOB INTERVIEW a 1330, and I would have had to cut out of Algebra to make it as it stood, and cancel my tutor appointment. 

One of the feeds on my Face Book is one going by the name, “You Never Know How Strong You Are Until Being Strong Is The Only Thing You Have”, or something like that.  A person’s strength is shown in many ways and the opportunity to display your strength comes when you least expect it.  Now, it would have been reckless to through off the interview, with the lady from the Ollie Webb program coming to get me.  I was funky and had NOTHING ready to wear, and an hour to get everything done. 

I called my counselor at school and left a voice mail asking her to cancel my tutor appointment.  Then I ran to my bike and hightailed it home.  Called the woman from Ollie Webb and changed plans to her meeting me back at the apartment and did a splish and splash in the tub, shaved, ironed and got this mess together for my interview!

The young lady came and took me out to 2 Pacific Place, to the Wheatfields restaurant there where they conducted the interview.  We had to wait for a bit, but I was unfazed.  The owner and her daughter, along with their store manager did the interview, and though it went well (the Ollie Webb lady really thought so!), it is unlikely to result in a job.  Still, it was good to get back and get into the game, especially since I want to play!!

But all in all, today was the kind of day where I ‘maybe coulda’ used someone like a Susan Clark (oh, the irony!) in my life, to help me make more of my life, but if that happens, it is seeming more and more unlikely to happen with Nebraska.  While I did make to Omaha to be in a relationship of some kind with her, we have been unable to manage an “uncommitted, committed” relationship with one another.

Sometimes you can still lose big even if you are right.  Was Nebraska “right” about a lot of things?  Yes, yes she was.  But I don’t think that she ever understood that I was not FEELING good about things between us, and until that was resolve, her being right about things like dates, and frequency, and whatever empirical things that would come up between us, DID NOT MATTER TO ME.  I would feel things that I did not want to feel and the source of those feelings were our relationship.

This is sh*t has been written that could have been, SHOULD HAVE BEEN said face-to-face, but we never could get close since we saw the movie “The Artist” at the end of January.  Wow, that is deep, considering you have women who visit their men in prison with greater frequency than what Nebraska visited me.  Now that is deep.

I finished one recent entry with a nod to Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”, and how fitting that poem should be a part of this relationship.  I don’t know what more she could have expected to discover or why she felt the need for so much caution, or why we could not talk to one another without upsetting the other, but that is how things stand.

Again, I’ve no hard feelings of any kind toward anyone or anything.  But when I read Susan Clark’s description of what her husband’s life was like and me wondering if I would be able to build that kind of connection with someone at this stage of my life when I couldn’t a “neurotypical”, I have to express my doubts about the enterprise…

…which doesn’t mean that I would not give it a go..!


LceeL said...

If you EVER learn anything from me, I want it to be how to relax and go with the flow - to not over analyze - to just "be" in the moment, whatever that moment happens to be. To give yourself a chance. You seem to make up your mind about the value and direction of a relationship before it even gets off the ground.

Jonthy Williams said...

Mark, first of all, that is a great picture of you. I am certainly no expert about relationships but I do believe there is someone(s) for everyone. You posess the one quality that all women seek and that is sensitivity. I suspect you will find a mate someday who will gladly give you the love you deserve. Don't limit yourself to past relationships or marriages or Nebraska. Feel your worth.

Have Myelin? said...

Awesome picture. You look great!

I happen to believe there is more than "one" person for everyone... and you simply have a different kind of life had you gone for "that one".

V said...

You're going to find someone awesome.
I just know it :) :D
I'd love to say forget the past, just live life and all. But you know, that is a fucking hard thing to do. So just let it all out and blogging is the best way to do that :)