When I started my work in Sexual biology, I ran across a lot of guys who could or would not accept even the concept of female ejaculation, much less the act. I even had a British Psychologist un-friend me from Face book because I spoke of it. So, I put my blinders on and focused on discovering and educating others about accepting various sexual responses in the orgasmic experience. Then, like everything else, I learned it was bigger.
Back when I was early in AA Bill showed up from out of state with “EX-DRUNK” license plates. He was a little feller, about 5’3” and maybe weighed 130, 140. He had 12 years of sobriety then and I was a newbie in the program. Anybody that had a week or two more than I did, was accorded god-like status. I quickly learned otherwise.
Bill and I became friends. His dad was a big wig with Kodak, managing the Far East, and Bill grew up in the Philippines. While his parents were getting drunk at Embassy parties, he was on the streets learning what it was like to be a minority. Later, Bill was one of those who dropped out, turned on, and tuned in to anything he could get his hands on. He was no stranger to jails and dumpster diving. Twenty-seven rehabs later, he began a clean and sober life of helping others.
Bill met a young lady in the rooms of AA and they initially hit it off pretty well. Something changed, as relationships do, and Bill got a little obsessive/possessive. Maybe a lot. He got scary to me. Angry. Frustrated, and occasionally enraged. I called my sponsor to find out what I should do? I was told when you have a good friend, you have to accept them all: the good, the bad and the ugly. So I did.
Bill went downhill. Lost his job, apartment and weight. He moved into a shack about a mile away from my cottage. (Note: He had a shack. I had a cottage.) He had a string of jobs wondering why his bosses would not listen to him. He was one of the uneducated brilliant. Then his mother died.
They were estranged for years, yet he had mixed emotions when he left for Phoenix where his mother retired after his dad died. He came into quite a chunk of money. Bought a big house in a gated community, a new corvette, a ’32 Ford kit hot rod—he loved old cars—and he wasn’t really very happy. He flew me out there about twenty years ago. I didn’t know why, but he had told the editor of a weekly that covered the car shows about my work on the macroeconomic impact of illegal drugs. (It’s huge!) That was in the days when I thought the economy was straight, government was good and all the other stuff. Anyway, I wound up at a casual dinner where the editor gave me a plaque. I was touched.
A year or so later, Bill sold the big house, the hot rod and moved back here. He got a low-rent apartment in a huge complex, and bought a small diesel trawler to go fishing in. He was happier and I was glad to have him back here. He still would come over to the cottage for my spaghetti sauce. He once told me if the DEA ever got a hold of it, I would be in a heap of trouble! He adopted my kids as his rent-a-kids, and took David fishing a lot.
Bill was diagnosed with throat cancer. He was darn near a chin smoker, which he figured was better than booze. Toward the end, he was hallucinating a lot. I would go over to his apartment and help him chase away the little men that came out from under the baseboards. We’d go for a walk around the complex. Once he looked up and said, “How’s the weather up there?” I smiled and said, “Just fine.” He finally went into a hospital, signed a DNR, and died there. We scattered his ashes in the inlet where he and David many times passed through to go fishing.
I got a call from his attorney. He left the ‘Vette to David, the boat to Susan—David sold it for her—and some cash to me to pay off the IRS and invest in some equipment for my little lawn business. On one hand it was very welcome. On the other hand, good friends like that don’t come around very often. But doing what I was told, to accept, taught me about the value in the bond of friendship. It works a lot better than trying to control or fix things that may not be broken or we don’t have the capacity to fix. I wish he were still with us. I forgot that lesson.
Now, the point of the story is bigger. Guys are guys. We all know some jerk we find good qualities in and like anyway. I’ll bet a nickel there are girls like that out there too. The problem arises between guys and girls. We sing bass. They sing soprano. The objective is to harmonize. We forget about that.
I read the abstract of a study a few years ago that said 96% of Americans came from dysfunctional families. I wonder if the researchers were using their families as models? We are all genetically different, even in the way we perceive things. I would go as far as to say we are all wounded children. Even if we aren’t, maybe we should treat each other as though we are. Now the question arises how is our behavior influenced by the wound and by our perception? Have we simply found a socially acceptable way to mask the wound with which we are comfortable? Just because I am comfortable, doesn’t mean you have to be, and vica versa. Then, when I am uncomfortable with your behavior, the best thing I can do is look at me and the source of my uncomfortability. Of course, looking in my head is the wrong place to look. I have to look in my heart. Sometimes that can be an arduous journey. Sometimes it is a lot easier to accept or reject, recognizing that in rejection, we aren’t going to learn anything new from that relationship. And in accepting it, we may not be able to love it away. Either decision is a gamble. There are no pat answers, unless physical abuse is involved, in my humble opinion.
Copyright 2013 Art Noble