Time For a Reality Check

5dfad80e168d0229a24878895162cdd8

I was born in Houston, Texas during the depths of the Great Depression. It was a hard-scrabble life made somewhat bearable by the abiding love of our family and the support and friendship of our close-knit community. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. It was really a small residential area outside of Houston proper, called Hunter’s Creek Village.

Okay, that’s not completely true either. It was actually the west Texas town of El Paso, where I fell in love with a Mexican girl.

Which is really not my life story but, in fact, the lyric to a big hit for cowboy-singer Marty Robbins. I wasn’t actually born in El Paso, or really anywhere in Texas, if you want to insist on factual accuracy, and have never, to my recollection, ever fallen in love with a young woman from Mexico.

As many of my friends and readers know, I was really born in San Francisco. And it wasn’t during the depths of the Great Depression but actually during the relative ease and prosperity of the second Eisenhower administration.

Sorry.

I studied computer science at MIT, then went on to lead development projects for large enterprise software companies. At least I did until I got laid off, then they hired an illegal immigrant who would do the work for, like, one-third of what they paid me. I wish that border wall were already built back then.

Sorry, again. None of that actually happened. (History major.)

I got married to a nice girl I met at the bait shop I used to run on Key West. She ran the creationism museum there, educating our kids that, after all, creationism is a theory every much as real and legitimate as the theory of evolution. And besides, it’s in the Bible. Things between my wife and I were really great until the gays arm-twisted liberal judges into giving them the right to marry each other, which is, of course, an abomination in the eyes of God and ruined our marriage because giving the gays equal rights erodes traditional marriage between a man and a woman.

Okay, none of that happened either.

Most evenings, after coming home from working as a hard-charging corporate titan, I don my custom-designed and constructed costume, jump into my multi-terrain battle vehicle, and fight crime as a super hero. I’ve never admitted that publicly before but there, I’ve said it. I don’t have super powers but I compensate by using my billions to build high-tech crime-fighting gear, which creates fear among evil-doers everywhere.

Okay, look, in truth, I don’t get out much anymore. I’m too tired most nights. And I’m not really a corporate titan, or, to be totally honest, a crime-fighter of any type.

Sorry, that was just a lie.

In my blog, I’ve always tried to present my thoughts and feelings as directly and honestly as I’m able. Then why present this litany of lies? It seems, my fellow Americans, we’re having difficulty these days separating fact from fiction. I just wanted to provide you all a little calibration.

Now go forth in truth and light.

Roger-the-Real-Life-Superhero

It’s All In Your Head

gertrude_ederle_channel_crossing

Years ago, when I was just a kid, I remember television coverage of someone finishing the swim across the English Channel. I remember the swimmer completing her singular feat, then wobbily stepping out of the water, still covered in lard, or whatever open-water swimmers wore in that long-ago era, to insulate themselves. A robe or towel was immediately wrapped around the swimmer’s slumped shoulders by attendants.

As far as I was concerned, it might as well have been someone walking on the moon, which I would, funny enough, watch on television but a few years later. Felt the same way about that, too. I knew in my bones I’d never actually accomplish either. Pretty much accepted I’d never even know anyone personally who would. Both feats seemed just that other-worldly to me, relative to my life expectations and experience.

When I was young, my own and my family’s life expectations for me were pretty, um, realistic. For the most part, my grandparents were dirt-poor immigrants when they came to America. My parents, although born here in the US, grew up during the Great Depression and had pie-in-the-sky life dreams wrung out of them early. Their guidance to me was to keep one’s life plans real.

This was not so much by the issuance of fiats but by the setting of expectations [dialogs below from real life]:

  • Purposeful education at elite academic institutions? “Sure.”
  • Playing in the NFL? “That’s for guys much bigger and better than you.”
  • Becoming an actor? “Wanna starve?”
  • Olympic bobsled trials? “Grow up, already.”

Life, however, is a funny thing. Sometimes it surprises you.

DolphinClub-1

I still don’t know anyone who’s walked on the moon (although I did just meet the brilliant director of NASA’s amazing Voyager program) but just last month, a pal of mine by the name of Arnie Oji swam the English Channel, together with some mates from San Francisco’s historic Dolphin Club.

Although, without question, an awesome accomplishment, it wasn’t, of course, an out-of-the-blue miracle, any more than playing professional-caliber sports is. Arnie and the other Dolphins had been open-water swimming and training for years in preparation for this Channel crossing.

The difference between my young and ‘realistic’ conception of possible and Arnie’s adult one is all in the mind; we do, as it turns out, make many of our own barriers.

Thanks so much, Arnie, for your recent real-world demonstration of that life principle.

2 - half way to Lanai