Thursday, February 19, 2009

Answering mail

A recent email I received about one of my posts. Guess there was some explaining to do.

Dear Coach,
I am an avid reader of your blog and loved reading your 25 things about you. I do have a question about one of your facts, though. Did you really say you were the kid from A Christmas Story? Did you feel guilty about having everyone buying drinks for you? I am not judging, I am just asking.
A single Mom loving your blog

Here's my attempt to explain what really happened that night.

There were times in my life where I just didn't want to be me. Times where I wasn't a father and didn't always know what my purpose was for being here.

This was one of those times.

One week after coming to an agreement with my first wife that it would be best if we ended our marriage, I left for a quaint little town in the Western Sierras. I wanted to try and escape everything for the weekend. I went by myself in the hopes that I would not have to talk about my pending divorce.

It was to be a weekend of me just figuring out where I was going to go in my life. I had felt like a complete failure for not being able to make a marriage work, following the same path that my parents' marriage took.

The only solace that I took from the breakup was that my wife and I did not have kids. There was great comfort in that fact as I vividly remember the day my parents told my brothers and I that they were separating for good. It was not a good day for us boys.

My first day up there was exactly what I wanted.

I walked up and down the Kern River fishing for rainbow trout on a beautiful fall day. I caught a number of keepers and also caught something that I didn't expect.

I caught a glimpse of what my life would be like when alone. I liked what I caught.

I realized that some things are just not to be, and that I would be OK when it was over. I also found that I could find happiness in me. Ultimately, I am responsible for my happiness and it was time that I stopped looking for others to make me happy.

When I was to be with someone else again, I wanted this woman to add to the happiness that I already had in my life. They would be the cherry sitting on top of the nice big Sundae that I would make of my life.

Feeling content and satisfied with my day, I headed to the town's only bar to grab a beer and a bite to eat. Already crowded and with few seating options, I placed myself at the bar next to a man with his head buried in his hands.

I ordered my beer and waited quietly in the hopes of not being noticed. While I may have felt a lot better than before the day started, I still wasn't ready to share anything with anyone.

To no surprise, he saw me and started talking:

"Hey, your not a local. How are you enjoying it up here?"

"Yea, it was a great day of fishing. Thanks for asking. But, if you don't mind, I don't feel like talking. Is that cool?"

"No problem. I understand," as he said this, he began to look at me more intently. Then he popped the question.

"Wait, are you that kid from A Christmas Story? You look just like him. It's you, huh? That's why you don't want to talk. You don't want anyone to know who you are."

All I could think of was, what? Are you kidding me? Just because I was blond with blue eyes doesn't mean I am that kid. How was I going to respond to this to get him to leave me alone?

"Yep, that's me. So, please just let be left alone."

From there, it snowballed. He didn't let me be and began to proclaim to the bar who I said I was. It got out of control in a hurry.

People began to come up to me with questions and to shake the hand of the person they thought starred in the classic Christmas movie. They bought me drinks and I did play along with it for the two hours I was there.

I finally left and had a laugh as I drove back to the trailer I was staying in for the weekend. It was time to go back to facing the real me and continue working on what I had started earlier in the day.

I survived that divorce and another one since. The second was much harder for me than the first because this time I did have kids. However, after a few months, I was able to go back to what I now refer to as my "Christmas Story Trip."

Not, so I could go back to being someone else like I did in the bar. Rather, so I could once again return to being the person who was happy in being himself.

Like I was while fishing that afternoon.


  1. Being happy in your own skin is an incredibly valuable thing.

    But that Peter Billingsly kid was cute. Just sayin' ;).

  2. what an obscure conclusion for that guy to come up with! lol

    after my last break up, i remember the day that it hit me "it's ok. i'm not gonna die." and just took it as a new opportunity to spend some quality time with me.

    i'm now spending great times with my "cherry on top" and liking myself more than ever.

    thanks for sharing your really cool story.

  3. Once my father-in-law was mistaken for Willie Nelson- we had a great and no harm done....and it is an especially fun memory now that he is gone. Sometimes we just need to cut loose!

  4. Your five minutes/hours of fame story was awesome!

  5. how strange of that man to think that you were that kid.... I would have done the same exact thing!!(although I don't think I would have been mistaken from him.... I have dark hair and brown eyes... oh yeah, and I'm a chick. lol)

  6. I've come to the conclusion that I like your writing! I find the whole two divorces thing quite impressive too.. I guess I'll never have time since I'm now over 30 and still unmarried. Will be back at a more godly hour to read more.

  7. If you think about it, for a short time during a very stressful period, you got to escape completely.. With all the things that made you want to hide out that night, you didn't have to be you... All of a sudden, you were someone that every one loved.. And maybe you needed that right then.. Either way, it made you feel better and it's a lovely story to tell now.. :):):)

  8. You probably brought a little fun into that bar that night. I'm sure the people are still talkin bout ya!

  9. Will you sign my blog, as in, "The kid from the Christmas Story was here." Just kidding.

    I guess the people in the bar needed something, too. You both gave each other something.

  10. Thanks for what you shared! Both the need to escape and the fact you were found.. by you!! We all need a reminder that we can never escape ourselves, but when we find what we are looking for somewhere within, there is such peace and freedom.....

  11. Isn't it nice to escape from reality sometimes! What a great memory!

  12. Hell, I think your hotter then that guy. And I didn't even need a few beers in me to come up with that! :-)

  13. kind of reminds me of when i was in jr. high and i told ONE person that i was going to die of a rare disease in 6 to 9 months (conveniently over summer vacation), and she told everyone and it just got way out of hand. it all caught up with me and i had to have lunch with the counselor once a week and apologize to the whole dang school over the loud speaker.

    anyway, back to you... good story. sounds like a blissful and enlightening day.

  14. I was all excited that I had found Ralphie :)

  15. I am a little confused. I thought your oldest daughter was from your first marriage?

  16. My oldest daughter was not from my first marriage, rather, from my first relationship after getting divorced. I was never married to her.

  17. Thanks for clearing that up for me, Coach. That is one thing I really like about your blog, You answer nosy little questions like mine. :)