They say when the cops opened his car door, he flopped right out of the vehicle. A sad mess of hard liquor, old age, and broken promises. My grandfather was so much a genius to music theory that his peers dubbed him "The Doctor", which soon turned into "Doc". His birth name was Loren, but everyone called him Doc... I called him grandpa. Never knew he combated with alcohol for decades until we got the call to pick him up from detox at the tender age of sixty-something.
The other grandfather of mine, my father's father, keeled over in the front lawn several days after promising the family he would quit drinking as a Christmas present. Fact, if you've been drinking everyday for the past several years, your body will shut down like Fort Knox if you try and go cold turkey. I could hear a man, who had just newly quit smoking after decades of the daily habit, coughing two floor beneath me because his lungs had never gone without the stuff for more than a few hours in the past twenty years. Your body assimilates to your habits, and when you up and decide to just make a sharp right, your body will try and keep going the direction it was headed in the first place. Decide as you will in your mind, but your body will make the ultimate decision in the end. Hence we say "listen to your body".
Right now, my body says go for a run, eat a turkey sandwich, take it easy, and kickass at the show tonight. However, my mind's conveying the possible outcome of drunkenly collapsing out of a vehicle, hopefully while stopped, pulling the foundation out from underneath a family, unveiling the sad truth to my grandson, and slowly fading away in a hospital..
Nope. Would love to live up to the musical standard and success of Doc, but can't smile about it without a hesitance. The man drank himself into oblivion for years, whereas I'd rather not. Yes, I come from a long line of alcoholism, drug abuse, and a woman who possibly incinerated herself along with her house, grandma Annie-Louise. I can't help but give a morbid/disappointed grin at the insanity to how much I've fucked up in the line of successors. Let's just say I came to grips with this last night, in the not-so-greatest-way possible, and learned my lesson. Should it have come to this? no. Did it come to this? yes. Do I welcome the future? Hell yes. I'm already steppin in the circle with the m----f-----r like Musashi on his 13th bout of the day, looking tomorrow in the iris, and whispering "bring it".
As much as you self-destruct, you have to keep your aim on the end. I've always wanted to be a family man. A family man with an impeccable word. However, I don't know what to say for the predecessors before me.
What would the conversation be this morning if Doc and dad's dad were here.... bwah, I can't imagine. They'd probably give some kind of man-grunt gesture, waive a hand in the air like Brando in the Godfather, and murmur, "Christ, shit happens", or "Eh, whattaya gonna do". And to that I'd say, "Shit. Not be a fuck up". I'd want them to say "you'll make a great grandfather some day. Enjoy in moderation, don't take it personal, and life goes on". Yea, I'd like to have a conversation with the ghost of my grandfathers, but all we can do for people past is let their lives speak for themselves.
I remember my mother breaking down to a puddle of salty tears and frustration when they called to say Doc was in detox. I remember not understanding what one single adult was explaining to me about the situation. They'd try and describe it, but I couldn't wrap my little brain around it. All I could do is shudder to think the pillar of my manhood was wilting away in a holding cell, coming to terms with the addiction. Scary. Real fuckin' scary. And not in any way I'd want to be at that age... or tomorrow.
And, now I have two declarations from this Wisconsin tour: 1. sell out the next show in Milwaukee. 2. don't let my future grandson down because I decided to lose control for the umpteenth time.
"Take the best from your grandparents, don't repeat the worst". Maybe Doc would say that right about now.