“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
St Francis of Assisi
To know the art, is to know the artist.
Joshua Corson Fletcher
Precariously balanced above the ceiling of a homeowner I didn’t even know, I took a gamble and reached into my pocket for a vibrating cell phone. I was hoping for some good news from my new and pregnant wife. I didn’t even know Natalie’s voice well enough yet to know what the call was about, even after our exchange of pleasantries.
“I wanted to give you some warning. Our water got turned off by the city today. I’m OK. We knew we were behind… I can take a shower at my Mom’s house…. just wanted to give you some time to explain this to Matea… may not understand… don’t want her to be scared.
147 degrees and I couldn’t feel any heat in that attic. Knocked out and woke up all at once. Like flipping instantly out of one reality and into another.
How did I get here?
How long had this been coming? The slippery slope of entropy had finally gotten it’s grab on me.
Am I one of those stories people talk about; why is that guy driving an old beat up truck around Phoenix in the summer to fix people’s insulation?
I’ll send you a report and bid in the next couple days, Mrs. So-and-So.
At 45 miles per hour, top speed, it would take me an hour to drive this orange SUV home. Yeah it was orange. I hadn’t figured much out in the 37 years leading up to that point, but I could get this right in an hour…. ha, right… maybe after a few beers I’d have some ideas about what to do.
Except I had promised. I really had, before God and Country. Right in front of that minister who worked for me while stealing my clients. Even had witnesses; the most hopelessly sweet and interesting drug addict and his porn star wife to witness, I had promised my wife to take care of her and our family.
What in the f*ck had happened here?
Wrong question. And I really shouldn’t cuss. I was a dad now. And my dad didn’t cuss. Except on the job-site. It was probably that stripper I tried to marry who got me arrested and emptied my bank account, or the corporate attorney with sexual anorexia, maybe it was broken legs and walking around on someone else’s tendon, or building that off grid Alaska cabin, easy boozy A’s at Harvard, the Dallas Cowboys pro scout? I couldn’t know. And mostly it was only on me to get it right. But those PUA camps in Vegas? Discovering my superpower, a liver capable of processing un-Godly amounts of alcohol every single day while protecting my brain and it’s ability to communicate with other brain-bodies in a fantastically impressive and depressive fashion. I mean I was broke and broken, but I was some kinda talented individual. I just wasn’t quite ready to start living, like for real living.
I needed that beer. Pretty bad…. I could just open the water valve and turn it back on when i got home. That would fix it. It wasn’t stealing because I would pay it back anyway, and I hated the friggin government even though I had arrested people before. How messed up was that? Pot brownies for desert from a hard day of arresting a fisherman smoking weed? Maybe that was my point of departure. Shit. Nope. It was time to stop. I needed to understand what I had missed along the way.
Shut up idiot. You don’t need to try and understand. This is just life and it’s time to hustle and get some more work lined up. Except I was horribly talented already and I was still here in this mess and now there were people I love in it with me. Well, ok, I’ll hustle and get some work and then I’ll figure out what I had wrong all along.
I bet the internet will have some answers. Probably from a bunch of folks who don’t know anything and are just techno-used-car-salesman types who don’t even need a car to sell. I’d seen people selling dreams before. I was one of them. I sold myself on the dream of staring in my own reality TV show. Watching me play out daily scenarios in my life then telling other people the stories.
I had about 8 months until we had a family of four. I had $238 in the bank, that is, after I deposited this $99 check. A couple things saved me that day. My wife #1. She didn’t blame and didn’t hold this against me. Number 2 was a lesson I had learned from my Dad and from his Dad before him. There will come a time when you are alone, and you are going to have to fix whatever it is that breaks, yourself.
Alright Billy Mills, you wanted to run from behind and try to see how far behind you could get and still wind up winning.
Ok, that’s enough. Let’s see if I remember how to run….