David Crooks

David CrooksI spoke briefly at your memorial today. I wanted to tell everyone how amazing of a person you were, and how I hope to carry your legacy with me wherever I go. I wanted to tell them that I have become a good person, doing good things, and I owe huge dividends to you for that. I wanted to tell them that no person stands out so profoundly in my life as you. I wanted to tell them that so much about the way I’m going to raise my kids is because of how you helped to raise me.

I should have said a lot of things:

I should have told them about the guitar you bought for me when I turned 16. I should have told them how you drove with me to stores all over Palm Beach County all day looking for the right guitar, and the place that wouldn’t rip us off for it. I should have told them how you told me you were proud of me for knowing what I wanted, and not settling to get it right.

I should have told them how terrified I was to hear that you were dying of liver failure when I was 18. I should have told them how I spent my 18th birthday sitting at a restaurant bar eating a sandwich contemplating my life without you around in it. I should have told them that after you got back, you gave me a necklace for my 18th birthday, that I still wear. I should have told them how my kids love to play with that necklace when I hold them, and how one day I’ll give that necklace to them.

I should have told them about the years I spent working for your block company. I should have told them how it’s the work I’m most proud of in my life. I should have told them how the people I met while doing that work, have changed my world view more profoundly than most folks will ever have the opportunity to understand.

I should have told them about the time I didn’t show up for work on Saturday. I should have told them how you broke in my house, yelling at me to get my ass to work. I should have told them about the number of times you were incredibly tough on me, and how it’s shaped so much of who I am today.

I should have told them about the time you sunk a Lull up to it’s wheels. I should have told them about the times you would put a lit cigarette in someone’s pocket, or put a rubber snake next to one of the masons working, and how we would all laugh. I should have told them that your since of humor was amazing, and how it will be carried on long past your departure in this world.

I should have told them about when I graduated community college, how you came up to me (during the ceremony), to tell me how proud you were of me. I should have told them how much it meant to me.

I should have told them how much you meant to my mom. I should have told them that the 10 years you were together were some of the hardest, and best times of her life. I should have told them how much it meant to me that for so long, you were such a good part of her life.

I should have said a lot of things to those people sitting there today. But when I got up there, the enormity of your absence hit me like a cube of block. I love you like a father. That’s not to the deteriment of my dad (who is awesome), but to the testament of who you are. I’ll always consider you my dad, and I’ll miss you as much as I’ll miss anyone in my life. You are one of the greatest people I’ve ever encountered, and that’s what I should have said today.

Relationships

Preface: I wrote this pretty drunk, so please take the following with a grain of salt

I’ve learned a lot about relationships lately. Chief among the things I’ve learned, is what I don’t like about myself. It’s a strange paradigm, but one worth examining: Why is it so much easier to see the flaws of others in our relationships with them, than it is to see the flaws in ourselves?

Usually, the ugliest part of ourselves is what we convey to try to achieve social acceptance. That is, the part of us that usually is the worst, is the part that we’ve developed as a coping mechanism to adapt to the environment we want to be in.

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Happiness and Success

I’m sitting on my couch on a Sunday morning, pondering the meaning of happiness and success. I’ve been questioning a lot what that means to me lately. It’s pouring rain outside, which always make for a good time to reflect.

My 10 year high school reunion was this weekend. I didn’t go. I had originally planned to go, but when money was due, I was broke. It’s frustrating, since now, I’ve got cash falling out of my pockets. Another reason I didn’t go; everyone I still knew from high school said they weren’t going. Still, I can’t help but think what it would have been like to see everyone. Furthermore, I wonder if I’m trying to gauge my own success on where they are in life.

That gets me to where I’m at today. I should be enthralled about where I’m at in life right now. I have an amazing wife, a sweet dog, a good job, a new house, new TV, new computer, and a lot of opportunity going for me.

However, I can’t help but think of what I don’t have.

  • I’m still a bit overweight.
  • I’m not completely debt-free
  • My sites don’t pull anywhere near the traffic of some friends of mine.
  • Millions of other, far too personal reasons, why I don’t feel like ‘King Cory’

It’s all tricky, since I know thoughts of doubt, only bring on real examples to keep bringing more thoughts of doubt. It’s a viscous spiral of negativity that only serves to bring us down. I say ‘us’ here, because I know I’m not isolated in feeling this way.

So what’s the real reason for it all? I guess unrealistic metrics for happiness and success.

  • I may stlll be a little overweight, but I do bench-press 315 regularly, and I’m far from fat. I’m comparing myself to ‘The Bachelor’, and I really should be smarter than that.
  • I may not be completely debt-free, but I’m not starving, and nobody is coming to repossess anything of mine.
  • My sites don’t have the same kind of traffic draw of some friends of mine, however, my sites do a lot better than plenty of other sites. My Alexa ranking is under the million mark, my technorati ranking is still higher than the vast majority of people I personally know, and I have a page rank of 4. Alex is always going to have more activity on his site than I do, I just have to accept that.

So the next question; why can’t I set realistic goals for myself, and be content with reaching those goals? I always find myself setting the bar so high, I never fully accomplish what I set out to do.

Here’s where I turn this around to the audience (assuming there is one, please see the previous stuff), why do any of us do this?

Is this the ‘evny’ thing? is this the ‘covet’ thing? Does this ever stop?

The truth: The world is a bastard of a place to live in. The more we allow ourselves to fail, the more we will. There’s only going to be a few places where you can really find empathy, friends and family. So it’s a good idea to keep them close. Those are the folk that get you back on track, when you can’t do it yourself. The alternative is to stay in the rut you’re in, and allow yourself to fall apart. It sounds pretty stark if you ask me.

Hmmm.

I need to buy a suit. Maybe I can also go buy a better attitude.