The Smoke We Called Living

A few days ago Wayne, the guy everyone’s looking at in this pic sent it to me.  Brought back memories of a time when I had a dozen suits in the closet and more ties than would fit on a rack across the closet door.  That photo must be from 1975, 1976.  Leading edge watch I was wearing must have cost a bundle.

I’m the one with the chin.  The meataxe is the one without one.  Ken was his name.  If my memory serves me rightly he died sometime in the late 1980s, early ’90s and left a lot more people glad he did than wished he didn’t.  By that time he’d been far enough out of my life long enough so’s I didn’t give much of a damn one way or another.  Ken never amounted to much this lifetime, but he narrowly missed a few good bets, geography and time being a key factor.  He’d have fit right in a number of places when goose-stepping was more popular as a pastime.

Old Wayne’s stuck with that career all these decades, fought his way up the ladder to success, winding down now.  When we re-established contact a few months ago I’d thought for a long time he was probably dead, too.  But he’s a couple of months away from hanging up his gun, instead.  Retiring.  Cleaning out his desk, I reckons.

I’m hoping before I head off into the sunset, but after he finishes getting all that behind him, we’ll get out on a river bank somewhere and watch the bobbers on a trotline, scramble up some catfish and eggs for breakfast.   Him winding down, me just listening and watching.

For a human being, getting success behind ain’t always easy.  Tough drug  to kick most times, but a man has to do it.

Old Jules

12 responses to “The Smoke We Called Living

  1. For a human being, getting success behind ain’t always easy, indeed. Or even thinking you may have it ahead, if you’re back at the beginning of the line. Great post, cheers.

    • Hi colltales: Thanks for coming by for a read. I expect you’re right. Success is a boxcar rolling along every point in our lives, demanding our attention, too big to get a grasp on what it isn’t. The train seems real when a person’s riding it and real enough when he’s only running along beside trying to get on. Might actually be easier when he’s gotten off and resorted to hitch-hiking on to the destination. Gracias, J

  2. Leaving success in the dust and fame, too. Highly addictive states of mind.

  3. Success sure is a slippery concept, isn’t it? I just read about a gallery in Florida where people will stop in and pay $4,000 for a painting without batting an eye, but in Chicago people hesitate to pay $400…Some would tell me I’m enjoying success because I’m living my dream. This is true. But having trouble paying bills doesn’t feel like any kind of success.

    • Melissabluefineart: Here’s wishing you whatever you think success is. And a joyful escape from it when you’ve had a close enough look to conclude success must be something besides what you thought it was. J

  4. When we wind down, we are faced with the new reality that we lose our importance to the people we leave behind in the workplace.

    • Rosaliene: Thanks for the visit. Thinking we’re important’s a surefire component. Losing what we convinced ourselves we had is more difficult the greater we thought our importance to them was, I reckons. Gracias, J

  5. Ready to leave it behind!

  6. Strange and beautiful as always. You have a strong profile. In German the side profile you prefer is called your “chocolate side.” What happened to your watch? I guess it never stopped ticking. Success is as arbitrary as time.

    • Hi Kate. I’m grateful you came by. That profile never ended up on a Roman coin, on the wall in the Post Office, or any number of other places come to mind. I count myself lucky on that score. The watch ended up in a box somewhere after I discovered telling time on a circular face with moving hands worked better for me than digital readout. My mind had already decided how time was supposed to be communicated to us and I was never able to get it so’s a glance at numbers felt best for me. Gracias, J

  7. Time and tide sure do level the playing field. Isn’t it interesting how we all end up in different places and for reasons we never would have expected, away back then?

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