The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get use to the latter.
EPISODE THIRTY NINE: Looking Up…To You
This blog post is dedicated to the people I’m about to talk about. These are people I do not know personally but they have shaped my life in some way. Some when I was a kid and some today. And some of them have given me direction my whole life without them knowing. Some I will say short things about, some long, but all equally important. There will be a few, though, that touched a nerve, that opened my eyes and changed things about me.
One of my earliest was Charlie Chaplin. I use to love watching his movies. You’re thinking, ‘Why is a kid watching silent movies?’ Because he had a magnetic force behind him that I couldn’t pull away from. Later in life, I understood his full genius and made me love him even more. Yes, he had problems but who doesn’t? His movie The Kid is my favorite and if you haven’t seen it, you are missing out on a diamond among gravel. Put that in your pocket and keep it forever.
One of the biggest influences on me was and is Steven Spielberg. My childhood was made up from watching his movies or the anticipation of watching his movies. My very first movie I ever saw in the theater was Jaws. My mom took me and my sister and I had nightmares for a months. Don’t hold it against my mom. I don’t. That helped lead to another influence of mine but we’ll get to that in due time.
Spielberg movies helped shape my childhood. Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., my beloved Indiana Jones movies, Empire of the Sun and too many more to name right now. These are the movies that I rank all others to. And thanks to that man. One of the oldest kids you’ll ever see.
Spielberg’s partner in crime, George Lucas, is next. Two words: Star Wars. And, of course, if it wasn’t for him, there would be no Indy. He gets a lot of flack from movies he did more recently and his Star Wars prequels, but if not for him, I wouldn’t have my favorite fictional character and my second greatest hero and there would be no ‘A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away’.
And that leads me to the man I fell in love with and it started with being scared of Jaws. The first book I read by Stephen King was Christine. I had seen the movie a couple of times but I had not read any of his books. My dad and I went to visit relatives in Crossville, TN and on our way out, I saw a used book store. I asked my dad if we could stop for a minute and we did. As I browsed the aisles, I saw King’s Christine. I was drawn toward it. It was five dollars and I had six. It was a sign. As my dad drove back home, I started in on it. We got home and I kept reading. I finished around midnight. I was hooked. From then on, I devoured everything written by him. Still to this day, he is my favorite writer of all time.
But, he didn’t write my favorite book of all time. That honor goes to…
Robert Fulghum was introduced to me by my friend Laura LaFond. In a previous blog post, I talk about it and thanked her for giving me a key to a door. His book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is wonderful. It’s full of his experiences and it gives you a template for life. His other books are close to my heart but this one is a book that I read at least once a year, every year. I call it a tune-up.
And as writing goes, I’d very much like to write like Stephen King but when it comes to writing this blog, I always imagined it to be more like Robert Fulghum.
Maybe you noticed.
Another director I admire is J.J. Abrams. I mean, of course. Right?
He should be Steven Spielberg’s son. His movie Super 8 took me back to how I felt when I watched those early Spielberg films. And, yes, he gave me a new found love for Star Trek, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens gave me such happiness and joy, I felt like seven again when I saw the first one.
He’s another big kid.
In the past few years, I have developed large amounts of admiration (and a bit of a man crush) on the man who started Dirty Jobs, Mr. Mike Rowe. In the seasons of the show, I followed him as he was a garbage man, a sewer inspector, a guy who made charcoal and many hard, dirty jobs that people do every day. And he made me want to do them, too. Here’s a guy that wears a baseball cap most of the time (like me) and never really dresses up (like me) and is a lot of the time needing a shave (again, like me) but speaks so eloquently and gets along with anybody (me…sort of). He has voiced many narrations for other TV shows and commercials which made me want to watch or buy whatever he was talking about. And since I’m a podcast guy, his The Way I heard It podcast is simply one of the best out there. It’s this generations The Rest of The Story with Paul Harvey.
A true man’s man and he seems like one hell of a great guy.
If given the opportunity, I’d gladly drink a beer with him. Or two. And I’m not much of a drinker.
What does this tribute blog post have to do with my depression?
Not much. Unless you consider the fact that these people help me escape the sadness for a while and give me things to think about and imagine. And you should think about people that inspire you, ones you know and ones you don’t.
And just the fact that they do inspire me, makes the world a better place?
So, thank you, Charlie, Steven, George, Stephen, Robert, J.J. and Mike…you have made a huge impact on me. You have opened my eyes to many things and inspired me to no end.
There aren’t enough people like you in the world. Maybe that’s a good thing.
It makes you even that more special.
Oct. 18th 2016
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.