One goal, accomplished


I seem to always find pennies in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven. Most of the time, I pick them up because I think it’s good luck. And once in a while, I find a date stamped on the penny worth writing about. And so it was this evening, when I picked up a penny reading 1987.

My high school reunion is coming up this summer, and I don’t have any idea if I’m going or not. Since a couple of my classmates have passed away in recent months, it does add a sense of importance to see everyone again and appreciate how far we’ve come since the late 1980s. But high school wasn’t a great time in my life, either, so I suppose we’ll have to see what happens.

On the day when I walked across the stage to receive my high school diploma, three decades ago, I had exactly one goal in life: to leave Springfield and never live there again. My parents and both of my brothers still live there, so it’s not any animosity toward the town itself that drove my goal. It was the little pond, in my view, and I decided that a bigger pond would be more to my liking.

After three months of living with my parents in the summer of 1986, and three more months in the summer of 1987, I accomplished my goal. I’ve done some other things, as well, and a more ambitious person would not set the bar of accomplishment so low as to simply not live someplace. But for me, that’s the only thing I really wanted in life. The other thing I wanted–a Cubs World Series–is hopefully on the way, too.

So my reunion, if I should attend it this summer, will be mostly people who were the opposite of me. Whether by accident or by design, they stayed in Springfield and continued to make it their home. And that’s great, because everyone should be in a place that makes them happy, no matter where it is. But for the past 29 years, I’ve done what I most wanted to do when I was 17. I can’t be too upset about that.

Ali Baba and the 40 thieves

I remember what goofy fun the first Beastie Boys album, Licensed to Ill, was when it first appeared in 1987. It wasn’t their first record, but it was the first time that I, a college kid in Chicago, had ever heard of them. And one of the songs from that album, Rhymin’ and Stealin‘, had, apparently for no reason, the line that’s the title to this post repeated over and over again, as a sort of break from their nautical-themed rhymes about Davy Jones’ locker and, of course, alcohol consumption. Lots and lots of alcohol consumption, which was exactly where I was at back in those days.

The Beastie Boys changed a lot since then. Actually, the whole world’s changed a lot since then. As for myself, I’d hardly even know what to say to the person that I was back in 1987, if I were to ever have a chance to see him again. It’s probably better that I won’t, because that guy needed some serious attitude readjustment, and the 2012 version of me wouldn’t have been shy about giving it to him, either.

I bring all this up as a segue into the number 40. I realized this morning that I’ve written 40 posts in this space in July, and this one will be the 41st. The month’s not over yet, and I can add a couple more to that total before August rolls around. (NOTE: I wound up at 45 posts for the month.) It’s fair to say that I’ve been more productive–at least in this space–than I have been for quite some time.

I doubt that I’ll ever top the productive output that I had last October, when I somehow found the time to get 79 of these little word bubbles out into cyberspace. By those standards, I’m just barely halfway to that total with the 41 posts I’ve done this month. It’s all a matter of perspective, as always; More posts have been created in August than in previous months, but how did I ever get any sleep back in October?

And now, it’s off to see if I can’t put on some old Beastie Boys this morning, just to appreciate how much things have changed since then.