Somebody asked what I do. There was a time when I’d say I’m in advertising. Or I’d even admit I own a small ad agency. It’s fine, I’ve asked the same question eleventyseven hundred times myself. Certainly there are conversations, people and situations where what I do for a living is relevant and can be part of a meaningful discussion. But usually “what do you do” is small talk. The asker probably doesn’t really care and the answer is going to be pretty standard.
It’s like the old, “Hey, how are you doing?” The response might accidentally be, “Not much.” Or the question is, “What’s going on?” And the answer is, “Great!” Sometimes neither person realizes the mistake. We are all robots with ADD.
Lisa’s mom was in town and I had the pleasure of meeting her. I was warned ahead of time that her mom is quiet and conservative. I was asked to be myself with slight modifications. Of course I wanted clarification so I asked if I could mention butt sex. I also asked if I could swear and drop pet names for her hoo-ha (Lisa’s, not her mom’s). Those were the tame things. Since those were shot down immediately, I didn’t bother asking about everything else.
I met Lisa’s lovely mom over lunch. She was indeed quiet. Not a problem since I’m a blabber mouth and Lisa is no slouch in that area as well. Her mom finally asked a question. “What do you do?” I looked her square in the eye and said, “I’m in importing and exporting. Of an international slave trade of children.” I was more worried about Lisa’s reaction than her mom’s. Luckily her mom smiled and Lisa piped in with, “Yeah, its why he’s going to Nicaragua next week.”
So, what DO I do? Well, I’m a father of two awesome kids that I’m trying not to screw up. I travel, write, play, read, socialize, masturbate, live in the moment, own a small ad agency; I don’t know! I have experiences.
I was hiking with Lisa one day and we were talking about books. At the time I was reading something stupid like a John Grisham or Christopher Moore and she was reading Plato. We came upon a creek and I was referencing a lame story line full of clichés and she was quoting Heraclitus. Um. So yeah, let’s focus on her book.
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Before I rave about how awesome that quote is, can I just say I wish I could rename my kids to Heraclitus? They are so lucky I was too busy reading Louis L’Amour and didn’t know about Heraclitus so I ended up with a Will and Drew instead. Heraclitus is so awesome; I’d give them both that name. Tapping into my inner George Foreman.
Anyway, back to the quote. Two obvious interpretations jump out. We are always evolving so whenever we step into that same river, the experience will be different because we are in a different place, per se. Also, the water is flowing. It’s not the same fricking water in that same fricking river! I love that quote as much as I love the name Heraclitus. Thank you new Vegas name!
Every visit to the river is a new experience. I don’t want to take that for granted. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was a supreme court judge that said, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” Yeah, I dig. Like I dig Oliver’s mustache. Rollie Fingers has nothing on Oliver.
What do I do? I have experiences.
Which made me think about what experiences I’m lacking. I landed hard on something that doesn’t seem lacking on the surface. Giving.
Don’t judge! I give. I’d do anything for my friends and family. I go to Burning Man which is all about giving. I write checks to numerous charities. I support my friends’ philanthropic efforts. I buy way too many Girl Scout Cookies. We do pro-bono work for great causes at my company. I give my heart to those I love. I give. But man, I’m not getting my hands dirty.
This whole election season is an embarrassment. I’m not going to go too far into it but between that and the problems we have with cops killing Blacks and race inequalities/abuse in general, this country has some serious issues to resolve. In spite of these things and many more issues, we are lucky to live in the greatest country in the world. I am privileged to be an American even if I’m completely embarrassed by our politics and disgusted with our race relations. I mean, is it wrong to pretend I’m from Canada when I go to Nicaragua tomorrow?
Anyway, America is great. I am lucky. Other people here and around the world are not so lucky. So I’m going to give mo’ bettah’. My super awesome friend Tory that I consider family has introduced me to an organization that builds entire communities in Central America for families in deep poverty. Tory and I are going to Nicaragua tomorrow with a group of people to check out this organization’s work, meet some of these communities and investigate getting deeply involved in helping a community of our own. I’m excited. I have more to give and this seems right.
We may or may not also try to have some fun one night in Grenada because we want to give to the economy as well. But mostly this is the first step in a new experience of giving at an entirely higher and more intimate level. We are ignoring the U.S. travel advisory warnings for Nicaragua and the fact that a woman from this organization was murdered a few years ago and are going to live in the moment with open minds and hearts. Hoping we can give.
Now I just need to find out if the name Heraclitus has a Spanish version or if I just say it in my awesome Cisco Kid accent. Cuz I’m totally making Heraclitus my Nicaragua name.
Buenos noches amigos.