Friday, March 10, 2017

A Limited Horizon

I'm named after my father. I've told you that before.

Perhaps that's why I'm so confident when I suggest even more so than either of my brothers, I truly am my father's son. I never really use the "Junior" that I'm assuming is still part of my name (and who or how is it decided some folks are "II" or "III" vice whatever the word would be? Thanks, Google) even though there hasn't been a "Senior" since almost thirty-six year ago when Dad died in his sleep of an attacking heart seven-plus months short of his fifty-eighth birthday.

Some years back as the month of April approached I became slightly more circumspect (for me) and mindful of where I was treading and heading as I became older than my old man now. Loudon Wainwright is an "III" for crying out loud; why not "Junior Squared"? And based on how much my brain hurts from that previous supposedly explanatory link, I think I don't like cartoons.

I was thirteen and we were at our summer home at Indian Mountain Lake in the Pennsylvania Poconos when I learned it wasn't my father's idea to name me after himself. Actually, I'm underselling that by a skosh. He told me in that still even-toned voice he had just as he was about to lose his $hit, that he would have never named me after himself because he hated me.

We already didn't get along, something my siblings and I had in common in our relationships with Dad, and I do recall not being surprised at his statement. I think I said something like I hope you feel better for saying that and then bracing for a backhand across the side of the head that was, and this was a surprise, actually a right fist delivered into the center of my face.

I guess the force of the punch knocked me out, or at least down, since I recall a moment of black and then sitting on the ground near one of the rock walls we built everywhere on the property. Kelly, my middle brother, always called them IP's, for Idiot Projects, and Dad had a summer's worth of them for us every day.

I was thinking about all of that and a lot more that was a lot less cheerful while in a pretty dark place emotionally Wednesday as I took the first halting (almost said doddering but that would give it away) steps toward conceding my race to stay forever young has run. I applied for Medicare online and it took moments and didn't hurt at all, which made me feel a little cheated, I think.

I applied because, in another 'he never got to do it' instance, unlike my Dad, I'm "in the window," even if some days I've felt like I was on the ledge. You have ninety days before your 65th birthday and up to ninety days afterward to apply, without penalty (typed like I know what that means) and I was sitting in the sweet spot (?).

I'm still working, or to be honest, I still show up at my place of employment and they continue to pay me (I have no idea when I ceased working, but so far, so good.) so Medicare Part A is all I applied for at this time while wondering what happened to that kid in the Pocono woods checking out the fallen leaves up-close while refusing to touch an aching jaw who had no intentions of growing up or old.

I also wondered about Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey, the survivors of The Who, whose glorious anthem, "My Generation," was close to four generations ago and whose every word we who were that generation knew by heart. And then I remembered close only counts in certain circumstances though I'm a little fuzzy on what exactly they might be.
-bill kenny

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