Ending The Game In The Right Place

John and I snapped at each other last night, too many days in a row in a dark room together. It’s fine. We marched off to our respective rooms and texted our apologies and forgiveness. This is an easy game.

My tendency is to document everything. This is also my Achilles heel when it comes to writing, and any sort of a career. Find a niche, dude.

Sorry. Can’t seem to do it. Give me a job writing about sports, about theater, about music, about movies, about politics, about history...I can do that job. I’m interested in stuff. I can write about it.

But without that discipline, I’ll just pick and choose. Fun for me, maybe fun for you sometimes. Won’t ever make me anything but, essentially, a blogger who no one reads, a columnist for a weekly newspaper that only old people read, and something else. A big weirdo maybe.

Anyway, I don’t really feel like writing one more (or two more) pieces on this Marvel business. It was a fun experiment. John and I got to do it together. It was a little exhausting, but mostly exhilarating.

I read a tech article the other day trying to pick the best projector for between $1000-2000, because anything less than that was really useless. So I’m going to disagree quite a bit. My projector was listed at $85 and with credits I got that down to about $40, and it’s been a blast. John, being a gamer, is more interested in frame rates and resolution, and my eyes suck, but still I think it’s a great picture, and so much fun to see it spread out, 150 inches corner to corner.

We finished last night, then, only missing The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Captain Marvel to complete the canon (or whatever). I think John enjoyed this a bit more, but really? Entertaining movies. I’d get more out of the two-dozen or so films that I’d like to watch but haven’t yet with people not wearing tights (I might have to check on that), but I’d have to do that alone. This was fun, just doing it with him.

So today we head off and finish it off. I say, well done. No real time lost and there was some discipline there. I didn’t think we’d make it this soon.

...

Thinking about this last night, I was suddenly kind of sheepish. The world is awful. Good things happen all over the place, but still we see what we see. It’s not like I did anything to prevent it, either. I went to a couple of rallies about the nuclear freeze movement in the early ‘80s, but aside from that I just voted and occasionally wrote a letter to the editor.

And recycled. Not a total loss, but that’s why I look to the Gen X-ers and Millennials for leadership. Not like I made a difference. I want to shut up and listen. They’re the ones who are going to get hot and have to battle the fascist armies when they invade our Starbucks (that may be over the top; things are kind of scary, though).

Point being, why waste words on comic book movies? There’s nothing wrong with distraction, but there are far more important things. I mused a bit over this.

There’s no shame or anything. Just moving on. Anyone who’s interested already has an opinion, probably, and some experience. Anyone else probably can’t relate.

And even Endgame, setting records all over the place, will be seen by roughly 11% of us, a huge number but in the U.S. alone that means that nearly 300 million people aren’t watching. Stick that in your abacus.

...

And then I understood, toward the end of the night. This week has been kind of a relief, a big whew. My responsibilities that showed up on February 23 have finally slipped away into the occasional query and some help navigating social services for him. I had time. I mowed the lawn a lot. I did other things, like watching superheroes.

I started examining my behavior, though. I can tell things are different. I have these moments of logorrhea-like talking. I’m even more apt to wander off on tangents. I have these moments of irritation, which are kind of unusual for me on this sort of routine basis. God knows I haven’t moved as much, and I’ve driven so much I never want to get in a car again, sometimes. Buses or trains all the way down would be my preference.

And it was my wife, when we were discussing this, who had an interesting take: You seem like you’re coming out of a depression, she said. And she would know, having been watching me for 36 years.

It struck me, then, that maybe the intensity of these past months was a little traumatic, in a mild way. It’s just that I know so many people who are truly suffering (including my sick friend). Grief, pain, illness. I just got busy, or I can make that case.

But even I’m not that dense. There was some emotional trauma, particularly the worry that I was taking on something I couldn’t give back.

So I’m calling this a therapeutic experience, as silly as that sounds. I got to watch some fantasy movies about good and evil, power and helplessness, heroes and villains. No blood. I don’t mind language at all (I really try not to cuss but some words are just so fucking great), but there’s none of that. It’s painful, at times, and there’s plenty of comic book violence, but seriously? Cut the monster’s head off. I will not grieve.

It was good for me, then. No harm and lots of fun. Like ice cream cones.

...

And after Endgame?

There’s still the lawn. There is still a trip to a reunion in Arizona in July, and then our trip to Scotland in August (I just found out that Tilda Swinton lives near Iverness, and I’m considering going there and sitting in her front yard until she invites me in for tea and we chat awhile and then exchange contact info, but I may be reaching).

But that’s not what’s been on my mind.

I miss my daughter and my grandson. It’s been four months, not a huge gap given our history, but he’s growing like crazy and about to lose a front tooth, and reading about quantum physics because he’s interested in everything.

And Beth needs a little help. She sends me work from time to time, which has always been fun. Usually this is editing and rewriting bios and liner notes, stuff like that, but she’s moving rapidly into the art management business (her business) with all sorts of opportunities, and her husband is in Europe for another couple of weeks.

So we put our heads together, negotiated payment for my professional services and then just grandpa time, playing with this boy while she takes care of business, win-win. She found me a flight with only a small layover in Dallas (and then in Phoenix on the return, nothing really, couple of hours), and considering that we’d decided to rent a car once a week for the next month or so just to make our lives easier in the middle of the week, I could cancel those reservations and save some bucks, meaning the whole trip will cost me about 40 bucks.

In other words, the Nine Realms are converging to make Chuck a very happy man. I had a rough few weeks. Maybe a little trauma, not sure. Stress, certainly. Worry. Fear. I may have needed some mindless entertainment to snap back into it.

But what I really needed is waiting for me in San Antonio, and always has been. Just what the doctor ordered. My infinity stone is nearly 6 years old, towheaded, a little snaggletooth at the moment, and waiting for me. All shall be well.

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