[Re-posted from August 2013]
In my daily work, I have opportunity to meet with two or three couples in a day, with the intention to advise them on a life-changing shift in their circumstances and how best to handle the details. It’s a stressful situation, to move from point A to point B with your life still more or less intact. So I’m kind, genial and helpful, striking up the sort of patter that eases stress and imparts a sense of connection.
Most times, the couples are older, much older. They are down-sizing to move into an adult community or assisted living near their kids in some other state. Sometimes they’re mid-career, mid-family, mid-life, but in all cases they are well supplied with the necessary financial means to make the changes, up or down. In other words, people far above my station in life. They have more than they can say grace over. They have things up to their ears, or very large things, or very old things, and always expensive things.
So believe me when I say that their lives are complicated by all.that.stuff. Be it the wife’s furniture, art, or collectible figurines, or the guy’s workshop, electronics, toys and tools. It’s antiques from family members long since buried, or just a collection of family memorabilia with no significance beyond the outposts of the family branches. It can own you, you know; make you build bigger barns to keep it. Make you pay big money to have it follow you.
“We’re downsizing, I swear! It’s just too much stuff. And our kids don’t want it, and it’s too nice to just give it away. Do you have any idea how hard this is?” It’s a common, daily remark heard in my line of work, and it’s filled with stress.
“Yes,” I reply, “We, too, just downsized considerably. We’re living on our boat!”
And then I see it: the Pirate Glint. It’s the twinkle in the ancient eye, or the grim jealousy in the mid-life eyes, narrowing into my own, burning with intensity, “Really! On a boat! I’ve always wanted to live on a boat! Do you like it? Wow! It’s a lifelong dream for us, how did you make it happen?” Of course the wives have other reactions bordering on murderous intent, or bemused love for her life-long-boy-pirate Peter Pan. But the stress fades, the man is engaged now in the process so often left to the missus.
It does make for some pleasant conversation when easing people into big changes. I don’t play that card every time, but it never fails to hook the imagination of the man of the house; the captain of a different Fate than he likely imagined. I see him reach so far back into his soul that the little boy, that perfect little boy inside, comes out to play Pirates and Indians.
Ladies, you married a Pirate, I guarantee it. Not that fey, foppish Johnny Depp kind, either. Errol Flynn derring-do is what he’s all about; sails and water and freedom. Be sure to remember that when the hustle of obligations and things get up around his soul. Men are the true romantics. And they never, ever out-live it.
Never doubt it.
Another Bedtime Story
We outgrow our bedtime stories
trading monsters and fair maidens
for the hard-won moment’s glories
of an evening’s relaxation
Now we numb our thoughts and passion
give ourselves to faint blue light
let the subtler monsters rush in
selfish ogres, aging plights
Yet awaits a land to dream in
good and rightness there prevail
gentle lull of moonlight beams in
as she arcs the sky full sail
Take the hand of your moon maiden
dream of dragons, deeds and fame
you’re a ship with treasures laden
a fell pirate without shame
Cutlass-garbed and burden free
say goodbye to lesser mortals
venture into that bright sea
dream of lands with shining portals
bedtime stories never leave us
we just give them diff’rent frock
time for bed now, oh my darling
let us dream away the clock
Many thanks to you Cappy Cap, for the Cappy-lanche, and welcome to your readers!