A little while back there was a much smaller me. I was about 5 years old and we had a gang called the Rock Knockers, a bunch of nutty little kids of which I was probably the oldest. We would climb up Mars Hill by the train tracks and try to leverage large rocks from the side of the mount. We’d watch them as they jaunted down the hillside crushing stems and kicking up dust… I totally recommend it for thrills, but it can be very unsafe.
One day we knocked one out that was probably 3 to 4 hundred pounds, it was large and round, a gargantuan of a stone. Well, it tumbled down to our great amusement and came to rest on the train tracks. The feeling I got just then was very much opposed to levity. I was terrified of what would happen shortly and we all ran like hell to distance ourselves from the scene. There’s just no way in hell we could move that boulder from there with our tiny little hands. If you ask my brother, he’ll tell you that he saw the locomotive which struck the object the very next day; and it wasn’t pretty.
We did a lot of damage when we were little, I was so out of control back then. Another time, we went up to an abandoned duplex in Chateaux Royale (little Mexico to some) and smashed out every visible window; in broad daylight. Surprisingly, someone witnessed our frolicking and notified the authorities, who had little trouble tracking us back to the trailer. I told the police that I busted the miniscule window of the bathroom, which was true but not completely true; I may have busted the main foyer window as well. My dad didn’t even punish me, he was glad that I claimed the least expensive window. That’s what we adults like to call, “bad parenting.”
I don’t worry much about what kids have done or will do, they will never be as incorrigible as I am; the bar is just way too high. My beautiful children are some of the most wonderfully behaved persons I have ever met. I am so proud of each of them. Their mom keeps an eye on them fairly well and when they are with me, I observe very closely to see that they are safe, because I love them. My father let me roam freely, miles from home from about the time that I was four. I started shoplifting when I was six and I nearly killed myself and others regularly. Greg Carrillo was there when I got my scalp grazed by the undercarriage of a train once upon a time.
As I’ve gotten older, it’s occurred to me that I wasn’t responsible for my actions when I was a child. My father was, he had to pay the price for that broken window. He neglected us and we ran rampant about the hillside wreaking havoc. But when I reached 18, I started paying the price myself. I became culpable for my own actions. I’ll admit that I still do some childish things, but less episodes and less occasions. I definitely have a ways to go towards becoming an adult, but I really don’t think I turned the corner of manhood until I was 33; after a failed marriage and a slew of babies and a lot of pain.
Someone told me something really solid once, someone I don’t even particularly like, but he was right. He told me that if you love someone one, you treat them accordingly; you love them with your actions. Kisses and hugs are nice, but not being cruel and vindictive is like… way nicer. There are only so many apologies that I could give before she left me for something nicer. Over this lifetime I’ve become gradually more pacific, less malevolent. As an adult (though there have been root causes in my childhood), AS AN ADULT, I am ultimately responsible for my behaviors, my emotions, my words. And that sucks, because I’ve messed up so many times and hurt so many people; and some of these fools actually like me (don’t ask me why.)
You know… a train is like you or I in that manner. It moves along, it carries its freight, it makes that money and it motivates things. However, it doesn’t take much to derail a train, even a small thing can send it tumbling aside. When that happens, people can get hurt. It’s so important to keep that heavy behemoth on track, it’s paramount. Think about that when your careering about your life, bouncing off of those around you; having an effect. I’m sorry for hurting you, I really am; sometimes I didn’t know what I was doing but I swear I’m getting better … unfortunately, sometimes, I am a loco-motive.