Friday, November 14, 2014

opening up

Pringles potato chips
One of my sons called the speaker a "straight shooter." The other said it was "the best talk I ever heard." Both were referring to a motivational talk given at the local high school yesterday by a former Boston Celtics player named Chris Herren -- a fellow whose life had been decimated by alcohol, pills and eventually heroin. He's clean now.

I only read the newspaper account -- which was pretty much what you'd expect. What I hadn't expected was the sense of lightness that seemed to pervade my sons' appreciation of the talk.

There seem to be times in life when the unasked questions and visceral uncertainties get addressed as if out of the blue. Something inside lets go or opens up or something. It feels like a blessing: Finally, someone understands what I have been afraid to enunciate, let alone address.

Neither of my sons has a chemical addiction, but there is a lot of social pressure out there. Both my sons are graduates of the high school where Herren spoke, but this was what I think of as first-class education ... someone, not a parent, who tells his or her harrowing tale and loosens the knot I feel when wondering which path to follow. Suddenly, honesty is not so scary....

And a sense of lightness enters on little cat feet. It's better than finding $100 on the sidewalk: Suddenly, it's OK to admit the true truth, even if it's just a passion for Pringles.

I spent a couple of hours doing a first draft of this month's newspaper column about it.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how many such things are missed because we're too busy to listen. I'm thinking such openings aren't always speakers in auditoriums but casual mentions among friends and others. And maybe sometimes just having honest moments with yourself.