Thursday, January 7, 2010

Street Wise

I'm 61. So that means I grew up as a child in the 1950s. I was 12 in 1960 when JFK was elected President and 15 when he was assasinated. More people my age died in the Viet Nam War than any other sometime between their ages 17 and 25 years of age. I didn't have to go. I was lucky. I went to college instead in California.

However, I did grow up very blue collar even though my father won the highest grade in math and penmanship in the state of Washington when he was in junior High School sometime between ages 13 and 15. His father during the Great depression wouldn't let him go to college and become and electrical engineer so he became an Electrician and eventually an Electrical Contractor like his father, brother and even the youngest brother became an electrician and worked for their father until he died when his private plane crashed when he was 24.

So, for me growing up I was Blue Collar because my Dad was an Electrical Contractor in Los Angeles County. Though my Dad was incredibly intelligent he resented wearing the khaki colored clothes of a workman every day. He wanted to be wearing a suit to work. However, I always thought he wouldn't ever have been happy working in an office and was actually more suited to outdoor work and Building than anything else because he was very physical in addition to being incredibly intelligent and always was in tip top physical shape even until his death in 1985 at age 69. My mother lived to 90. She was 3 years younger. She only had a high School education.

So I grew up Blue collar emotionally. Even though I consider myself intellectually white collar I am still blue collar in my bones and emotions. The survivability and common sense of a blue collar person I value above all else. I value the intelligence applied of making great choices that a college education can bring. But still I value most the common sense survival values of the Blue collar people that spawned me.

So the people I value the most come from humble blue collar beginnings but succeeded anyway. I value them because I watched so very many fall by the wayside of the Blue collar people I grew up with. Starting in my teens people drove their cars off cliffs racing, died while surfing, died in fires, overdosed on drugs, killed themselves fighting over a woman, or just killed themselves because of a woman or went to war to die with honor because of a woman. Between the ages of 12 and 30 I saw so many people I knew disappear and be gone forever.

So, because of all the ones I lost that I knew or knew of I honor most of all those who somehow by some miracle stayed alive and succeeded anyway. In this I honor myself for surviving all the BS of my life and staying alive and taking care of my kids no matter what happened in my life and standing by all my friends that stayed alive.

How did I survive when all the others didn't? This is a question I ask myself sometimes. There are so very many times when I almost died and then I always would say like my father taught me, "A Miss is as good as a mile!" That was my motto for a near death experience. I would simply laugh and move on. I have found this a lot harder to do after I was 45 however. By age 50 I had almost died from a heart virus for 7 months I at that time I couldn't find anyone else who had survived one. All I heard of was that people with a heart virus were fatalities.

I suppose the best answer the I have for surviving everything in my life is that God wanted me to. This is the best answer I have come up with yet.

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