Wednesday, April 25, 2007

So glad I'm standing here today

Never will forget this show.

Those who know me well can tell ya that I'm a big "Magnum, p.i." fan. (Some might even say I'm obsessed, but we won't get into that.)

But I do love the show. For a number of reasons, really.

On a basic level, one reason is because Thomas Magnum is the guy I'd like to be in a lot of ways. Another is the emphasis the show puts on loyalty, friendship and a sense of duty. Still another is the positive portrayal of Vietnam veterans, which up until "Magnum" wasn't always good. And, yep, it's also a fun (and at times funny) hour of escapism.

But back to my story. I never will forget a two part story that aired at the end of the 1986-87 season and the beginning of the following year. Magnum is shot, goes into a coma, wanders around unseen (sometime when nothing's happening I'll write a blog about "Magnum" and the metaphysical), "dies" and revives at the last minute.

At the end of the second part, Magnum is contemplating the recent upheaval in his life. In the background plays a lesser-known Joe Cocker song, "I'm So Glad I'm Standing Here Today."

I have that song on my iPod. And I think about life a little bit whenever it comes up on random shuffle.

You know, there's a lot of things I wish were different.

Sometimes I wish I'd gone on to graduate school, earned my master's and doctorate degrees, and taught collegiate history. Other times I wish I'd not been so shy about certain things in my younger days, especially when it comes to women.

I still think about a couple of them sometimes, in the wee small hours of the morning, when the world seems a bit cold.

I feel guilty about my semi-regular bouts of illness (mainly kidney stones and migraines) that keep me out of work for a day or so here and there. I worry that those absences cause others unneeded stress. It also makes me feel like I can't always carry through on my responsibilities.

I look at the clock, think about turning 30 next year, and wonder if I'll ever be able to navigate the ocean of feelings that lies between the sexes, and shake off the inner fear of losing those I love that's caused me to sit on the sidelines when I should have jumped head-first into the game.

Other times it's less important. I wish I'd finally write that book that's been swirling in my head for several years. I wish I'd been a better friend, son, grandson, brother and co-worker.

But along comes a day like today. The sky is so blue and the wind is just so and you wish it could go along like this forever. You come into your office in the afternoon and realize you're getting paid to do something you love.

You hear from friends, and let me tell ya, folks, I've got the best pals on the planet, and shake your head in wonder, trying to figure out what you ever did to deserve them. And you're glad that whatever illnesses you have are pretty minor compared to so many others.

OK, so the Braves blow a 3-0 lead in the 9th and lose 4-3. No worries. Halls wins 6-3 and you go home happy.

Mountain City, Tenn., native David Loggins wrote a great song 30 some years ago called "Please Come To Boston." In it, he sings, "But of all the dreams I've lost or found and all that I ain't got, I still need a name or two, somebody I can sing to."

I have so much. So many names, so many folks to sing to, so much fun to have and so many stories to tell. It all hasn't worked out quite like I thought, or once hoped.

But that's quite alright. Like Thomas Magnum and Joe Cocker and anybody who can say they have a great life, I'm so glad I'm standing here today.

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