Sense of Style
When I was a young guy
just getting started at being a writer
I happened to meet a fellow
who was a very accomplished guy
He seemed to be able to do it all
Paint, sculpt, write, and make music….
A real renaissance man.
I thought to myself, “That guy’s got more talent
in just two fingers than I’ve got in my entire being.”
I was determined to discover his secret
and so one day when I saw him in the park
I wandered up and started a conversation.
After the small talk was over
and I felt like maybe we’d bonded a bit,
I asked him straight up,
“How on earth did you ever get to be so talented?”
“The guy seemed to ignore what I’d asked him
and instead started telling me a random story.
He said, “I kinda took most of last week off
and sat around thinking
about what I really value
and what way I think is the best way to be.
He stopped talking for a minute.
And just when I thought he was done,
He smiled and continued on……
‘Long about Thursday evening
I remembered some stuff I believed when I was six
but kinda had forgotten
and cast aside in the daily rat-race
and fast-paced hustle of life as an adult.
When I was young I decided
the things a person really ought to try to do
is never to harm anyone
and try to be as truthful, honest, and sincere
as they know how to be.
The old guy paused a moment and lit a cigarette
Then he continued on talking
He said, “….And then I thought to myself,
maybe a lot of the time it’s more important
to try to do those four things
than it is to try to always appear
cool, flashy and important.
I think what it really often boils down to
in the stuff I do as an adult.
is the question of whether
it’s more important to me
to do no harm
and to be truthful, honest and sincere
or appear cool, flashy and important.
And I think I’d rather do the first four
than the last three.
He stopped to take a drag on his cigarette,
and I began to wonder what the point of his story was.
The old guy just continued on undaunted.
He said, “They say the only difference between
the men and the boys is the price of their toys
and I really believe that’s true.
Inside us all
we each carry many memories of when we were small
and they help shape who we are and affect everything we do
from the time we’re little clear up until we’re ninety-two.
A few of the things I can say about me when I was six
is that I really liked things that looked very cool.
And I really liked all the variety in life.
I’ve always thought it’s very, very cool
there’s lots of different things
to see and think about.
I was a pretty good kid, but like every kid, I wasn’t perfect
and I got into my share of small mischief a time or two.
By the time I was six, I’d figured out
It was great to be the star of the show when I could.
But things usually went best
when me and my friends
took turns and shared the limelight in our little gang.
By six, I’d learned that just about all of the time
honesty was best
and even when I couldn’t be entirely up front,
I knew telling part of the truth was most always much better
than being fake or telling a lie.
At six I loved to learn all kinds of things
and then tell everyone what it was I’d found out.
Of course, I loved to play.
I figured out that play could be a lot of work
and work could be a lot like playing too.
I knew there were times when I could be just a kid
and times when I had to be more of an adult
and I knew both ways could be a lot of fun.
Now that son, is a quick snapshot
Of who I really, really am
And if you look,
you can see bits of that six year old kid
in everything I think, say and do.”
By now, I’d pretty much forgotten
what it was I had asked the guy
And so I said,
“But geeze! I was a brat when I was a kid.”
The old man, brought me back
to the point of our conversation
when he smiled and said,
“Well, personally, I think it’s very good
the world has all kinds of people.
And aren’t a lot of really great artist’s
like Van Halen and Kid Rock
not much more than great big brats
with a great sense of style?
And I’ll tell you a secret—I’d bet if you look closely
At all those bad-ass bikers riding their work-of-art Harley’s
All those women and men raising families,
working hard to make ends meet
and all those fighter pilots in their fighter planes.
You can see hints of
a big bunch of runny nose kid’s playing
runny nose kid games
who don’t want to go home
until an hour after dark.”