A few weeks ago my son was in the kitchen pilfering through the cabinets searching for the largest container he could find. It happened to be “Bring Your Own Cup” day at 7-11 for slurpees and he was gearing up. He found an obscenely over-sized pitcher and smiled. I shook my head and told him that his selection was a stupid choice, because: he couldn’t drink that much slurpee; it was wasteful; and I was trying to help him “not be THAT guy.” He responded with, “Well, Dad, I appreciate your efforts, but I AM that guy…” And he was out the door with his slurpee trough.
Several hours later, walking past the kitchen, I spied the slurpee urn half-filled with melted colored sugar water and felt validated. But, so what? I was right, but I knew I would be right from the start. My son probably knew I was right, too. He didn’t care. It didn’t matter and doesn’t matter. Sometimes, a kid’s gotta do what a kid’s gotta do. No lecture from me, no matter how valid, can override the simple need to be a jackass sometimes. I understand this well, probably too well.
We possess, as human animals, a certain need for self-destruction. We know the right things to do, but sometimes need to do the wrong things. I’m not sure where this need comes from. I suspect it’s just a minor form of rebellion. We spend much of our lives doing what we should do. We punch the clock and drive kids and make snacks and pay bills. Our schedules are full of responsibilities, obligations and chores.
“On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.”
– George Orwell
Once in a while, we need to raise a figurative (usually) middle finger to the world and claim a day for bad choices. We stay up too late, drink too much, eat too much, sing too loud, cuss, dance and laugh. We take instead of give. We are selfish and feel no guilt about this. We earned this selfishness.
The next day, we wake with foggy heads and a clear heart. The itch was scratched. We remind ourselves that we are not simply meal-makers and check-writers. We still have the capacity for irreverence and self-expression and fun. We are whole human beings.
These little revolutions take different shapes, but yield the same spiritual outcome. We return to center. We find our balance. A late night spent laughing with friends is therapy and is as necessary to our well-being as proper sleep and water.
So, I’ll forgive my little slurpee glutton and understand that being “THAT guy” once in a while is right guy to be. In fact, I probably wouldn’t like him as much if he was never “THAT guy.” I’m a sucker for the untidy, imperfect, yet beautiful people which give the world its color. I get it, buddy. I get it…
[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here.