Friday, November 17, 2006

John's Wrinkles

When I walked into Nola’s Restaurant on West End Ave. this afternoon, I felt I was meeting my favorite college professor whose classes always max out. Although he talks modestly about being uninteresting, you can almost feel the vibes from his brain as his synapses connect at the speed of light.

Normally, I’d feel intimidated to be around someone who may or may not gladly suffer a fool (ha), but John makes you feel comfortable. He is a husband, father, and blogger. We know him from Salem’s Lots which features take-no-prisoners-when-you-do-or-say-something-stupid posts to affectionate thoughts about his friends and family.

John has been married to Lynn for 29 years. They met when both were volunteers in New York City. They worked in an area of Brooklyn where abject poverty was commonplace. John used to believe that poverty was enabling, but he quickly learned it was all-consuming. It is extremely difficult to work yourself out of a position in life when every thought is about where your next meal is coming from, which bill you can pay. John rhetorically asked, “Would you choose to have electricity one month or to allow your child to stay in college?” His work in New York was both exhilarating and frightening because John was the minority in a dangerous place. He was robbed about 20 times in a five year period and had everything but his clothes stolen from his home. Eventually he and Lynn moved to a relatively safe place, or at least one that wasn’t dangerous.

John loved walking around the city because it has a buzz that you can’t find anywhere else in the United States. Even so, he would love to retire in Taos, New Mexico because he can breathe when he’s there. Plus John likes the people of Taos; he describes them as hippies who found capitalism after figuring out they couldn’t share everything or live forever in a commune. But they still retain their free spirit and love of life.

Although John doesn’t take himself too seriously, his family is serious business. He says he earned every one of his wrinkles when his three children were teenagers at the same time – they managed to wreck a car each. He probably worries about them facing problems on the job like he did. When he was young, he delivered flowers to help pay his way through college. John delivered candelabras for a wedding, and an organist at a church volunteered to help him. The organist kept slipping his hand down a candelabrum until it landed somewhere it didn’t belong. He looked at John and invited him to go to the church basement to see his organ pipes.

John then spoke about his daughter who is in the Peace Corps currently living in Bataan Grandé, Peru. She went to a party, but retired early. The next morning, revelers were still going strong and one leeringly told her he would’ve enjoyed the party more if he had a 24-year old at his side during the night. Although teaching health, hygiene and sex education to high school students who traditionally begin having children at 14-years old is admirable, John is very much looking forward to her return home in 2007.

John laughed and said you realize how dysfunctional you are as a person when you see how screwed up your kids are. He said his all-time favorite Simpson’s episode was when Homer and Marge were walking down the street with Bart, Lisa and Maggie. There was a big banner advertising a Meeting for the Society of Functional Families. The next shot showed one single guy sitting inside picking his nose.

Meanwhile, John will continue writing his blog and reading others, although it gets more difficult all the time. He proposes a moratorium on blogging; people should have to wait to start one until someone else quits because the number of new blogs that are funny and insightful are so numerous that he’s running out of time to read them all.

John, Ivy and I were amazed at the friendships gained through the blogging community. We come together to play, to eat, to laugh, and to grieve. And we all want the same thing – we want to live full, happy lives and when we shuffle off this mortal coil, we want to be remembered with numerous posts by our fellow bloggers.

Edit: I originally said it took John 16 years to get through college... I figured he was one of those perpetual students or something. His correction is in the comment below. It was so kindly written that I just know he isn't "irascible" like someone once described him.


Blogger newscoma said...

That picture of John is awesome.
And he is wonderful.

8:24 PM  
Blogger John H said...

You are far too kind. I would like to state, however, that it didn't really take me 16 years to graduate just seemed that way because I literally spent 16 years at Lipscomb (1st thru senior in college).

9:20 PM  
Blogger Chip said...

At the rate I'm going it will take me 16 years to get through. LOL Thanks for sharing john.

11:52 AM  
Blogger theogeo said...

Aw, this is really nice.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a nice post. But what does it say about how John dressed back in the day that the folks who robbed his apartment never took his clothes? ;)

12:33 AM  

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