As a jackass, I’ve no right to use Chinese ideograms. They should be reserved for Zen practitioners, restaurants serving fried rice and college students searching for just the right tattoo. Don’t worry. I’m not going to be deep here, although I do wish I had wisdom and depth as an option instead of a promise to avoid them. Sigh.
In recovery, I’ve learned I always get more out of working with others than they get out of me. Part of this, of course, is because of who I am. Although the Chinese Zodiac says I was born in a year of the dog, I believe my symbol should instead be the jackass, reproduced here for any readers needing a tattoo idea for that uninked place on the back of your left wrist. Despite my jackassery, though, when I spend time with newcomers, they seem to benefit and I know I do. One of the insights I’ve been given over the past 10 years is that what flows through me enriches me. When I channel gratitude, I experience gratitude. When I try to pass on what I’ve been given, I get more out of it than the recipient does. How unintuitive.
Tonight, though, I’m getting together with the group of men, all in recovery, who have helped me build and maintain a moral compass, my consiglieri, the small group of advisors who tell me when I’m full of crap (often) and when I’m steering my life in a positive direction. I’d like to say we’re convening to consider my next move in life ora challenge facing one of the other guys. We’re not. It’s my last night in Manchester, and we’re gathering at Gaucho’s, a Brazilian restaurant, to be carnivores, dining on unlimited servings of dead mammals. (Being only 51% male, though, my favorite is Gaucho’s salmon, with a great caper sauce.) By 8:30 or so, I will have ingested the equivalent of five footballs of flesh, laughed a lot and gotten the meat sweats. Just like a real man.
I apologize for such a short column, but I will try to make up for it in two ways. First, here’s a link to the “Chronicle” show from the other night. I haven’t confessed this before, but I didn’t watch the show when it was live, but I did view it this afternoon, when Sean McDonald sent it to me. Sean and Paul, his cameraman and editor, managed to wipe the weirdness off me and actually make me look fairly normal and sane. Excellent job, there, and something I didn’t think could be done.
The second make-up gift is a link to the Chronicle viewers column, which includes links to a representative sample of earlier columns. None of them were hits, or even B-sides, but they do give the flavor of what I do.
Tomorrow, I head back home. This weekend, I’ll publish one of the hardest columns I’ve ever had to write. That’s what’s known as a cliff-hanger. Please stay behind the guardrail as you wait.