That day will arrive before you know or want it

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, September 5, 2018

By Michael Cole


This editorial started as something completely different.

Initially, the topic was political alliances, political parties, and friends in elections.

But like any middle-aged man, I am stuck in the songs that I listen to while I write. I do add Ice Cube and Eminem when they belt out a new song (after all, I Rep that West).

But, my playlist is usually the same, Billy Joel, The Beatles, Tupac, Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney, and others. The songs vary a little. I have playlists for my moods.

I stick with what works.

Today, however, I was in a bit of a hurry and just hit all songs and shuffle.

It’s incredible how a song can play a bar or two, and suddenly you find your life catapulted back to when a song was your anthem.

You think about your life back then.

Friends, hopes, dreams, frustrations. They all come back.

Some are good, some are bad.

All will make you think.

So today I found myself listening to Billy Joel’s Say Goodbye to Hollywood. If you have never heard of it, I would suggest you do. However, only if you want to be lost in let’s remember.

The line, “Say a word out of line, and you find That the friends you had are gone Forever, forever.”

That summed up my thoughts on political friendships. And in a sense all associations.

Watch the news. See how fast you turn against political figures over a statement or two.

Look at your social media. How many of you have unfriended longtime friends because of a political difference? The last two years have seen me lose friends over Trump, Conservatism, Liberalism; you name it.

I cannot think of the number of friendships that took a knee when Kaepernick did.

Or how many long-term relationships couldn’t survive making America great again.

I was down the rabbit hole without a watch or a compass.

Now Billy Joel was singing Keeping the Faith.

Not to take something from the 13th Warrior, but I could see the life I had lived backed to the beginning of my life. Schools. Friends, girlfriends (and a lack thereof). I was looking at every misstep that I had made in my life and realized that there friends that had been major players in my life. Many of them had their series of hellos and goodbyes; but most of all, the faces that are in and out of your life.

There were many that I was and still am bitter about in retrospect. Betrayals that were intentional and some that were not. One of my most significant faults is I have a photographic memory. I remember events in living color. Sights, scents, emotions.

Because of that, I have a person that crossed me in Mrs. Leifestie’s First Grade class that I still hate. That was in the middle of Reagan’s first term.

But on the other hand, I have friends that at the right time said hello or smiled and even if there were only one or two interactions in my entire life and I will always love them with all my heart.

It is incredible that when we reach an ending point in our life, we look back on all these Distractions (cue the Paul McCartney song).

I know that this has been long-winded, but I am coming to a point.

Life is fleeting. You look down, and you are in Mrs. Wernig’s Government class learning about how the US Government works, then before you know it, you are running for a spot in that government.

But friends and memories are something you should always cherish.

There will come a time when you will never be able to talk to that person again. Friendships end because of the circumstances. Some friendships are impossible because life robs them of us.

Time is a heartless taskmaster. And unforgiving.

I have a friend that took his own life. In high school, we had a few classes. He was one of the ones that I did not interact with a lot. But we were always friendly.

There were times that we exchanged Facebook messages, he was interested in turning a few of my poems into rock songs because he could see them as rock ballads.

Then there were a couple of messages that he sent me that, because I was in the middle of campaigning, I never answered. To me, that will always be a regret.

We all have them. Times we cowered when we should have been strong. Times that we yelled when we should have listened. Times when we hardened our heart when we should have rejoiced.

My father died while we were still estranged. It was foolish pride on both sides, but now every time I hear the strings of “My Father’s Eyes” by Eric Clapton; or Mike and the Mechanics with “The Living Years.” I am in tears by the second chorus.

There are no “do-overs” in life. Missed friends when they are gone, are gone. Hug them while you can, remind them that they are essential to you.

That day that you can never talk to them again will arrive before you know it.

The final point for this long-winded diatribe is to cherish the moments. Accept that tears will fall, that you will laugh; that people will enter and exit your life.

I think that Billy Joel should have the Famous Last Words on this one,

“You can get just so much from a good thing you can linger too long In your dreams. Say goodbye to the
Oldies but goodies cause the good ole days weren’t always good..

And tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”