I am a waste. I mean a drunken waste. I mean, drunk on the illusions of grandeur for the past 30 years. As it was brought to my attention that in a few weeks I will be reaching the next milestone in my journey towards death, the big 30. In some way I should be celebrating, seeing that I never expected to make it past age 25- considering my torrid love affairs with substance, alcohol, cigarette, and coffee abuse. So here I am, left to reflect on what I once thought was “living”. Was it worth it?
You’re damn right it was. I have been on this earth for nearly 30 years now and have had the opportunity to experience and accomplish more than most men my age- I just did it in an unconventional manner. But don’t you see?? That’s just it! I don’t follow social norms, I never have! Some call it being reckless. Some say I’m irrational and unmotivated. Well, stick this in your pipe and smoke it! In my moments of reflection, I began to remember all the events that led me here and the stories that resulted.
I’ve played basketball, baseball, volleyball, and football competitively – I’ve written numerous blogs, short stories, and poems – I went to Vegas once for free because my sister won a drunken Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament that resulted in us both being on ESPN. – It also resulted in us getting sloppy on white russians with the band Foreigner (you kids may need to google that reference) – I once created and operated a T-shirt company called Rentees T-shirt and Design with a few close friends that proved to be a successful venture. – I went to culinary school – I sold real estate, and did it successfully – I became an executive chef, both in the U.S. and over seas – I randomly loaded up my car and moved to Georgia for two years. (I’m from Pittsburgh) – I married a foreign girl – I randomly moved to South Africa and lived in a thatched roof hut on the beach in a small surfing community – I was an executive chef during the World Cup in South Africa – I have worked a lot of jobs, anything from food service to chemical production to selling online beauty products. – I can speak enough Italian, Spanish, and Afrikaans to be dangerous – I can greet a guest in over nine different recognized languages, including a few African tribal languages that use “clicks” – I learned to play the guitar, and was in a few bands growing up – I once talked a Mexican man on the Vegas strip in to selling me the shirt off his back…in Spanish – I am known to be charismatic, extremely romantic, and intelligent – I have begun to learn the art of Molecular Gastronomy – I have picketed in front of the White House on numerous occasions – I have painted canvas using oils, acrylics, and watercolors well enough to hang on a wall. haha – I made my own wine, bottled it, and drank it over a series of years. – I have created special menu items that are now staples in restaurants past – I have laid on the grave of a Confederate soldier while drunk on brandy and tried to feel his pain (I also tried this with golf great Bobby Jones, but my game never got better) – I bought a regal once – I hand-fed a cheetah – I rode an ostrich like a bull, got thrown off, climbed back on only to be thrown off again – I ate snails and drank wine till the early morning on the streets of Oudtshoorn. I hung out, drank, and played bongo drums with the cast of Blue Crush (yeah I wasn’t too impressed either) – I have loved, and will continue to love unconditionally.
Of course there are more, some of which I can’t legally publicize. And I’m not gloating, but in those moments when you feel you should be further in life than where you are, maybe we all should take a step back and see how far we’ve actually come. I’ve got a lot more fight in me. My expectations are high for these next 30 years.
A big “THANK YOU” to all of you who have motivated, supported, and humored me all these years- and to those who continue to instigate my antics.