Tony’s The Man – Sept. 6, 2021

You’re a Wizard, Harry

When the Great Awakening of Societal Selfishness began in 2020, Wifey-Poo, Boy The Younger and I began reading the Harry Potter books out loud to help pass quarantine time in a way that didn’t involve baking bread or killing each other. It took more than a year, but we finished the series this spring. It’s bittersweet when something like that ends. I had to put away the voices I’d developed for reading lines from, among others, Snape, Mad Eye Moody and Colin Creevey. I never landed on a good Dumbledore and had about 50 versions of Voldemort, none of which ever felt right.

Along the way, we would watch the movie of the book we had just completed, but at some point, we fell behind. Tonight, we watched The Half Blood Price. I know I have a bias toward books, but my God the movies aren’t good. If you tried to get into the world of Harry Potter just from the movies, you miss so much of the good. The films seem to act as Cliffs Notes for the series in which the scriptwriters said, “Oh, for Christ’s sake, they’ve read the damn book! It’ll make sense!” Anyone agree? Disagree?

Talking to Tony

I don’t have many friends in the world, and if you take Tony out of the equation, you can drop the “m” in the qualifier, if you’re taking a realistic look at the definition of “friends.” I’m not sure exactly why this is. I had some really bad stuff happen to me when I was in the sixth grade that shattered my trust in people, and for some reason, it just hasn’t clicked with me and anyone else since the day I left for college back in 1992 and said goodbye to my high school friends. There have been fits and starts to friendships along my adult journey, but nothing has stuck.

Tony and I reconnected just more than two years ago, and we both were in bad, bad places. In the 25 months that have followed, we’ve spent hours on the phone — because we’re old-school like that — downloading the events of our lives as we’ve worked to become better men, better dads, better people overall.

Today, I took a break from New Home setup and sat on the deck to talk with Tony. We spoke for just more than an hour, which is just more than an hour more than I like to talk on the phone to anyone else but Tony. He had so many good things to talk about. He has made some amazing, amazing progress in the past month. We took a moment to sit back and reflect on just how far each of us has come since we got back in touch with each other in August 2019. I think reflection times are necessary when you’re on a long journey. You might not be where you want to be, but when you pause and look back, you can see just how far you’ve come.

The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day

‘I subscribe to the narrative that drugs and alcohol aren’t the problem. It’s really a symptom of the problem. Just because a person puts down their drug of choice, it doesn’t mean all their character defects go away, their skewed moral compass automatically goes back to the balance line. That requires a lot of work, a lot of self-reflection, and the road to recovery is messy. It’s sloppy. People relapse.’

Michael K. Williams, who played ‘Omar Little’ in ‘The Wire’

Williams was found dead over the weekend from a suspected drug overdose. I have a tendency to get really attached to TV or movie characters with depth. Omar Little, who played a gangster with a penchant for robbing drug dealers, was such a character. I was captivated by his complexities and moral code. The actor who portrayed him was equally complex. If only our nation had a better sense of what drug and alcohol addiction truly is back in the 1980s, we might be in a better place. #RIP

Smart Home of the Future

I remember going to Disney World and Epcot as a little boy and being promised by automatons that the future was going to be filled with innovations to make life easier. And robot dogs. I was the weird kid more captivated by the Carousel of Progress than Space Mountain. Today, I installed a smart lock on our front door. This followed linking a smart plug with a lamp in our family room. I have plans for smart bulbs, a smart doorbell and a variety of other such conveniences — though no plans for a robot dog. It is entirely unnecessary but equally cool to be able to sit on the couch and unlock the door for someone to come in while illuminating their entrance and turning on music to make them feel like a WWE wrestler coming into the arena for Wrestlemania. #LifeGoals

Today’s Reasons to Keep Living

  1. Automation
  2. Imagination
  3. ‘You come at the king, you best not miss.’

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