Some writing text say you should make sure your opening sentence attracts the readers and ensures they want to continue reading. I’m just going to jump into this, with no plan and with hopes that you, the reader, will get something out of it.
Music has always been and will always be an inspiration to me. At the age of 10 I started playing trumpet, at 12 started guitar and 14 started the drums. When I was 13 my cousin asked me to play in his band. They were all a few years older then me. We tried writing our own stuff. It was a strange mix of Dead Kennedy’s, Danzig and Pantera. We would play; take breaks by skating the mini ramp in the back yard and of course getting into other trouble. Before this time I wanted to play Major League Baseball and was good at school. During a very important time in a young mans life, puberty, I had to go through what most American youth have and will deal: my parents divorce. Soon after their split another complication reared its head. In the winter of 1992 I became very ill. In the local hospital I had surgery to remove excessive fluid from my left sinus. Within 3 days it returned and I was transferred to Children’s Memorial in Chicago. Turns out I had some strange infection on my brain and it needed to be removed. The location of it was just behind my left eye and the swelling was so severe my eye was swollen open and the eyeball was literally popping out. Anyone that has ever been around someone with an infection knows they have extreme fevers and become very delusional. That was me, 13 years old in a state of utter confusion and extreme illness. Good news is the infection was removed and I recovered. Two years later the infection returned to my sinus and they opted to remove the sinus. For those that know me and have met me in person, if you notice the scar that spans from left to right, now you know why.
Why talk about this on a Firefighting blog? After my surgery, even at 14 years old, I realized I had to make my own way. No one was gonna give me anything, I had to take it. Grab my MP3 player and you will find nothing but Hardcore and Punk. Never will I change who I am, just how I get things done. It’s all in the attitude. The music I listen to tells it straight, how it is. Never could I get into alternative music, it was too abstract. Hardcore, most of what I listen to is positive, talks about being proud of yourself, working hard and staying true. So much of the message is really what the Fire Service is and should be about. The following is a perfect example. This is My Life, My Way by NYHC Legends Agnostic Front:
If I die before I wake, if I make it to another day
This is my life, it’s my destiny – so I will do it my way!
If I fail or I succeed, if I make it through another day
It’s my life, it’s my destiny – so I will do it my way!
I’ve learned the hard way
In this life, nothing came easy to me
And never will I ever be fake, never will I follow
That’s just my personality
Can’t look ahead without looking back
All the hard times gave me strength
I chose to follow my own path – my life my way!
I found a place where I can be
You can say it’s destiny!
Either way I know it’s where I’m supposed to be
This one’s for the rebels!
We came up the hard way
That was our life, that was our reality
Never did we give up faith, some lead and others follow
With us there’s only one way to be
We weathere every single attack
And fought to keep my on the map
Say what you want but the proof is there to see
- my life my way!
We helped unite never turned our backs
We stayed the course never fell off track
Or sold out for some bullshit industry
I’ve always been a D.I.Y. type of person, meaning do it yourself. When I was in a band, we recorded and sold our own music. We didn’t wait for a record deal. When no record deal came, I started my own label. We learned to silk screen and made our own shirts and when the Internet came around we started our own website. If a booking agent wouldn’t support us we booked our own shows. Lucky for us places like Fireside Bowl and UIC in Chicago allowed us to play and do what we loved, playing our music for true fans.
For me another way to make sure I stay true and always make progress is living Straight Edge. Straight Edge means no drugs, no alcohol, no smoking and no chasing loose women! I live a poison free life and can keep clarity of mind at all times. Life is too short to waste time drunk, high and destroying my body.
The idea for this post came to me tonight while I was out for a run. The music in my ears, no one on the streets and when the moonlight was just right my running partner would appear. Always just ahead of me, I push harder to catch my shadow partner, never able to catch him. My run also brought me to my backyard, which is next to the cemetery. Everyday I am reminded of how short my time on this planet is and how much I still want to do and see. I may never accomplish it all but at least I know I gave it my all. No time can be wasted waiting for someone else to do things for me, I must control myself.
As I finished my run I walked down the main drive that goes past my house. I stopped and starred at my house, the moon lighting up the backyard and blasted My Life, My Way. Standing there I reflected on where I came from and where I’m going. Their was always this strange feeling in me that I was meant for something, something bigger then myself. At 14 years old I had the same feeling except I didn’t know where I was meant to be. Now at 33 I do. I will never back down, I will always fight, and I will always have my brothers back. My life was meant to be dedicated to the Fire Service. I know this to be true.
Once is a while take the time to stop and Dance in the Moonlight.