School Boy Heart
I’M A FAN OF JIMMY BUFFETT. I’m not a fan to the point of calling myself a “Parrothead” which is similar to avid fans of the Grateful Dead calling themselves “Deadheads.” No, I’m not a “Parrothead.” I don’t hitchhike around the country to attend Buffett concerts and I don’t have any Buffett tattoos. I can’t afford the ticket prices and I’m too old to start siring kids named “Cheeseburger” or “Margaritaville.”
I guess I’m more of a “Parakeet” than a “Parrothead.”
I just like his music and I admire him because as a man of 70 he can still take his show on tour without the need for a fulltime medical staff.
This morning I was listening to one of my favorite Buffett tunes in the car – “School Boy Heart.” The song is about how many different facets a person can have to their life. There is one line that goes, “…A Swiss Army Knife, That’s my life…”
Even though I’ve listened to this number a thousand times that particular line resonated with me at that moment. It made me stop and think – “Yeah, that really describes my life.” For 70 years I have had to shift gears and retool my life’s machine as I moved along. I have changed careers, hopes, dreams, and priorities more often than I had planned or expected.
With each change, just like a Swiss Army Knife, I had to open up a different blade to do the task at hand.
As a young child I was painfully shy. Even the thought of having to get up in front of the class would make me shake like a leaf. So, how in the heck did I end up getting into a spotlight in front of audiences in clubs and theaters? Why? Because doing so got me what I wanted and needed at that time in my life.
There were times when I needed to learn to deal with people who tried to intimidate and bully me for their inadequacy problems. Another tool in my personal Swiss Army Knife allowed me to counter such people both verbally and, when needed, physically. I learned to fight extremely dirty in my defense.
As I grew I passed through a time of leg braces and plaster casts and I learned to use the knife blade of confidence in myself. I became my own biggest fan. I thought I could do almost anything I set my mind to – almost anything.
I learned very quickly that, no matter how much I tried, there were somethings I’d never be able to do. I cannot play the piano. I cannot juggle, and I cannot dance without everyone thinking that I’m having a seizure.
Taking a closer look at my life as a Swiss Army Knife I see it as one of the bigger and expensive models. The kind of knife you can only buy from some of those Survivalist websites or in stores like Brookstone that cater to people with too much money.
So, here I am now. Some of my knife blades are a bit rusty and others are stuck and don’t open easily any more, but the blades I really need still work fine.
I think I’ll go turn on some Jimmy Buffett and imagine the old boy mixing up a nice cold drink for us Parakeets.