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Readers Blog: Dobie Maxwell's 'Dented Can' Diary

Cruise Ship Christmas

Saturday December 25th, 2010 - Somewhere At Sea

   Christmas Day. Off. It’s always a day off, just a matter of where I spend it. I don’t think I’ve ever had a gig on Christmas Day, and the more I think about it last night was the very first time I’d ever worked on a Christmas Eve. If I had my way, I’d work every holiday.

   Actually, tonight I did get asked to be part of the ‘Liar’s Club’ panel on the ship. That’s a fun game where four panelists give a definition to an obscure funny sounding word, and the audience has to vote on who’s definition is the right one. They use it as a filler before the bingo, and they get random staffers to participate. I did it a while back and it was fun.

   That’s about as close to a gig as I got, but it was nice to get out and mingle a little. I had all kinds of people who saw my shows tell me how much they enjoyed it and who doesn’t enjoy hearing that over and over again? It made me feel like my life wasn’t a total waste.

   This Christmas experience has been one of my least toxic ever. It doesn’t even feel like it’s Christmas with the sunshine and warm weather, and that’s totally fine with me. I took some time to sit and bake in the sun today and think in detail about every little nugget that happened to float to the top of my brain. Warts and all, I tried to deal with every subject.

   Some things did sting a little, but not nearly as much as they have in the past. I’m trying to distance myself from all that, and it seems to finally be working. Some things I’ll never be able to fix, and that’s just how it is I guess. My siblings have blown me off, and I can’t do anything about it. I’ve said I was sorry many times, and I meant it. What else can I do?

   The situation with Bob and Tom came up too. Apparently, they’re still mad at me for an incident years ago that I still am unsure of why it set them off that much. I tried to make it right there also, but they blew me off as well. After several sincere apologies, I give up.

  A few other situations are just ugly memories. My former business partner’s embezzling stunt just makes me scratch my head at this point. Why would he do that? Why would any person do that? I’m not the only one who’s been ripped off, and the amount wasn’t nearly as high as some others. It was a painful lesson, and I lost someone I thought was a friend.

   As corny as it sounds, I really did try to send love to everyone with whom I’ve ever had any kind of clash, run in or disagreement. That includes my dead father, my mother who’s been out of my life since I was a baby, my siblings, club owners and bookers who’ve not been ethical and anyone else I could think of. It‘s wasn‘t easy, but I tried my very best.

   I just don’t want to keep that rotting energy in my world anymore. I doubt if any of the people I thought of thought of me today, but that’s ok. It wasn’t about them. It was about giving myself a chance to heal and making a clean slate for the new year so I can keep on growing. This has been an amazing year for that, and I want to build on it. I’ll be a dented can for life, but it doesn’t mean I can’t strive to be the best I can. I’ve had enough misery and darkness for this or any other lifetime. I want to end my life on a high note and WIN.  

   What would that entail? In my mind, I would get my own life together so I could have a chance to help others do the same. I would be physically fit and financially rock solid and a social butterfly with all kinds of good people in my circle of contacts. I’d also always be working on improving my craft and involved in exciting and fulfilling creative projects.

   The energy around me would be positive and approachable to others who wanted to get involved and together we’d become greater than the sum of the parts. Sometimes I’ve felt exactly like that, but other times it’s been a total failure and I’ve felt like sucking a bullet.

   The downs are way down, and I’ll admit a lot of it stems from the past. Would it be nice to hear from my sister, brother and half brother? I used to really think so, but now I’m not so sure. The expiration date has passed, and any kind of family bond there may have been is now amputated. If they came back into my life now, I wouldn’t know how to rebuild it.

   It is what it is, and I know I’m not the only one to face this kind of ugliness. That’s why I write about it so freely. Everyone can’t relate to it, and I’m glad - but those who can are right there with me. Hopefully I can encourage some other dented cans to keep slugging.

   I don’t care what anyone says, I still feel like I’m on the wrong planet. This is a blip on the cosmic radar, and soon enough we’ll all pass through. I’ll be damned if I’ll let a small group of halfwits ruin my journey. For every Bob and Tom who hate me I’ve got a whole lot more that think I’m a good person. Those are the ones I need to focus on all the time.

   There are no guarantees there will be a happy ending, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start writing one. This is my prime time to do whatever I’m going to do on this planet and I’ve decided I’m not going to waste my time chasing the approval of those who can’t stand me or don’t see eye to eye with my ideas. I’m going to prune my life’s hedges and move on.

   Out of six BILLION people on the planet and more than three hundred MILLION in the nation I live, how can I have time to worry about anyone who isn’t with me? Piss on them all, I’ve got a life to live. My siblings had their chance. So did Bob and Tom. So did John Yoder. I sweated for that guy over twenty years, and then his clueless kid fires me. Uh uh.

   I don’t accept that kind of treatment, because I don’t give it out. I’m better than that and I’m going to prove it. Shortcuts don’t interest me, I want to work for what I get. It’s what true success is all about. If nothing else, my path in life sure hasn’t been uninteresting.

   If it took venturing out on cruise ships this year to open my eyes, then so be it. It’s been very difficult, but it’s also been rewarding because I know I’ve made progress. Getting to spend Christmas in the sunshine was a nice perk, and I’ve enjoyed every last second of it.

   If I’m lucky enough to be blessed with more Christmases, I want to spend them helping others. I have a friend who plays Santa in hospices, and needs an elf. He said it’s a brutal gig at times, but it cheers people up who really need it and I’m totally in. Life is about the gifts we give that aren’t wrapped, and not just at Christmas. I’m finally starting to learn.

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