My car, the Joe-mobile, is in this shop right now suffering from a bad fuel pump and an electrical short. Thankfully it’s being fixed. Having to deal with the car dying on me, and the distance to work, has taken a mental toll on me this week. I haven’t been able to sleep much because of having to wake up super early to take the bus to work. Also, on Wednesday I got home from work at just before midnight, only to turn around and have to wake up the next morning at 5am. Suffice to say I’m beat. Thankfully Friday I took the Joe-mobile from the service station I was towed to on Tuesday to my mechanic. The guy at the service station couldn’t find the problem after working on it for two days. My mechanic found the problem in a couple of hours and told me the car will be ready by Saturday morning. I wish I had taken my car straight to my mechanic, I wouldn’t have suffered so much the last few days.
The car dying on me pushed me to a bad place where I was just feeling low. I think it’s being deprived of sleep that took its toll on me the most. Not being able to think straight caused all the little things to go wrong this week. While the little things going wrong isn’t so hard to handle, the accumulation of those small things can be as hard to deal with as one huge problem. I thought about how I felt this week and at times I wanted to call it the worse week ever. But that wouldn’t be accurate. Death made certain weeks in January and March the worst weeks I’ve had to deal with. But the accumulation of things did put this past week up in the top 10 of worst weeks I’ve had. It’s because I just felt that NOTHING was going to go right this week. Perhaps this will mark the end of all this bad shit... for this week anyway.
I’ve been reading the book “The Last Great Fight” by Joe Layden this week. There’s a great quote in it attributed to boxing writer Larry Merchant that I want to pass along to you. But first a little background if you’re not a boxing fan. Mike Tyson was the baddest man on the face of the earth on February 11, 1990. That is until James “Buster” Douglas pulled off what is considered the greatest upset in boxing history by defeating the mighty “Iron” Mike Tyson. It stands as one of the great moments in sport, and a true watershed event in the heavyweight division.
“Buster Douglas was a guy who pulled off the unthinkable, who for once night in his life, for whatever reason, galvanized all his forces to be the best he could possibly be. To realize his fullest potential, he had to endure the death of his mother; he was separated from his wife. And yet he seized an opportunity instead of being intimidated by it and taken down by it. That’s a great story in itself--that a guy had that in him. We all want to believe we have that--whether it’s a B-level writer who writes the masterpiece, or the painter who paints the masterpiece. For one moment in time, his talent and the opportunity and the inspiration... there’s a confluence between all of those things that makes for a mighty moment.”
In sports a moment like that is there for all to see, and that IS the magic of sports. That there can be ONE moment that is the combination of both luck and skill mixed with opportunity and determination. Moments like that stand almost motionless in time even as the world continues unabated. The consequences also do not stand still, they reverberate throughout that person’s life. In the case of Tyson we have seen that February 11, 1990 was the beginning of a more tragic period of his life. For Douglas it was the pinnacle of his boxing career, never to be equaled, never to be repeated. Neither man was ever the same after that fight.
I think we who wish to create art, be it a painting, a photograph, sculpture, or novel hope for a moment where we create a masterpiece. The flip-side of creating a masterpiece is being praised for, and haunted by, it. I think back to a quote my friend and I remind ourselves of all the time... “You can have it all, but you can’t have it all at once.”