I was just recently diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. More specifically full-blown Tourette Syndrome. The full-blown part (which sounds decidedly un-clinical to me) means that ADHD and OCD are along for the ride as well. According to the neurologist, I’m the oldest undiagnosed case he’s ever seen or heard of.
To be clear, I don’t randomly bust out with cuss-words…well, not without meaning to anyhow. That’s actually a disorder called coprolalia. My deal is physical and auditory ticks, as well as significant obsessive-compulsive behavior…and of course the ADHD thing.
The thing is, I’ve wrestled with this my entire life. I’ve always known there was something different about how my brain works and why I act the way I do, but I could never explain it…could never really put it into words what I was feeling/experiencing other than I’m struggling. Yet, in my 39 years on the planet, I’ve made my way.
I’m not going to lie, hearing the words come out of the Doc’s mouth was a bit like a kick in the nuts. It’s heavy shit to suddenly have the answer for the millions of confusing/frustrating/painful times I’ve found myself, head in hands asking…why? But it also explains why I’m as passionate (translated: obsessed) as I am about the outdoors.
So, in the days since, I’ve made a decision. My past is what it is and I’m proud and blessed to be where I am now and have the beautiful wife and kids I do. In the end, the only thing that’s changed is that, looking ahead, I now know the biggest challenge I’ll be dealing with.
I’ve got two words for 2012: bring it.
A few classics from back in the day, inspired by music and road trips. And women.
THE AIR ON BOURBON
Her voice was enough to make me
walk in here & I can’t believe
the rose (thorns & all),
her slow anguish in mid-air & the three guys
Sunday suits & that thrumming bass
all in emanation from neon God Damn
what that woman’s doin’ to me.
I stand in the street-brass breeze on the wrong side of town
lifting up-up-up along that shrill trill mid air to drown & man…
that sound squeaks through a mellow lowness—
a low-down that climbs from gutter to kiss soft lips—
a sharp-tongued bird flown
sweet slow wings & my pulse keeps what time it can.
IN BED WITH THE DEVIL
The first time I went I brought a guitar
and an I-don’t-give-a-shit state of mind.
The devil was nothing but the lowest
you could sink to ask a favor of.
I still brought a guitar though.
I still went at midnight.
Sat and played a few chords in the stillness.
When she walked up,
crunching gravel under impossible heels,
she took my guitar in both hands,
frowned and threw it into the darkness of a nearby field.
DRINKING WHISKEY & PLAYING CARDS
IN A JUKE SOUTH OF MEMPHIS
The pot was enough to put
gas in my truck and a meal in my belly—
enough to grab a wink from that fine waitress.
My glass was empty & it was my deal—
five card stud,
I only make it look hard.
I’m a big proponent of supporting organizations that do the good work of helping protect, improve or re-establish our wild places and the wild things that call them home–whether wetlands, watersheds or woods. There are countless national, regional and local organizations with initiatives going on across the country (Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, Shenadoah Riverkeeper, No Pebble Mine), as well as in places not far beyond our borders. April Vokey and her cohort up in British Columbia are re-launching one such organization.
Flies for Fins is a charitable organization whose primary mission is to promote and raise funding for specific projects dedicated to the conservation of various distressed B.C. fisheries. The group helps raise money through the donation and sale of flies and other fishing gear, as well as the purchase of items from their online store (which is still in-progress).
Their current project is the preservation and improvement of steelhead spawning grounds in the Thompson River and it’s numerous tributaries. The river is suffering extremely low numbers of returning chrome (from roughly 3,500 fish in 1985 to 2010 estimates that barely reach 500).
So, if you’ve got some flies already tied up, or think you might want to knock out a special batch for a good cause, get in touch with April and the team through their website: www.flies4fins.com or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Whether it’s their initiative, those I mentioned above, or any others fighting the good fight for our fish, game and open spaces, in the end, it doesn’t take much from us to make a big difference. Do what you can.