From Magic City Morning Star

Doug Wrenn
How To Attract More Company At Home.....Or Not!
By Doug Wrenn
May 15, 2011 - 4:23:01 AM

It seems that I have been down this road, or a similar one, before, but in my last residential move, I was bemoaning the fact that I had one less bedroom than which I originally sought. I'm not really sure why. I'm the one who pays the bills around here, yet I admittedly wanted the extra bedroom for when company was visiting from out of town and wished to stay the night. Thus far, it hasn't been a problem. Gee, go figure!

Of course, having additional storage space (Kind of like having a two car garage when you only have one car - and still have to park it outside!) would have been nice, but accommodating company that hardly ever comes, let alone ever stays over, really was my main objective.

A buddy of mine who liked to hoist a few (And sometimes, more than a few!) cold ones when he was between wives would often come over for a visit and later require the need to stay the night. Back then, we did have a spare bedroom, which eventually almost seemed specifically designated for him. (It's not like anybody else really ever used it!) He thought so too, and in time, affectionately dubbed that room, "Detox." Well, at least somebody was using it!

That same friend, who always had as much a keen eye for reading between the lines as he did a caustic wit for expressing what he found between them (Perhaps now you're getting a bird's eye view of why we hit it off so well as friends!), sagely and wryly advised me not to lose any sleep over the lack of the extra bedroom. That's easy for him to say (now). He has since remarried and relocated to another state since his "Detox" days of well-hydrated bachelorhood! As for the current recipient of his now second foray into matrimony, he claims that he has yet to show her what he used to sarcastically refer to as "The Horror"!

My friend reminded me of a former house he owned, a charming little seasonal cottage renovated to year round use, just a scant rock's throw from a private beach. The down side of his abode however, was that his yard was so small that it would make the average postage stamp seem vast. He conceded to me that this always bothered him because he so liked to frequently entertain, especially in the summer, and his yard was too small to hold a respectable volleyball game. He then added that it only occurred to him some years later that none of his guests really ever wanted to play volleyball anyway. Drawing from this line of logic, he then concluded that I would be better off putting the trivial worry of the lack of an extra bedroom out of my mind once and for all. Shortly thereafter, a little light (albeit a flickering one) suddenly illuminated the top of my head, and I could see that he was right. But while that light was still on (and flickering), it also opened my eyes even further.

Generally speaking, people are grossly overrated. Even Mark Twain once quipped that entry to Heaven was based on grace and not merit, or else, our dogs would go in instead of us! I have never owned a pool or a boat, but I have been in other people's pools and on other people's boats. And I remember always being quite nice to them, and frankly, some of them really weren't even worth it!

I have had influential jobs, and I have owned trucks, both vans and pick-ups. Actually, both makes of vehicles were "pick-ups," because once the word got out that I owned them, they had the same effect as a (good) "pick-up" line in a bar (especially near last call)! I soon acquired more friends than I could count, and some of them I kind of wished, like an undersized fish of the wrong sex and out of season, I could throw back in after catching! The down side with owning a truck is that back breaking labor is usually also involved, besides supplying the vehicle (and the gas). Seldom if ever, did the borrower want just the truck...oh no, he wanted the semi-free labor that drove it there, too. I say "semi-free" because in some instances I was repaid, sort of. In those days I consumed more pizza and beer than all the bowling leagues in the country combined. Don't get me wrong, I like pizza and beer. But I like money and gasoline, too, and with more of both, I can drive somewhere else and drink better beer and eat more pizza!

Life lessons have a funny way of accumulating in the middle aged years, kind of like gravity, blubber, less hair in some of the places where you used to have it, more hair where you don't want it, and all of it - gray! But reflection on those mistakes has taught me to appreciate not only what I now have, but also what I now don't have.

For example, I now no longer have an influential job, a truck, a bedroom to spare, and barely enough space to even plan a volleyball game, let alone play one. And I eat less free pizza and drink less free beer now (to the extent that either of them were really ever "free")! But I also don't have the additional heartburn from both! Oh yeah, and my back doesn't hurt any more unless I hurt it doing something (dumb or the wrong way) for me!

What I do have now is more time, less aggravation, less rude phone calls at late hours of the night after I'm half asleep in bed, fewer fair weather friends to be nice to and pretend I like, and last but not least, peace, glorious, blissful peace, both of mind, and at home.

My life, like pretty much everyone else's lives, has had its share of major disasters. A couple years ago, I had a virtual perfect storm of them, and all right around the same time. For that matter, I am juggling a couple more right now. But one thing life's trials and tribulations has taught me repeatedly, and often unexpectedly, is that friendship, like character, as the wise adage tells us, isn't made by crisis, but rather, defined by it. In some of my darkest times, some of my closest "friends" were no where to be found, and yet people who hardly knew me, came forward out of the blue, stepped up, and went out of their way to lend help and support without ever even being asked. Life has taught me the hard way, and repeatedly, what is truly important in our all too fleeting time on earth. And after a long, bumpy road, I think I finally get it now.

Like that damn sign I used to contently hang on my front door, which I sadly somehow lost in my last move, and which succinctly read, "Go Away!"

Oh, yeah, did I mention peace?

Doug Wrenn

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