Monday, May 28, 2007

Have I Lost My Dream?

I was sitting in my heavily congested library/computer room, which I call the Orbiting Command Ship Central (known to my friends and family as the OCSC) one day, talking to a friend of mine. He teaches higher math over at REL High School, something that is a mystery to me and I hold him in high regard. I call him Ike, but his given name is Jared Eikhoff. He looks young to me, but I guess his students call him, Mr. Eikhoff.

Ike is a deep thinker and when I say deep, I’m talking Mariana Trench deep. Mr. Eikhoff treasures knowledge over material accumulation. I can’t help but think he would make a terrific Zen Buddhist monk warrior because of his minimalist philosophies. However, he’s not the warrior type at all as far as I can tell and is always pondering complicated subjects most guys his age haven’t discovered.

“Gazing through the window at the world outside
Wondering will mother earth survive
Hoping that mankind will stop abusing her sometime”

Ike occasionally drops by and graces me with his presence. I always feed him of course, just as I would any other monk, but that’s not why he comes by, I’m sure. He wants to discuss ideas and philosophies and pick my weathered brain and to be sure, he picks it. I’ve watched this fellow since his middle school days and he is one of my favorites. He’s a long time running buddy of my son, Sgt. Nick.

I see so much promise and potential in Ike (and in the young people I know through my children) and call it sanctimonious if you will; I want to impart traditional conventions to him. My usual modus operandi is to challenge their line of reasoning and make them defend it. Ike inhales knowledge at an astounding rate, always has, but as I’ve told him many times, it’s not the acquiring of knowledge that makes a person a great thinker; it’s the sorting and sifting - and resifting of knowledge that determines how well you think.

I worry that Ike dwells too much on things he can’t change. I worry that he ponders stuff better left to old codgers, like myself.

Ike visits me in the OCSC and we usually talk for a few hours before he is satiated. Many young deep thinkers, like Ike, in their search for knowledge, end up turning to the gods of the cosmos (the Beatles), or mind-expanding drugs (Timothy Leary) to further their enlightenment and in the end, they realize conventional wisdom was in front of them all.

“After all there's only just the two of us
And here we are still fighting for our lives
Watching all of history repeat itself
Time after time”

Ike teaches me also; it’s not a one-way exchange.

One evening, the one I mentioned in the first paragraph, Ike posed me a conundrum. I had been busy challenging him to forget about the destruction of the world, rampant consumerism and Capitalism unchecked and to go out and enjoy his young life and he looked me in the eye and said, “Well, what exactly do you do for to rid yourself of your inner demons?” That’s not his exact words, but close enough.

Why…I had an answer; I always have an answer, but the truth was, I didn’t have an answer. I still don’t have an answer.

“I watch the sun go down like everyone of us. I'm hoping that the dawn will bring a sign
A better place for those who will come after us ...This time”

“All you do is work and study. When do you play? Where’s the balance in your life?” he said.

So…the teacher of the student/monk/teacher became the student. It’s the full circle thingy or deja vu all over again, whichever suites you best. Jared Eikhoff gives me hope in the future. My parent’s generation worried about my generation and I’m sure they thought we would fail miserably. It’s time for me to rediscover my dream and see the world through the eyes of a young man again. Life does have a bright future after all.

“Today, I'm just a dreamer, who dreams of better days”

* Dreamer by Ozzy Osbourne

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