JUNE 27, 2010 9:04PM

Can I see your ID, sir?

Rate: 20 Flag

This guy…

ID 1

-Had one of best dogs he’s ever known.

-Was a year past a four-month grind where: he wrecked his car just barely enough to keep it from running altogether; blew out his ACL in his knee and couldn’t afford reconstruction or work for a month, living off the funds earmarked for auto repair; watched his job disappear two weeks after returning to work; saw his live-in girlfriend of a year leave. Before the spring came, he was living in an apartment with no utilities, spending what few funds he had on his dog’s food and climbing out of debt.

-Was hooked on biking for the first time since childhood, thanks to self-prescribed rehab.

-Was in a tumultuous and ultimately doomed relationship with someone from an “upper” social strata.

-Identified greatly with the African-American culture predominant in the neighborhood of his childhood.

-Was tending bar but disgusted by drunks, preferring pot to alcohol. He also smoked Marlboro Lights and drank Diet Coke as a matter of existence.

-Didn’t understand the big deal about Frank Sinatra.

-Regarded his re-issue 1957 Fender Telecaster as his most prized possession. 

-Loved writing songs and looked forward to putting another band together.

-Liked Southern California and considered relocation there.

-Was skeptical of Bill Clinton and his commitment to an American underclass he seemed to only exploit.


This guy…

 ID 2

 -Kept his dog by his side whenever possible.

-Had decided living solo was vastly underrated.

-Was still biking and had upgraded to a far better ride, something suitable for hitting the trail a minimal three times per week.

-Was dating a wonderful woman he would eventually marry but wasn't aware of it. 

-Was losing favor with American society and exploring Native American cultures with fervor. He felt lost at times and wondered where the future lay.

-Was running the kitchen in an upscale eatery until a disagreement between business partners resulted in the business’ demise. He bounced between a couple of unsatisfying jobs afterward and was also seeking employment with the Parks Service or Forestry.

-Didn’t drink much and still preferred pot. He still used tobacco and was weaning himself from soda.

-Had discovered what the big deal was with the Internet and heard the squawking of his dial-up modem as a universe opening before him. He was trying to resolve his neo-Luddite suspicions with this incredible new tool.

-Had lost his Telecaster in a mishap with an unannounced pay cut and a pawnshop. His habit was thereafter exercised on an acoustic guitar.

-Would take a three-month sabbatical from work to pound out an uneven novel.

-Had lost his fondness for Southern California after visiting Northern California two years beforehand. He was trying to convince his girlfriend to relocate to Sacramento.

-Was certain he couldn’t stand Bill Clinton and felt both Democrats and Republicans were firmly in the grip of corporate control.


This guy…

ID 3

-Had watched his incredible canine friend settle into middle age along with him.

-Was reaching a great living situation with his girlfriend, using both sides of a duplex.

-Watched his bike collect dust as he battled his diminishing lung capacity.

-Was reconciling his love for his girlfriend with the expectations of others around them.

-Had discovered in his explorations of Native American cultures that he would always feel lost until he embraced his nature and origins. It led to his reinvigoration via a musical form he lost touch with when his long-ago jazz collection was diminished through time and wear. It also led to his founding of a cultural organization that was making a lot of local waves and his emergence onto a wider public stage.

-Watched another chef’s slot evaporate due to administrative failures despite favorable reviews on the food. He was re-evaluating a future in the industry.

-Didn’t really drink and had reduced his marijuana consumption due to lung problems. He had dropped his tobacco usage to a pack a month. He was less than a year away from a life-altering diagnosis.

-Didn’t understand what the big deal was with newly emerging “reality TV.” Sinatra was taking on previously unknown hues and relevance.

-Still played guitar at home but had given up the idea of ever performing publicly again since he couldn’t approximate the things he heard and loved most.

-Was writing in his spare time. An old acquaintance was about to recruit his assistance in a journalistic effort that would be politely refused.

-Was still uneasy with aspects of life in the region but thought he could insulate himself from it.

-Was disgusted by Pres. George W. Bush’s regime. All he feared on Sept. 11, 2001 had come to pass.


This guy…

ID 4

-Watched his four-legged companion slow down in old age and felt the same faltering inside himself.

-Carved out his own space under the same roof with another.

-Had his capacity for physical exertion wane then paled when a diagnosis of early onset emphysema from a genetic disorder was made. Doctors were at a loss to explain his relative retention of vigor despite test results that should have spelled greater incapacitation. A hospital stay a few months previous had clarified the futility he saw in the fear of death.

-Grew tired of watching the way relatives treated his relationship, and in particular the condescension from her family, so a ring was presented and date set.

-Was thriving culturally but only locally. He would never be Andrew Carnegie.

-Had come into his own by leaving his old profession behind and moving into media. He worked in both print and broadcast media with acclaimed and awarded results.

-Had given up smoking with little ardor thanks to a terminal disease. Alcohol became his social drug of most frequency.

-Was fond of Sinatra and if Jack Daniels was good enough for Ol’ Blue Eyes, it was good enough for him.

-Was still plucking guitar strings in private and singing only occasionally. The capabilities of his ear increased greatly and made him realize what he missed by not taking music lessons as a young child. He would never be Wes Montgomery.

-Was pulling in journalism awards and was often unsettled by the strangers that knew and praised him. He would never be Capote.

-Secretly fostered dreams of relocation despite advancing years and wondered if matrimonial status would effect that ability.

-Was outraged at what had transpired in the Bush years – in particular the inevitable alteration of New Orleans – and saw his long-held fears for the nation to be manifesting.


This guy…

ID 5 

-Still lamented the death of his canine companion three years previous and still fought back tears when thinking of her. While grateful for the gift of her presence, the void remained.

-Settled into an ideal living situation, something that facilitated everyone’s whims. Duplex: one roof, one bed, two televisions and all the privacy needed for relaxation or work. 

-Realized the stasis of his body’s degradation was in complete thanks to governmental assistance and direly wished for an advance toward that end for everyone in similar need. Another hospital visit didn’t scare him but firmed his resolve not to waste what he was blessed with.

-Was resolved to the realization his wife lived not just in his heart but in his mind.

-Knew he was the strange mixture of social elements that his unique experiences poured into the reservoir of his life. It was the fingerprint of his soul.

-Felt at home with his affirmations as a writer. He was in his element with his fingertips on a keyboard and at work on a trio of books to possibly eclipse his first tentative efforts.

-Couldn’t stand tobacco smoke and its effects. Evening martinis were a fun diversion in moderation and still firmly believed the criminalization of marijuana is one of the great American hypocrisies. 

-Heard Sinatra’s genius.

-Accepted his musical limitations and was at peace with regrets. He found himself pondering an upgrade in equipment again.

-Still felt himself a fish-out-of-water in the Southeast and was in love with the Pacific Northwest, a place with socio/cultural/political sentiments that seemed to mirror his own and even fit his meteorological predilections.

-Was disappointed in the realization of Obama and his seeming capitulation to the forces that tainted Clinton. 

-Eagerly awaits the rest of the arc…

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And beneath it all...

...that horrendous signature.
And I eagerly await it as well. What a wonderful way to share your journey.
Great way of relating your life story. Very clever and unique. I enjoyed this.
Well, there's more than journey. Think of both the long and lower case forms of "ID."

It's all in there.
Wow, what forsight to keep all your old driver's licences. I have one of me skinny. I keep it in the bathroom to remind me if I put down the chips I could be there again...never works.
This is one of the most amazing posts I've seen here in a long time. It's cleverly constructed, to be sure...but it also absolutely taps into some things I have been ruminating about a great deal of late. Which, to put it another way, means it hit me RIGHT where I live. Those IDs...which tell us who we are officially...but so little about who are are...really. And then again...the pictures hint at some interesting secrets, don't they? You just have to know where to look...
Thanks Keka. I find it disappointing that apparently this boasts over 100 views and so few comments.

It's a comment on several things at various levels. There's the most obvious about how we change over the years, physically and otherwise.

It's also about identification, as in what we identify with. There is a repeating pattern in the descriptives beneath the pics. Each one of the points orbits an aspect of "who we are." Some of those change over time, some not so much.

Is that what we are? Are we merely the sum of these things?

Another part is in the word "id." How does it influence our identity? How do we meet it, control it, use it?

Thanks for "getting this."
I love the artistry of the expression here . . . marking time and "identity" simultaneously, and the changes that they bring to each other . . . plus, I felt like I got to know a little more about Kevin Lee, the person.
a really interesting biography. each one of these guys seems like someone worth getting to know.
What a cool way to tell your story. We are close in age - you are my husband's age - and I could really relate to the stages you go through. Losing that first dog you had as a "grown-up" is horrible, isn't it? Six years, and I still miss mine!
I thought after reading this, being 13 years older than you and of many similar opinions, that I will not ever find myself coming full circle back to any particular time in my thinking or beliefs. It seems more so like coming full spiral, getting close to where I've been at times but never touching exactly on the same spot again.
congrats on your brave journey.
i love this!
you should write more of this type of thing
Loved this means of telling your adult story. I can relate to it so much. I remember the story of Lakota in particular.

You now have me thinking about doing one of these myself, however, we have to surrender our old driver's licenses now and I probably threw out the others. A fascinating construct and insight into your life. As you say, we change physically and mentally, and yet many things remain the same.

I think one reason why so few have commented is because it is a rather daunting thought to comment on someone's documented life. Or maybe that is just me.
I really enjoyed how you constructed this... the concerns and musings, the beliefs, the losses and loves at each junction highlight how we change as we grow (older).
Great way to share a life!! Highly rated! Tink Picked as well!!!
There is so much to comment on that I can't even start. So I will pick one thing in this great post to focus on.
I'm glad you finally came around to Frank Sinatra.
Sheer genius. I loved this. BTW, why does Alabama require you to renew your license so often? R
Owl, Walter, mpsyche, Tink- Thanks for the kind words.

Blue- Who said I "grew up?" I know some who would dispute that pronouncement.

also- I like "coming full spiral."

Kathy- I was already 30 in that first pic but I guess that is a babe compared to latter perspective.

emma- We used to be required to surrender previous licenses but no more.

Launie- I used to feel Sinatra was overrated and Nat Cole was King of the Crooners. Now, I hear a worldliness (weariness?) in Sinatra's voice that I think it takes some years to appreciate.

Trudge- We have to renew our licenses every four years. Is that not the standard in your state? I'm not uncomfortable with it and don't know many who are. There are some older folks I see driving here who need the testing more frequently.
Hey you look like Brad Pit in the first one! I liked the wife, dog and jazz parts. Where were you chef?
You're very gifted. Like wine - getting better with age!
“The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living”

by Karl W. Palachuk

Article 2003010002

I’m sure you’ve read this quote before: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates said that at his trial for heresy. He was on trial for encouraging his students to challenge the accepted beliefs of the time and think for themselves. The sentence was death but Socrates had the option of suggesting an alternative punishment. He could have chosen life in prison or exile, and would likely have avoided death.

But Socrates believed that these alternatives would rob him of the only thing that made life useful: Examining the world around him and discussing how to make the world a better place. Without his “examined life” there was no point in living.

I borrowed the above from Mr. Palachuk because he stated this better than I would be able to but, nonetheless, it describes for me what you've succeeded in doing with this post.

As I said once before, I always learn something from reading your work and, as always, I'm very grateful.

I enjoyed reading your post. great way to present one's journey. I especially liked when you seemed to speak to you giving up desire in spots. For me, and it seemed like for you, that when I'm free of all desire to become, there is a state of being whose action is totally different. It does not think in terms of fulfillment. Its very being is its fulfillment.
chacha- Then I pity Mr. Pitt.

ainthatamerica- Wow, that's a pretty heady compliment. I'm the one that should be grateful.

Lane- Funny you should say that. In the first installment, I mentioned the former girlfriend of "higher" social origins. When she finally broke things off with me, her stated reason was that I was "too content" with myself. I was puzzled at first and asked her "Isn't that supposed to be the point of life, to reach a state of contentment?" I realized later she meant I wasn't into the unquenchable materialism her upper middle class life taught her was the measure of "adulthood." I wouldn't polish her princess crown for her.

kateasley- thanks.