By: Pete Johnson
I think the greatest compliment you can get is that you brought joy into this world. I have a weekly pancake date with my niece and nephew, and it is the best. We use the word "goof" a lot. Being alive and in this world and alive is the best, funniest thing. I know this because on Tuesdays before I go to work there is a little human that tries her best to put french toast into my ear.
There will probably be a lot of moments in my lifetime that will be remembered as historic. I was alive and conscious when Obama get elected, and as much as I know that was a special and momentous occasion for our country, I, personally, was busy with other things. There was this guy Jerry who was a regular at the bar I worked at, and even though his life was a tragic mess I was not about to let him win at trivia. We all have our stupid things we decide to be too worried about, and that was mine that night.
I'm not a big boxing guy, but a while ago I read this book by Norman Mailer called The Fight, which is about that time Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman in Zaire. I liked it a lot because it was a good example of a person being there for a historic moment and also being too cool to give a fuck about it. It comforts me to think that for every historic moment there were millions of people not getting particularly swept up in the moment's significance, and instead just thinking about what to make for dinner that night. Then this morning I heard that Ali died, so I went ahead and spent the next two hours of my life watching the Ali documentary and crying my eyes out.
If you watch a balloon that got away from a child at a birthday party long enough it will become so small in the great big blue sky that it disappears. It is still there, being a floating balloon, but eventually it gets so small you can't see it. I once watched a balloon float up from the park across the street from my apartment, and it turned into a tiny dot, but I couldn't stop looking at until it was just gone.
How can you be the best person in the world at something and also know it and also be someone your family remembers as fun? Sad things don't make me cry. The things that show you how astounding life is tend to get to me. Like that one clip of the cast of The Lion King bursting into song on an airplane, or when a puppy tries to make it but then it can't actually make it.
I'm never in my entire life going to do anything momentous. I can maybe remind the people in my life that even though we're all sad and lost and fatal and alone, we might as well have some yuks. I'm never going to knock down a huge guy named Sonny Liston. But good God, being there for your family, and being remembered as a dope, goofy dude? I can not think of anything more beautiful.