Monday, October 24, 2011

The Perfect Storm
To everyone who sent positive messages and comments about my Saturday blog, I appreciate it.  It was a strange weekend and very odd to have it all play out so publicly, but then that is where it all began and the only place for it to finish. And it truly is finished. I am grateful to Jeff for accepting my apology out in the open as he did.  I didn't expect that and it was above and beyond the best outcome I could have imagined.
Some have asked about the origin and timing of my  Epiphany. Since I have no modesty left in this situation, a final statement of honesty seems to be the appropriate epilogue. There were three events that came together on Friday in a way that created the perfect storm of clarity for me.
The day began with a visit to the Los Angeles county jail. I was visiting a friend. Of all my friends he is the least likely person I would ever expect to see behind bars. His journey is a long and complicated saga, too long to go into here. However, it was a complete break down in the American system of Justice in my opinion. Some day the case will be reversed on appeal, but until then my friend is doing tough time.
The Los Angeles Mens Correctional Facility is not a place where even visitors find a lot of dignity or compassion. Just before they cut the phone line connection between us, I said, "Keep your chin up, pal." He replied, "Thanks but we have to look at the floor, it's a punishable offense if you make eye contact with a guard."
Since you can't take anything but your ID with you when you enter the jail, I left my cell phone in the car. I was drained from the experience, and glad there was an email waiting on the Blackberry to distract me. It was from a friend who once again brought up my conflict with Jeff. My gut reaction was predictable. His was a bias opinion from a high profile but completely star struck fan.  It momentarily distracted me from the jail house experience but not in a way that made me feel better. In my mind I started composing a rather unflattering response to my misguided friend.
So the contemplation of these two completely different situations, the jail and email, began to merge in my mind on the drive back home.  I thought of my friend, now in jail, who had never struck back at the people who lied in court, never gave up trying to do the right thing, and even now was holding his head high even as he was forced to stare at the floor.  I began to realize the quality of strength my friend expressed was currently an unused asset in my character. This thought was beginning to temper my response to the email sent by the Dunham fanatic.
In the early afternoon a letter arrived in the mail from my friend and mentor, ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson. In his gracious way he was thanking me for the things I said during the celebration of his career last summer. It was as if a light went on in the room. The tone and style of Jimmy's letter cut through the bull shit. I suddenly saw myself as a total contradiction.  I was praising one ventriloquists while attacking another. And at the same time I was remembering my friend, who is in jail because of what someone said about him.
It was the perfect storm.
The timing of these events could be just a random pattern. That Raven on the telephone pole crowing at me the day my Dad died could be just the migratory pattern of a bird. When I had to reschedule AA Flight 11 out of Boston the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 it could be nothing more than a change of plans. Or each one of these events could be abstract object lessons; sort of like sign posts leading to a better destination.
Anybody can miss a sign once in awhile and get lost for a time; or say there are no signs and where ever they end up, claim it is where they intended to be.  Whether you believe in signs or not,  occasionally things happen that you just can't ignore. If these observables cause you to alter your direction and feel better, then it is its own reward.  For me I will always be looking around to make sure, if there is a sign, I don't miss it. It just seems logical.
As you were,


P. Grecian said...

I believe in signs, Jay. And how lovely that it all came together thanks to a close friend, your dad, and Jimmy Nelson.
There's a kind of purity there.

Bob Conrad said...

I have had a great deal of admiration and respect for both you and Jeff for many years, I have both of you as friends on Facebook,and I am thrilled that you two can call each other friends again. Life is much to short to be angry. You did the right thing.

Tonda said...

Just beautiful and so moving Brother. I love you.

Roomie said...

You never cease to amaze me with the things you do and say and how your life and career have taken you down so many paths....a charmed life with twists and turns (as it should be) but always the gentleman and one who wants "all to be right." The signs are always there for us to see and to react to, or not, but you are one who puts them into play in your life...someday we will know what actually transpired, but in the meantime, you are the man who stepped up and said "I was wrong." Who cannot be proud of that....that's just who you are and we love you for that...
Carry on and thanks for sharing...I am glad to be your friend.