A Dented Can Quirk
Monday June 27th, 2011 - Libertyville, IL
The parade of people who have come to see me in the hospital has been overwhelming. I so appreciate every one, but hospitals are not the place for a quality visit. Every time my most embarrassing procedure has to be done, that’s exactly when someone will saunter in my room and ask “How ya feelin’?” Well, with gangrene on my groin, I’ve felt better.
I know everyone means well, and the effort of people tracking me down is nothing short of miraculous. If nothing else, I do have friends with a Jim Rockford private investigating gene. For everyone that tracked me down I felt I owed them $200 a day - plus expenses.
I could list the people who came, but they know who they are. It was extremely humane of all of them to be concerned enough to even care at all, and I appreciate it. For all those who showed up in person, there were probably ten more that called and I lost count of all the Facebook messages I received. I’m touched, flattered, grateful but uncomfortable too.
It’s really hard for me to accept love and kindness. That’s a dented can thing, and I need to get over it because there are good people in the world and I’m seeing it first hand in the ones who have shown so much care and concern while I’m up here in my darkest hour.
I’m not going to lie though, it’s tough for me to accept. I’ll be the first one to jump start someone’s car at 4am or do a favor for a virtual stranger, but when it comes to me getting helped or shown love in return I don’t know how to just shut my mouth and let it happen.
I’m sure it stems from childhood, and that probably lead to all the times I’ve gotten my ass burnt to a crisp in adulthood too. I know how to react when someone embezzles all of my money or when a woman cheats on me with someone I thought was my friend. I know what to do when those things happen, but when someone does something nice - I flinch.
That’s pretty messed up, but it’s absolutely true. A person gets so used to getting beaten up by life that the natural reaction becomes to build a wall around the heart and not let an outsider in to hurt it again. This is probably a huge reason why I’m not married, as I really do have major problems trusting anyone. I sure hope it’s not too late to turn that around.
Like I said, the outpouring of kindness for me up here in the hospital has been the most loved I’ve ever felt. Ever. I really have tried to be a good person, and I’m always the first to admit I’m far from perfect. I’ve always tried to show a kind heart, but now that it’s my turn to catch some of that good vibe, it frightens me. But it doesn’t mean I’m not grateful.
My cousin Jef Parker could totally relate to this concept. He died in 2001 at age 44 from a horrible bout with cancer, and today would have been his birthday. Jef was a dented can too, but he turned it around and started the Collector’s Edge Comics chain in Milwaukee.
Jef used to help people all the time too, and created a legend among the comic community in town. We used to talk in private of things like this, and he also felt uncomfortable with anyone giving him anything. Jef is gone, and I miss him terribly. Dented cans can relate.