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» Hatrack River Forum » Archives » Landmark Threads » Landmark thread: Sweet 1600

   
Author Topic: Landmark thread: Sweet 1600
Chris Bridges
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Never did a landmark thread before - never paid much attention to my post count, really - but I noticed the other night I was nearing the big 1-6-0-0, so what the heck.

No clue what to write about. Most of the important things about me have been posted here already. I'm 38, male, Gemini. Married, two sons, 17 and 11. I work as the webmaster for the Daytona Beach News-Journal, where I also write a weekly online column.

I was born in North Carolina, a seven-month preemie. I was adopted by the Bridges', who moved to Florida soon afterwards. Only child, spoiled rotten. Raised Southern Baptist, sang in the choir, got the occasional solo before my voice changed. I still sing, just a bit more nasally.

I'm registered Independent, preferring to vote on my own opinions rather than those of an ideology or a political party. I've yet to see the political party that completely represents me. I don't like Bush's attitude, beliefs, or style. I didn't like Clinton's attitude, political weathervaning, or perjury. Make of it what you will.

I call myself apatheist, but I'm closer to areligious. Religious belief simply has no relevance or impact on my life, except where my life is affected by people with religious beliefs. I'm not disdainful of religion, I recognize it's importance to society and our history, and I strongly believe that without religion it would have taken the human race much longer to achieve civilization, assuming it has. And I have absolutely no opinion regarding which religion, if any, may be true. I'll find out eventually, or not, and it helps me stay respectful when I talk to religionists about their beliefs. In the meantime I endeavor to be a good person anyway. There is satisfaction in making the world a better place, there is joy in making others happy, there is peace in making others comforted, there is strength in integrity, and there is confidence that comes from never doing anything you would be ashamed to admit to.

I'm an excellent artist if I have something to look at, but only middling fair if I'm drawing out of my head. I can't paint at all, and I'm not sure why, but give me a pen or pencil and I can do magic.

I've been told I write well, but I'm still not where I want to be. My "voice" still resonates too strongly to whatever I've read most recently, something I've used to advantage before, but a habit I'd like to break. I also need to work on saying the same thing with fewer words or better phrases. The regular columns are helping, and I'll be doing the November novel again this year. It's odd that drawing comes easily to me but I only do it occasionally, yet writing is more of an effort but it's what I want to do. Or maybe that isn't so odd after all.

I read, constantly, averaging a book a day. It's amazing how much a fast reader can get in before work, during breaks, at long stoplights... I favor science fiction and fantasy and have worked through a staggering amount of it, but I'll read any well-written genre, especially if it's funny. Larry McMurty westerns, Jennifer Crusie romances, Robert B. Parker mysteries, all works for me. I also love the peculiar Florida journalist style of fiction writing, i.e. Carl Hiaasen, Dave Barry, Tim Dorsey, etc. Sick, sick people.
I've met Tim Dorsey, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Piers Anthony, Joe Haldeman, Robert Asprin, Ben Bova, Kevin Smith, Peter David, Harlan Ellison, and OSC, along with most all the comics creators that have passed through Central Florida. Talked to some briefly, some at length, exchanged e-mail with others. I saved my mail from Christopher Moore, and I'm pleased way out of proportion that Weird Al's drummer thanked me for the column I wrote. I'm still peeved I forgot to ask OSC to squish my head, but I do have pictures of me, OSC and Bob Scopatz, and I'll stack that against an Elvis sighting any day.

I'm a hopeful romantic. I think that people can become so close that verbal communication is not only unnecessary, it's slower and has too much signal loss. My attitudes towards love stem from three sources: Don Juan DeMarco, Gomez Addams, and Harpo Marx. You can't go over the top enough when you're in love. I can say this with some certainty because for the first seven years of our marriage I was a shit. We met and started dating (hanging around together) when we were both 15. Had our first child at 20, got married 6 months later, and then spent the next seven years being too broke and completely unready to deal with a family, grown-up bills, or an asthmatic son. This, combined with my barely-buried resentment at the loss of a supposed wild teenage life, and a constantly depressed wife who seemed determined to become even more dependent, made for an uncomfortable time.
Two things happened. One night, in bed, I told her that I was unhappy and restless and needed a girlfriend. And, since I felt like wooing and seducing a new woman with flowers and dinners and bad poetry, but didn't feel like sneaking around or throwing away money, I wanted it to be her.
She smiled. Her immediate reply, and this is only a minor example of why I love her, was, "Well, if you're going to start sneaking around with me, you'll have to make sure I don't catch you, so you should probably take me to places you wouldn't ordinarily take your wife, just in case." And our love affair truly began.
The second thing was her discovery of antidepressants about five years ago. I do not know whether they work for everyone, but I know that they've done wonders for her. Depression is no longer her base state, and her struggle to relearn ways of dealing with life and other people impresses me more every day.
We've been together 23 years, and I still rush home to see her, still find notes from her stuck in my car visor with wildflowers. She's my girlfriend and my wife, mother to my children and best friend, and every wonderful thing I see or learn is doubly so because I get to share it with her.
She's been drawing lately, and she's a lot better than she thinks she is, despite my praise or the sales on ebay.

Unfortunately neither of us has any skill or inclination towards housekeeping or finances, but we manage, usually by switching off responsibilities every few years or so. We are also both way out of shape, nor do we seem to have enough self-control to get there. We're working on it, though.

My oldest son is no longer asthmatic, or at least hasn't been in many years. Because we were guaranteed an emergency room visit if he got too upset, we were forced to find ways to discipline him besides whacking or yelling. We're not really the spanking type, but we explained things to him as much as we could. Never used the "because" excuse. Treated him as fairly as possible, always kept promises, respected his privacy. Somehow he grew up intelligent, funny, secure, and much more sensible than I was at that age. He even likes my books and music, and here I was waiting to see what he'd manage to do that would freak us out.

My younger son could have used some spanking, but we realized it too late. [Smile] When they tell you that the first child teaches you nothing about the second, he's what they meant. Fortunately he's also funny and smarter than he thinks he is and extremely ticklish, which makes up for a lot.

Two dogs, Harpo and Chica, and a cat, Buzz. They're all completely insane, in their own little ways.

And I think that's enough for now. No wonder I don't do landmark posts, I can't stop once I get going...

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saxon75
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quote:
One night, in bed, I told her that I was unhappy and restless and needed a girlfriend. And, since I felt like wooing and seducing a new woman with flowers and dinners and bad poetry, but didn't feel like sneaking around or throwing away money, I wanted it to be her.
She smiled. Her immediate reply, and this is only a minor example of why I love her, was, "Well, if you're going to start sneaking around with me, you'll have to make sure I don't catch you, so you should probably take me to places you wouldn't ordinarily take your wife, just in case." And our love affair truly began.

This sounds like something out of a movie or a book. I love it!

I'm a huge fan of you, dude. Keep posting!

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Kayla
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Actually, that sounds like something that needs to be put into a movie. What a great line.

I had no idea you had kids that old! How did I miss that?

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solo
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Awesome post Chris. I really enjoy the columns too. Keep 'em coming.
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Raia
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Aww, congrats, Chris!!!

[The Wave]

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Professor Funk
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quote:
There is satisfaction in making the world a better place, there is joy in making others happy, there is peace in making others comforted, there is strength in integrity, and there is confidence that comes from never doing anything you would be ashamed to admit to.
This is beautiful. Is there any way we can convice the rest of humanity to live by this maxim?

Love ya, man... keep up the good work

EDIT:
I'm Annie, by the way, trying to conserve on the post count for a bit. Just so you don't get weirded out by some random newbie saying she loves you.

[ September 03, 2003, 06:27 PM: Message edited by: Professor Funk ]

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Head Ditch Digger
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[Hat]

Impressive life.

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Ela
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Chris, that was a wonderful landmark post. [Smile]

**Ela**

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jeniwren
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I absolutely *love* that section that saxon quoted. I mean, that is just the coolest thing ever.

I do the same thing with writing like the last author I just read. I can see it really clearly in the stuff I did for the Mafia game. I figure it's okay. But then I don't aspire to much other than noodling so blatant plagiarism is probably okay. [Wink]

You will remain one of my favorite jatraqueros, in that I never feel disrespected by you, even when we are diametrically opposed on certain issues. And you've managed to change my mind more than once by your solid arguments, spoken with compassion and understanding.

Great landmark post, Chris! Congratulations!

[Party]

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Chris Bridges
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Kayla: I had no idea you had kids that old! How did I miss that?
Not sure how recently it's come up. My 17-year-old is about to be 18 in a month, and I still don't believe it. Especially since, in my head, I'm still 20 or so.

Prof. Funk: This is beautiful. Is there any way we can convice the rest of humanity to live by this maxim?
Unlikely. A lot of people have been trying for a long time. Couldn't hurt to try, though.
Just so you don't get weirded out by some random newbie saying she loves you.
You get used to it after a while...

HDD: Impressive life.
Thanks, but I don't really think so. Or, rather, I think that just about anybody's life is impressive when seen from outside. People go through some amazing things in their lives, and even friends and family may have inredible triumphs and disasters they've kept to themselves.
Everyone in the world, everyone, knows at least one thing I don't, and likely a lot more. Something else to keep in mind when I get too self-centered.

Thanks folks, but reading it over I sound too boastful. So here's the things I suck at:

Can't do math. Never could. Finally dropped out of college algebra. Which is one reason it amazes me that my teen tutors trig.

Even though I'm currently the one handling finances, I still get Teresa to balance the checkbook for me. I can, but she's so much faster and she doesn't have the involuntary flinch I have when I see rows of numbers.

I also don't know a thing about cars. I can't tell you the make of car of anyone I know, and I have in the past had to look at my insurance card to make sure what I was driving before I ordered parts.

I have no sense of time at all. I can never remember what year anything happened, I have to piece it together. "Let's see, that was after we got the house, so Tony was about 5, but it was before The Simpsons started, so that would be, um..."
And yet some numbers stick in my head immediately. I never have a problem remembering phone numbers, for example.

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Ralphie
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I'm also a huge fan of Chris. And now I'm a huge fan of his family. [Smile]

Thank you for sharing bits of yourself, not only in your extremely witty on-line column, but in this very well-written landmark.

Cheers. [Hat]

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Chris Bridges
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Oh, Ralphie, you're not that big... [Smile]
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Ralphie
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[Razz]
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Erik Slaine
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What a wonderful life Chris. I loved it, and your column as well. Thank you for being here at Hatrack, I might not have discovered your column if you didn't!

Congrats!

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ClaudiaTherese
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Chris, you know this already, because I've said it before in a variety of ways, but, again ...

Aside from my husband, you are the best all-around person I know. Smart to the bone, fires on all cylinders, balanced, decent, kind, all of it. All of it.

Were I needing another person to name for power of attorney for health over me, it would be you. Hands down. You've never made a decision or take a stand that didn't make sense to me, and I'd trust you to steer the ship when I'm down. [Group Hug]

(However, you won't have to, I promise. My hubby will do that for me. But should he get hit by a bus, some paperwork's gonna be coming your way. [Smile] Actually, Noemon could make decisions for me too, but if I were knocked out then he'd be knocked out, and so no go there. [Big Grin] )

Best of all things to you and your love, Chris.

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Icarus
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Thank you, Chris. That was beautiful and moving.

My biggest regret since moving to CF is that I have not yet "officially" met you. I can only hope this will be remedied before too long.

[Group Hug]

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rivka
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Wow, that was great, Chris. I loved the paragraph saxon quoted, but my favorite part was actually:

quote:
We've been together 23 years, and I still rush home to see her, still find notes from her stuck in my car visor with wildflowers. She's my girlfriend and my wife, mother to my children and best friend, and every wonderful thing I see or learn is doubly so because I get to share it with her.

*mists up* That's just so wonderful . . . [Hat]
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dkw
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So, speaking of November novels, have you finished/refinished last year’s yet? I need to know if I can move you off the “persons I hope don’t get hit by a bus before they finish the book I’m waiting for” list. Not that I wouldn’t still be sad if you were hit by a bus. But I would be much consoled knowing that the novel was done and could be published posthumously.
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Leonide
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quote:
Two things happened. One night, in bed, I told her that I was unhappy and restless and needed a girlfriend. And, since I felt like wooing and seducing a new woman with flowers and dinners and bad poetry, but didn't feel like sneaking around or throwing away money, I wanted it to be her.
quote:
We've been together 23 years, and I still rush home to see her, still find notes from her stuck in my car visor with wildflowers. She's my girlfriend and my wife, mother to my children and best friend, and every wonderful thing I see or learn is doubly so because I get to share it with her.
They needed to be repeated.

You made me cry, Chris. What a beautiful, wonderful marriage you have there. You're both fortunate to have each other. [Group Hug]

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Sopwith
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Thanks for sharing, Chris. The "new girlfriend deal" was a stroke of genius.

Looks like you learned a long time ago that life is best lived with one's eyes open and that we don't stop growing up after we reach 18. Heck, for me at least, I didn't even start until I was that age.

I'd say best of luck in life, but it seems more appropriate to say, may your course never change for you've picked the right stars to follow. [Wink]

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Chris Bridges
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ClaudiaTherese: wow. That's not a lot I can say about that, besides "I'm honored."

Just let me know what your "extreme measures" preferences are...

Icarus: I still want to get together, I'm just not terribly social. I'm definitely coming out to meet up with you guys when Tom and Christy show up, but if we can manage something earlier life would be good.

dkw: No, I let it drop after finding out that the hook of the story, a reality program that watches overweight people get in shape in a month, was already in the works. However, like a good writer should, I've since cannabalized it and gotten two articles and this week's column out of it [Smile]

This year, I'm going for modern-day mythology.

Everyone who commented on the mushy stuff: keep in mind that I didn't write that just to say, "look how cuddly we are now," but to tell you how close we came to divorcing (or worse, living in matrimonial hell). Any relationship has to be worked at, something we were oblivious to when we married. The wedding ring gives you magic relationship powers, right?
Ha.
For a lotta years I was the nice guy who didn't realize how terribly he was treating his wife. She was the cute girl who didn't realize how badly she was hurting him back in lots of little ways. And neither of us could communicate very well to each other, for all kinds of stupid reasons, until we reached the point where it was either change drastically or split up. What we have now we worked hard for, and I am deliriously glad we did. I look forward to growing old with her, and becoming a dirty old couple.

[ September 04, 2003, 05:39 PM: Message edited by: Chris Bridges ]

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