Shifting From The Man on the Outside Looking In

Crawford Hart
Guest Contributor 

I don’t remember when the revelation came to me, but one night the light bulb flickered on, and I realized that my first marriage had been a great 9-month fling that was now well into its fourth year.

We didn’t really fight, we were just tired of each other. What it came down to was I’d gotten involved with a great pair of tits, but they’d passed their use by date long ago. 

At this point, the only thing we shared were debts. When we were first dating, some dumb fuck sent her a VISA card with a “Bet you can’t max this one out” challenge. So of course we took the bet in a wild few days at Disney World. By the time we got home, they’d already cancelled the card. That pretty much set the tone for our time together. By the end there was only one way forward: divorce and bankruptcy.

After bouncing checks all over Tallahassee, I took off for New York City, with a guitar, an amp and a couple hundred bucks in my pocket, as well as an eventual job writing sleazy pulps in a mob-run fiction mill for a paycheck you could easily miss if you blinked. 

That first year, when tax time came around, I asked the advice of an old hand in the shop about how to handle contract wages. He cast a jaundiced eye in my direction and said, “The last time I filed taxes was 1963. That’s the year I was living under a hedge in Golden Gate Park. They sort of lost track of me after that.” They, too, lost track of me at that point.

I ate a lot of rice in those days. Played a lot of music. Wrote a bunch of sleazy novels. And I was a small town boy lost in the big city, going nowhere.

So maybe it sounds a little clichéd to say it, but I got a wild hair up my ass one night and went to what turned out to be a Celebration Event for the recently completed “Men, Sex, and Power #5” – an experiential seminar designed to equip and empower men in the realm of relationships. I watched the recent grads. I judged. I had all kinds of opinions. “Look at them,” I groused, “going out of their way to show everyone how much fun they’re having.” At some point in the evening it occurred to me that they really were having a good time, and I was on the outside looking in, with nothing but a bunch of opinions.  

When the fat guy up front started talking about getting my balls back, I realized that I’d never really had them. I’d spent my whole life on the outside looking in, content with my opinions, preferring to be right, instead of getting results.

Needless to say, I enrolled that night.

Some 38 years later, I’m still on my comeback trajectory.

I changed careers, got married again (this one took), raised a daughter and made a living in New York City.

It all started that night when I decided my opinions didn’t add up to shit.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *