Get Off My Lawn!

February 10th, 2010 Comments

New CGI version of Star Trek´s USS EnterpriseIt doesn’t seem that long ago that I had such dreams of not only changing the world – but saving it. I was young, healthy, smart, and full of whatever it takes to tackle whatever needs fixing. I came by this naturally – via good breeding and an ambitious family. But somehow, 30 years later, I begin to realize that it didn’t quite work out as planned.

Where did I go wrong?  How did this all get derailed?  I was once young, virile, and typical of most young men in their twenties, indestructible.

I’ve never minded a little resistance – I usually took that to mean that I’d hit a nerve. As a faithful fan of Superman, The Lone Ranger, Batman, and of course Captain James T. Kirk, I know that any evil worth overcoming, is one that puts up a good fight.  Yet despite my deep respect for Lex Luther, Mr. Freeze, and Tribbles – I had bigger dreams… to solve bigger problems.

Several times in my life, the Borg has threatened to assimilate me, but I have resisted, no matter how futile it seemed.

I have resisted assimilation my whole life. But my stamina and virility are running dry – and amazingly, I’m beginning to learn that unlike Jean Luc Picard, I am mortal and therefore destructible. I think they call this middle age – but I don’t know too many people who live to be 102!  Middle age, for me, was probably about 10 or 15 years ago.  I’ll let you know exactly at my funeral – but until then, your guess is as good as mine.

I now realize, I’ve been to the top of the mountain.  I’ve reached the pinnacle of success.  I’m now headed back down the other side.  There’s still plenty of adventure in the journey ahead, but from this point forward, it’s coasting – or as some would say, it’s all downhill from here.  In other words, I’m going downhill.

A New Plan

As my unrealized dreams slip through my fingers, coupled with unemployment, declining health, and very little energy left in my phasers – in which to fight the ubiquitous Borg – I find myself getting grouchy.  So, I have a new plan.  Instead of fighting crime and resisting the Borg, I’m going to work on my internal demons.

When I was 12 or 13, we moved to a house in Gresham.  It was a relatively new subdivision and like the rest of the middle class in the 1960s and 70s, the move completed my family’s migration from the city to the suburbs.  A nice yard, in a quiet neighborhood, with good schools.  Life was good!

And because it was the suburbs, the streets were safe to play in – and that’s where my brother and I were constantly.  If we weren’t in the backyard pool, we were in the street playing hockey, baseball, football, or some other rambunctious game that involved running, ducking, and chasing.

Unfortunately, right across the street was a middle aged couple who made it their life’s mission to protect the bark-dust that they called a front yard.  We already knew that like Mrs. Kravitz, they were on constant alert, watching the neighborhood through their drapes.  Nothing caused more of a stir than if our hockey puck, baseball, or football should happen to violate their perimeter.  We learned quickly to keep away from their yard, or we would receive a thorough scolding.

“You kids stay out of our yard!”

I don’t want to be that man.

In the last few months, I’ve found myself being crabby about a number of things.  It’s difficult to be cheerful when one is broken – and I’m broken.  Misunderstood, misjudged, taunted with false accusations, unfairly ostracized, unmercifully terminated, and unemployed.  This all coming on the heals of a 18 month, losing battle, standing up for “truth, justice, and the American way!

No, it wasn’t right what happened, and I’m moving on – but I’m still broken.  I continue in recovery.

In my mind, as I look over blog, Facebook, and Twitter posts, I see the wake of a grumpy man.  And where did it get me?  Did the discompassionates become compassionate?  Did the legalists find grace?  Did the behavioralists discover Truth?  Did the evildoers repent?  Did those who did harm to my family apologize?  No.

I’m tired of being angry.  I’m tired of waiting for my friends to acknowledge their friendship and love – despite my barbs.  I’m tired of expecting things that aren’t happening.  (Don’t get me wrong, many have done some amazing things for us – and we will always be grateful to those individuals.)  But, let’s just say, I’m tired of waiting.

So, what’s the point?

This morning I posted: “Stuck in a moment; afraid to move forward; broken.”

The responses were strangely encouraging.  A couple of people empathized (thank you Brandi and Greg) and in some uniquely, strange way, that was encouraging.  I felt like I’d made a difference in their lives.

I’m tired of swimming upstream, only to die in the shallows.  I’m tired of climbing mountains, just because they are there.  I’m tired of resisting the Borg – take me now!

Have you ever been derailed?  Stuck in a moment?  How did you get out?


  1. J.R. Reed says:

    Dude, I had neighbors like that too. My suburb was Seal Beach, CA. Instead of the bark front yard, theirs was a sea of crappy, low cut bushes and our tennis balls or baseballs were constantly getting lost in there. God forbid we should ever go and look for them. I hated those people but I had totally forgotten about them. Now, thanks to you, I hate them again. Thanks for that bro!!!

    Seriously though, funny shit as it always is…

    1. gwalter says:

      You’re welcome – glad I could bring back the bad old days! (and thanks for the affirmation!)

  2. I have never understood the attitude that just because you are past the middle of your life you are coasting to the other side.

    “I now realize, I’ve been to the top of the mountain. I’ve reached the pinnacle of success. I’m now headed back down the other side. There’s still plenty of adventure in the journey ahead, but from this point forward, it’s coasting – or as some would say, it’s all downhill from here. In other words, I’m going downhill.”

    When did life become a mountain of up one side and down the other? I think life should be an incline that you keep going higher and higher…getting better and better until you die at the peak.

    I don’t want to die in the shallows as you put it but jumping up the waterfall.

    It is all a choice of how you look at it…Kim
    .-= the inadvertent farmer invites you to read this blog: ..Chalkboard paint Craft To Do or Not Cabinet redo =-.

    1. gwalter says:

      When I was a young pup like you, I didn’t understand it either. I’m just tired and broken. Who knows what I’ll feel like when I’m not three months behind on my mortgage, driving a cars on borrowed time, and have a savings account and some hope again.

      In fact, Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, (Thank you Michael!) just sent me a copy of Seth Grodin’s new book, Linchpin, that addresses this very issue. I cannot can wait to read it. Part of me feels tired just thinking about it – the other part of me thinks this is just the boost I need.

      On the other hand, I’ve fought more wars and climbed more mountains than most men have a right to. I’ve resisted the Borg in multiple venues. Maybe it’s a gender thing! Or maybe because for most of my life, like my Dad, I worked 80 hour weeks – if I never worked again, I’ve accomplished more than many ever will.

What's this?

You are currently reading Get Off My Lawn! at Gary S. Walter.


  • Subscribe via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: