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Twisting all the bad things into good

Oct 9, 2012



         “Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.”
          ~e.e. cummings

          Tomorrow, I leave for Europe.
          It will me my first time there.
          I can see it now.

          Me, on a bicycle, no hands, wearing a deep-v "MADE IN THE U.S.A." t-shirt, riding through some Swiss village.
          The Swedish women come out of their cottages waving, blowing me kisses.
          The children toss me chocolates and begin running after me, cheering, laughing, trying to keep up, filling the cobblestone street behind me until there are so many, it looks like the running scene from Rocky II. The impromptu parade only ends when I decide to take the scenic route and the children soon tire themselves while attempting to follow me uphill as I trek over the Swiss Alps that stand between "the American" and the village pub that waits at the bottom.

           When I reach the village pub, I'm wearing my cardigan due to the slight chill I felt at the snowcapped mountain peak, so my U.S.A. shirt is covered. As soon as I enter, there is a noticeable, but not uncomfortable, hush that comes over the patrons. This change in atmosphere is not as blatant as a scratching record, but there is no denying it's existence. For a moment, I wonder if I biked over the wrong mountain and ended up in France.
           I approach the bar as if I'm oblivious to their whispers and stolen glances. To shake them of their preconceptions that I am some otherworldly tourist, I let the bartender know I'd like a pint sized beer-boot of their finest local Belgian Beer. The words are barely out of my mouth when the bartender rings a bell, and the patrons go nuts as if they're throwing me a surprise party 2 weeks before my 37th birthday.
           "AMERICANS DRINK FREE!" the bartender announces.

           After drinking many beers and telling as many stories, I'll teach the crowd the chorus to Alive by Pearl Jam and then lead them in a life affirming sing-along.
           I'll take pictures with everyone, and before I set off on my bike ride back over the Alps, the bartender will take my picture, and before framing it and placing it on the wall, he requests I sign it.
           Beneath my big dumb smiling face, I write:

            Thanks everyone,
          It was good to be..."Alive" :) 

           Jimmy "The American" Mac