Getting motivated for grocery day takes a bit of doing. Two kids, shopping trolleys, rows and rows of biscuits, cakes and lollies. We all know the drill. It’s hard work. Throw in a couple of well meaning words from complete strangers like “Don’t worry, you’ll be home with Mummy soon kids” or “Hey, spending some time with Daddy are we?” and my gut starts firing like a box of firecrackers in a burning barn.
But shortly after waking, on this particular grocery day, I recieved some bad news from afar that acted like a good slap in the face and made me reflect on how good I've got it. I made a quick mental list of personal great things
- Reservoir Mum
- Two great kids
- A large extended family (all healthy. Well, the live ones anyway...)
- A house big enough for my whole family (and a Plasma)
- 2007 Geelong Premiership (with possibly 2008 Geelong Premiership to follow)
Bottom line is - I reasoned to myself - I've got it good.
The shopping wasn’t really so bad in the end. We got a park right out front. Kids were satisfied and quiet with a Muesli Bar each. I gave a homeless guy $1.50 and that made me feel pretty decent. When we emerged from ALDI the sun was shining, the birds were singing and the homeless man’s dog was licking my trouser leg. I gave him a Cheese Cracker and felt pretty decent about that as well.
Driving home I was feeling nostalgic. Boys needed to nap and I couldn’t be stuffed with the sleep hassles back home, so I pulled into Macdonald’s, bought a cappuccino, slipped my Dr Hook CD into the player, pumped it up to a level that kept the kids quiet but sleepy and drove around for half an hour until they dozed off.
Searching again for that feeling of decency I stopped, at one point, to let an elderly couple cross the road. Their gaze lingered on me as they hobbled past on their bone-density-depleted legs. They could see me singing. They could hear Dr Hook's gravelly vocals and they knew I had it good.
(Don't get me wrong, I'm under no illusions that I am an outrageously decent guy. I was doing some environmentally unfriendly, self-indulgent things – things that might even get this blog torn down – like driving around aimlessly and wasting fuel, buying stuff from MacDonald’s and subjecting the vulnerable brains of my young children to [what some people claim are] the cheesiest, most puerile lyrics in the history of music but I was feeling so damn good I couldn't stop, damn it.)
I got more money
Than a horse has hairs
Because my rich old Uncle died
And answered all my prayers
But having all this money
Is going to bring me down
If you ain't with me honey (Reservoir Mum)
To help me spread it around.
Man, I think that’s gold. And I don’t care who knows it. Now, for that song to really be relevant to me, we'll have to replace the word money, with the word riches (with riches referring to children, health, time, love etc - in other words, anything other than money or actual riches).
I drove past a few chicks at a bus stop. I looked through the open car window and sang Sharing The Night Together, as though I’d written the lyrics myself, just for them. They glared back at me wide-eyed as I drove past and I knew what they were thinking – “There goes a home Dad, oozing Dr Hook coolness, drinking coffee, rocking his children. Oh yeah, all right…”
I challenge you to try listening to that song in a warm car, buffeted gently from side to side, rolling down the streets of Reservoir with scenery like this –
enough groceries in the boot to feed your entire family for a week, enough time on your hands to let old couples hobble across the road, enough money to hand out hundreds of cents and a couple of cheese crackers to the homeless, sipping on a large double shot cappuccino, being oggled by young chicks who think you're cool, with two of the most important people in your life dozing in the backseat behind you while your wife works her arse off in one of the dozen different offices she works at around the city to bring home a shit-load of bacon.
I challenge you to do that and avoid the overwhelming sense of joy that takes you right to the verge of tears.
I’ll say it again. I’ve got it good.
I have some advice for all you people out there doing it a lot harder than I am (because, lets face it, it's easy to hand out advice when you've got it this good). In the immortal words of the greatest band ever, Dr. Hook -
Just pick your heart up off the floor
And try, try again...