I’d like to acknowledge a few people without whom few things in my life would be possible. My parents, of course, and God, I’ve got to acknowledge God, it’s required of these kinds of things. I’d like to thank the friends that got me here, like Eddie and Steve, Mike and Dave, Sean and Tom, Tom and Tim, oh I could go on, yes I could go on.

I’d like to thank those that influenced me: Tim and John. The Muppets and the Velvet Underground and Lou Reed for reminding me that “everything will happen when it’s going to happen.” Jackson and Bruce and Billy and Eric, Jimmy and Neil—the other Neil. I can’t forget the places along the way: the shack and the dives. The Club and the Bull and Finch. The Golden Tiger and the Blue Door Blues and Jazz club where they don’t play blues nor jazz and the door is brown, but really that makes me thank them more. I’d like to thank those who took a chance on me and then broke it off; and those that said I was worthless which only forced me to do something valuable out of spite.

I’d like to thank Spite. God Bless Spite.

I’d like to acknowledge the people who left impressions on me that cannot be repaid. The profs and elementary school teachers. Mr. Kingston for caring what kind of adults we would turn out to be; and Mrs. Guidice for understanding we were only five years old and for instinctively knowing what Yeats meant when he wrote that “education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.”

I’d like to acknowledge that I’m impatient; that I’m intolerant of people who repeat themselves; that I’m prone toward wandering instead of being focused. I have to acknowledge right here that I’d much rather have taken more time after high school; and then after college instead of ending up in Mexico headed instead to New York. I’d like to admit it was simply a matter of thinking something would simply drop in my lap.

I’d like to acknowledge that I am irked by people who use sentences in the form of a question when they’re not really asking anything. I’d like to acknowledge I’m as curious as to what happens to the assholes who I’ve taught as much as I wonder about the honor roll members, who often, I must admit, are equally assholic.

I’d like to thank my son for teaching me how to be a father and my father for teaching me how to raise a son. I’d like to acknowledge it might be the only thing I never tire of doing. I’d like to admit right now I tire of doing everything else really pretty quickly.

I’d like to have known my grandfathers.

I’d like to thank Camus for making me question everything but then reminding me that I will “never live if I spend my life looking for the meaning of life,” and Indiana Jones for making me think I know everything. I’d like to acknowledge the people who pick up the cigarette butts most people flick out the window because they’re too-lazyass-howl-at-the-moon stupid to use their ashtray. I’d like to acknowledge Aaron Sorkin for some of these lines, including that “most writers would rather have people know them on paper.”

I’d like to thank Kathleen who I knew when I was five. And Kay, of course, whom I knew a whole bunch of times, and the early morning calls of cows in the distance, the never-ending rows of stripes on the wallpaper.  I’d like to thank Essie for not humiliating me. I’d like to thank Lynn and Kathy and Michele—not that Michele the other Michele—for teaching me how to talk; and Mary and Joan and Margo and Lisa. I do not wish to thank Stacey. Freak.

I’d like to acknowledge people like Albert Schweitzer and Mother Teresa for making me realize I’ve really done nothing at all. It was Al who warned us that “in everyone’s life, there is a time the fire will go out,” but before he got to the truly depressing parts, Mother T added that “we fear the future because we are wasting today.”

I’d like to thank my inexperience in starvation, my ineptitude in homelessness, my warless neighborhood, and the plague-less road I’m on. I’d like to thank John and Dan and Harry and Jonmark and Neil (the other Neil) and Janis and the other Janis and Joni for the oxygen.

I’d like to take some time right now to acknowledge the passing of time, the quickness of life, the fleeting moments during which we are truly passionate, the ability, the possibility, and the stability. I’d like to recognize my ability to know when it is time to move on, to let go. I need to thank Toni Wynn for telling me that “life is paper thin” and my brother from a different mother, Tim, for understanding how “some things just take root in the brain and don’t let go.”

I’d like to thank my son for four weeks in Russia, five weeks in Spain, a thousand sunsets at the river, and a reason to carry on.

I’d like to thank myself for not hurting anyone. I’d like to thank those I might have hurt for dropping my classes. Ironically, I’d like to acknowledge I’ve hurt way too many people. I’d like to take it all back. I’d like to give it all away. I’d like to leave it all on the playing field.

I’d like to go back one more time and tell Dave and Bobbie and Joe and Cole and Tricia and Rachel and Debbie and Lianne and so many more that they are the reason I would not want any life but the one I’ve had or I would not have known love, I’d not have understood life is a quest, and we ride on together, even after the others are gone, in search of some adventure, only to find out what we are truly searching for is ourselves.

I’d like to thank melancholy for being the proof that its been an incredible journey so far. Yes, I’d do it again, I’d go back and run one more time on the South Shore beaches where I grew up and head to Point Lookout where my grandparents lived, where we’d walk along Freeport Avenue smack dab in the middle of the road where the cement slabs met along long strips of soft tar, and we’d press our toes into the tar as we made our way to the ocean, and be two behind my sister, one behind my brother, in front of some cousins, and later we’d go back to the house and explore the ancient attic.

And we’d drive home late that night, and in the early, misty morning I’d wake to the sound of foghorns drifting up from the Great South Bay.

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