It’s 11:13 pm and my son, Ben, is in his room practicing the solo to Crazy Train, over and over (and over) again.
I was 10 when that song came out.
Ten years later I was on the road full-time, performing stand-up comedy.
(Killing time between shows c.1990)
Ben is 19 now.
His dream is to make music.
Move to Nashville.
And travel with his band.
As his friend (and a fan of his music), I hope he gets to live his dream.
As his dad, I’m torn.
Things are different these days.
When I set out on the road as a comic in 1990, there was…
No social media.
And, no logic to what I was doing.
I went bankrupt at 22.
Moved to a frightening Chicago neighborhood at 23.
And had the time of my life.
I once heard someone describe parenthood as, “like having your heart leave your body and walk around outside.”
Thinking back to the times I could have been murdered, arrested, or pummeled by rednecks I insulted from the stage…
I realize I was lucky.
There’s no other way to explain it.
So, as a parent, what does protecting your heart really mean?
Packing it in bubble wrap so it never gets damaged?
And, is it ours to protect?
My parents lived with the same gut-wrenching fear about my safety that every parent lives with.
But, looking back, they had no say in the choices I made after 18.
Even if I secretly wished they did.
What I want for Ben, in his young adulthood, is to try.
Then try harder.
And, ultimately, succeed.
In every aspect of life.
God, just don’t let him be bored.
That’s a sad waste of a good heart.