Immortality is like Jazz… The One Thing Every Father Needs


Immortality is like Jazz.  “Oh Sh*t!” My wife says in my mind. “Not jazz…anything but jazz.”  Yes, Jazz.  That’s where I’m going to start Sarah so put your feet up and pour a glass of wine or grab a blanket and a chai and I’ll tell you and your readers why your husbands need to be immortal. 


Have you ever heard Chet Baker sing ‘My Funny Valentine’?  That’s why.  No, your readers will never understand that on it’s own.  Let me start at the beginning.  A friend told Sarah this :

“In marriage, men and women each only need one thing.  Women need to feel secure.  Men need to feel important.” 

 No, I’m sorry, I need to start before that.  I read in Esquire Magazine once upon a time an article by a perfectly healthy man who took Viagra back in the 90’s just to write a story about it.  That’s how I feel about writing this story.  I’ve never popped a Viagra pill but I told Sarah that feeling “important” is the tip of the iceberg and I knew it would take a deep dive to see what wonders lie beneath the surface of men.

Immortality is like Jazz because you’ll never know if you’re there.  It’s a leap of faith where there is no beginning and by definition there is no end.  When Gil Scot Heron (RIP) said, “The revolution will not be televised.”, he explained that the idea will begin in your mind.  You can’t see it, you can’t film it or record it, you can’t touch it…maybe I can’t fully explain the impossible Sarah but the plain truth that remains is men, fathers in particular, want to be immortal for one simple reason.

When I first responded I said this:

It’s Ulysse’s fault…and all the kings before him and all of the delicate debates about who will take our names (my wife finally broke down after we had our second child…well, mostly) and who will carry on our families into history. Listen closely ladies, we want to be immortal. I know some softer spoken gentlemen might write in and deny it but that is the one thing that drives us to be our father’s fathers and light cigars and do high fives and those dude chest pump things…and make women swoon and fall in love and walk down aisles and close your eyes and bite your lips and surrender (you know what I’m talking about) and one day if we are so blessed prove to the world that  we can make ‘more’, just like us no less…AND have our sons tell tales about how their dad can do that thing better and how he jumped out of airplanes and built skyscrapers and how he is ‘the boss’ (all true BTW). Yes, all of it. Important is a scratch on the surface of the immortal eternity of a man Sarah.

I’ve got Chet Baker on the laptop,  Brandford Marsailis cassette tapes, Spike Lee’s ‘Mo Better Blues’ on VHS, Henry Mancini on vinyl from the 50’s, the original CD ‘Acid Jazz 1’ – second-hand, and I can even scratch out a little ‘worried man blues’ on my guitar.  I remember them all like my children being born and before I lose you, the point is this Sarah, when you replied and asked, “Is that why the men I know are so much more concerned on a day-to-day basis with their mortality than the women I know?”, I saw immediately how different men and women truly are. 

At first I though no, that’s not it, but when I looked back I saw you looking into the reflection of a half glass of water; mine,  half full of immortality, you thinking the same is half empty with imminent mortality. I close my eyes and my mind is filled with memories…sitting on the bench seat of my father’s pickup looking up to him when he picked me up for a visit, the scent of years at sea and the heavy weight  of so many lost in my grandfather’s Naval Journal and the one name on a blank page with a five digit phone number, “Shirley” (my grandmother who secretly told all of us we were each her favorite…and not to tell. RIP), the sound of the local radio station my wife left on in her little apartment every night she sent me home before I flew her away on a Valentine’s weekend and asked her to marry me, and more than the rest, the look in my son’s pale blue eyes, like I am looking into a mirror of the boy I was at his age when I began to understand one day he would share my name (and yes…I really did jump from planes and build sky scrapers), and all of the words and letters and days that strive to make this life more than just that.  Why Sarah?  Because more than anything we want to be remembered.

Sometimes I dance with my daughter in our tiny kitchen…Hip Hop, Jazz, ‘Zingalamaduni’ and smile as she sways and kicks her little legs to the African rhythm of Arrested Development and 400 years of fathers and men who came before find us here with pencils and papers, immortal.

This entry was published on June 17, 2011 at 12:51 pm. It’s filed under Life, Love, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Immortality is like Jazz… The One Thing Every Father Needs

  1. WOW. I just found you because of Kris @PrettyAllTrue, and I’m so glad….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: