Long ago, in 1994, my paternal grandfather and one of my maternal uncles passed away in the same week. Unfortunately, both were in poor health at the time, so their passing wasn’t quite a surprise, but still a memorable event for me. My grandfather’s funeral was on a Friday evening and my uncle’s was the next morning. A few of my aunts from my mother’s side showed up to my grandfather’s funeral as a show of support for me which was cool. I wasn’t emotionally broken though because he had a rough go at it those last few days. I felt a bit of relief that his struggle was over actually. I couldn’t see the pain my uncle was in, but I spoke to him a week before he passed away, and that conversation was him saying goodbye in advance. We chatted for maybe 10 or 15 minutes, when we were wrapping up, he said he was proud of me, he loved me, and that he needed to call someone else. I can’t even imagine how difficult it was for him to do that, but I’m glad he did.
Coming of age
Years after this when I was 18 and a lot more active outside than years prior. I spent more time around the neighborhood guys, and though I had better things to do, I wasn’t interested in doing them. I was more of an observer of street life than an active participant, but I was among the participants, so there’s the “birds of a feather” saying. I was flocking with bigger birds than my involvement would suggest, but they looked out for me. One evening after hanging out, the head guy from the flock drove past me and asked if I wanted to accompany him to Greektown to get gyros. Though I was hungry, it was late, and I had class in the morning so I declined. He said “good, stay in the books college boy” and drove off with his 2 security guys. At the restaurant, some guys came in and unloaded their guns, hitting him approximately 18 times in the back and head. He didn’t make it. Three weeks after this incident, my cousin was walking home, and some guys shot him 3 times in the abdomen, luckily, he did survive.
In moments like these, there is a tendency to say, “when it rains it pours” as recognition of a trend of bad luck, which is not a sentiment I can get behind. All of these tragedies happened around me, not really to me, but I am unable to carry that feeling of being down even when calamity comes my way. The interesting portion of the people close to me being shot is, that influenced me to leave that environment and join the Air Force. Well, that and I was hanging out with a buddy of mine named British. She very bluntly stated, “you’re too smart to waste away doing what you’re doing, you’d be a tragic, could’ve been loser”. That stuck with me for a long time. When I went away to basic training, one of my cousins went to jail, another returned to hustling, and another friend of mine was murdered. It was clearly still raining in my neighborhood, just not on me.
Just a matter of perspective
It’s not easy to step back and assess when you’re in it. However, it is very easy to get caught up in the moments and believe it’s only happening to you. For me, when it’s raining, that is a wonderful time for reflection, literally and figuratively. That’s what I did when everything around me seemed like a bad option. That’s what I do now when people near me pass away. Even if I miss out on opportunities I sit back for a moment and think about the lesson I can gain from the set of events, and how I got to that moment of feeling however I felt at the time. I’m not immune to letting feelings of being down get to me, those feelings just get translated into a form of creative expression or personal growth when they set in.
I’ve had bad luck with both my wives. The first one left me and the second one didn’t.Patrick Murray
I think a good combination of slang and marketing is the Morton Salt girl. Thanks to pink sea salt I’m not sure if the logo is the same now, but when I was a kid it was a girl in the rain, completely unaware that she was spilling salt all over the place. The saying “when it rains it pours” was on the container. The obvious slang being, when you do something unflattering or outright embarrassing, you walk away feeling a bit salty about it. Salty being the slang form in this case, not a literal increase in sodium. Spilling a whole bunch of salt in the rain seems like bad on top of bad, and they turned it into a positive. That’s dope…but the saying is still ridiculous. We aren’t just magnets for good or bad fortune, we are creators of good and bad fortune and we have influence on how we perceive these happenings. The worst moments can teach you the most, while being lucky will teach you nothing. If you don’t take a step back and focus on controlling what is in your power, you will continue receiving what you don’t want. Life can be challenging, life is fleeting, however, if you make the best of it while you’re able to I believe the good will always outweigh the bad.