Being Human

13 Feb

No talent there . . . or is there?

“Mom, how come Uncle Mike drinks so much?”

She looked at me for the longest time, probably deciding on how much a twelve-year old needed to know.  Skeletons, it seems, are usually retrieved from the closet one bone at a time.

“It’s because of the war, Bill.  Uncle Mike drinks too much because of the things he saw in World War 2.”

The initials PTSD were not spoken back in 1960.  Words like “shell-shocked” were more common, an ineffectual way to describe someone who has seen more than he was prepared to see . . . more than any human should ever see.

Uncle Mike eventually sobered up and lived the last twenty years of his life sober, the father of fifteen kids, a new car salesman in Torrance, California.  He had a great sense of humor, Uncle Mike did, and he was a gentle soul . . . I remember that clearly . . . and I also remember that years and years after that war ended, on occasion, Uncle Mike would hear a car backfire, or hear the loud clang of a garbage can lid, and he would get this blank look on his face, and just like that he was back in the countryside of France in full gear, wondering when a bullet with his name on it would finally relieve him of his fear.

I mention all this because I find human beings fascinating, each and every one of them, complex beings with the capacity to amaze, and as a writer I would be ignoring one of the great resources we all have at our disposal every day . . . our fellow travelers on this planet.

I think about Uncle Mike from time to time.  I wonder how many people asked that same question about me:  “Mom, how come Bill drinks so much?”  And the answer, really, is as complex and as simple as this:  Because I am, because we all are, human!

Have a great week of writing!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

23 Responses to “Being Human”

  1. Janine Huldie February 13, 2018 at 3:20 pm #

    Aw, Bill I couldn’t agree more and we all are indeed human. Thanks for sharing your Uncle Mike with us today. My Uncle Sonny lived through WWII and was at The Battle of the Bulge. He passed on at 92 last year. But similar to your uncle drank a bit too much upon his return from he war. But also like your Uncle stopped drinking, pulled his life together and even was able to discuss it with me in recent years. He was a true hero in my eyes for that more. But still definitely human nonetheless. That said, I am just blessed to have had him in my life for many years to teach me this lesson and more. Thanks Bill for the reminder and again wishing you the best Tuesday ahead now.

    • Billybuc February 13, 2018 at 5:03 pm #

      Thank you for sharing your Uncle Sonny with me, Janine. Those are the stories which must be repeated and shared and passed down to other generations.

  2. Sarah Potter Writes February 13, 2018 at 4:44 pm #

    Why indeed do some people reach for a bottle, while others find another fix or deadner for their pain, or as a temporary boost to their confidence — whatever the reason? Some people just plain love the taste of alcohol, as others love chocolate. Others carry the addiction gene. The reasons are endless, but I’m proud of those who have the strength of will to kick the habit. It’s not easy. Personally, alcohol makes me ill after more than two glasses of the stuff, so I’ve never been tempted. It making me ill might be psychological, due to some events in my youth. Who knows? Humans are so complex.

    • Billybuc February 13, 2018 at 5:04 pm #

      Yes we are, Sarah! I wish alcohol had made me ill after two drinks. 🙂 It sure would have saved me some heartache over the years.

  3. Sarah Potter Writes February 13, 2018 at 4:50 pm #

    PS I got interrupted while posting that comment, so haven’t wished you a happy Tuesday yet. So here’s my good wishes now, my dear friend (of whom I’m so proud) 🙂

    • Billybuc February 13, 2018 at 5:05 pm #

      And a Happy Tuesday to you, Sarah! Wishing you a spectacular week of creativity and love.

  4. Mike February 13, 2018 at 4:59 pm #

    Hello Bill – Sounds like Uncle Mike pulled himself out of his tailspin. Congratulations all around. Those of us with addictive personalities have to be very careful, if not we may find ourselves writing day and night. ha

    • Billybuc February 13, 2018 at 5:05 pm #

      Isn’t that the truth, Mike! LOL Thanks for the laugh.

  5. Ruchira Khanna February 13, 2018 at 5:12 pm #

    I can understand the plight of the mind…what ways we humans have to take to silent it!!

    Esp the memories of the war…jeez! bless him!
    Valid point, Bill

    • Billybuc February 13, 2018 at 6:06 pm #

      Thank you Ruchira! Being human is not an easy job at all.

  6. Greg Boudonck February 13, 2018 at 9:39 pm #

    So true… We all are human and have our stuff. God knows I have mine. Thanks Bill.

  7. marlenebertrand February 13, 2018 at 11:32 pm #

    Yes, Bill, people are very complex. I have learned that there is always something underneath and beyond my first impression of someone. I learned that my first impression is based upon my own life experiences and while I’m sizing them up they are sizing me up and it is only when we sit and talk, we learn how amazing people are behind the person they project.

    • Billybuc February 14, 2018 at 2:40 pm #

      Wonderful reflection, Marlene, and so very true. I’ve had to learn this over the years, and I did so very slowly.

  8. Sageleaf February 14, 2018 at 1:19 am #

    And when it comes down to it, (something that I’ve only realized in my adult life) is that we humans are all trying to get through life the best we can. When I thin that, it gets much easier to “love” on those who annoy me. Ha!
    But another thing you wrote caught my attention: 15 kids!?! WOWZA! I am in awe – das a whole lotta kids! lol (Sorry for stating the obvious…just that in this day and age, you hear of folks with 3 or 4, it’s more rare to have 5…whew!) HAHA.
    I hope you have a great week Big Bro. You make me smile!

    • Sageleaf February 14, 2018 at 1:20 am #

      *think haha

    • Billybuc February 14, 2018 at 2:41 pm #

      15 for sure, Lil Sis…all the boys names started with “D,” and all girls with “N” and it was a zoo at dinnertime. LOL And the mother lived to be 94 amazingly. Strong woman.

      Hugs my friend. I’m glad I make you smile.

  9. 1authorcygnetbrown February 14, 2018 at 4:43 am #

    Why do any of us do anything that we know is bad for us? That question has probably been around since the Garden of Eden.

    • Billybuc February 14, 2018 at 2:42 pm #

      Too true, Donna! Too true!

  10. February 14, 2018 at 12:50 pm #

    Part of the ‘trip’, I suppose. The journey; the wayfaring. made you a better man, no? Lol.

    • Billybuc February 14, 2018 at 2:42 pm #

      We can only hope, Manatita! The jury is still deliberating that question.

  11. madebymejournals February 14, 2018 at 5:28 pm #

    I agree! Many people forget the most important part of the story is the back story. How else do you understand, connect, sympathize? In fiction and in real life!

    • Billybuc February 14, 2018 at 5:36 pm #

      True words, my wise friend. Thank you for weighing in.

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