Out of the picture

You may be quite sure you know where you’re going
But sooner or later you’re out of the picture
Too many lost names, too many rules to the game
Better find a focus or you’re out of the picture

Somewhere along the way the clock runs out
Somewhere along the way it all stands still

Firemen save a millionaire’s mansion
But when it’s done, they sleep on the side of the road
You may be lost, you’ll find
Just another paradigm
Just a stop frame in time
And then you’re out of the picture

Somewhere along the way the clock runs out
Somewhere along the way it all stands still

Take away this Columbus Day
No more bones on display
Blackhawk never had a say
Just taken out of the picture

Somewhere along the way the clock runs out
Somewhere along the way it all stands still

Son Volt/Jay Farrar

What are you focused on in life? There are so many distractions on a daily basis that it is sometimes difficult to prioritize your efforts and try to align them to something meaningful. It’s been an interesting couple of days to say the least and hopefully an opportunity for me to make the next year just a little better for the folks around me.

This past weekend I rolled into my 36th year in the game, along with my twin Jay, and with fathers day I was ready for MY weekend. The last year has been great for many reasons – a new son and other milestones which I was lucky enough to hit, but unfortunately, I’ve not been thinking about about me but a dear friend who passed on a couple of weeks ago, Michael D. Foster at 59 years old. You know the type of friend, who I’m talking about someone who you would spend hours with just goofing and then somehow you lose touch. With a single phone call from a friend on my birthday to wish me well yesterday, I was reminded of the fragility of all of this with a single sentence “So I got bad news too — Foster’s dead, not sure you knew”.

Foster was just one of those guys who are one of life’s examples that people are often much more than what they appear on the surface. An unfortunate example of this is the recent death of Tim Russert, he wasn’t just a great political mind, but apparently he was Superman. Foster had a little bit of Superman in him too, he may not have been the godfather to 3 kids or famous on air personality, but he had the same type of unknown side by most. His day job was a way to a means, but family, friends and trying to do something better was his focus. He’s that unlikely sage who you random into at college house, that weird old guy who just happens to show up everywhere and then one day you just connect.

When I heard about Mike’s death yesterday, I immediately pictured him cackling/laughing, thought of his loyalty and his life long passion to do good for those around him. Mike wasn’t the type of guy who you see and say “I bet he’s a good guy”, in fact a good deal of folks would take a couple of steps the other way – he was disheveled to say the least and normally covered in paint, which is a good reason to step away. The guy ruined a couch of mine, got paint on my newly finished banister and tripped and broke a window at my house – kind of trainwreck actually, but part of the unpolished charm.

Mike was a proud father of two, Bob and Joe were central to at least 50% of the stories he would tell, sometime 20 times over – each time just a little more embellished, most of which both denied being something that actually happened, like most of us when our Dad’s tell stories out of school. He befriended probably 1000’s of people who met him during college and most of which drifted away every four years during the his nearly 30 years in and around Washtenaw county, I’m glad to say I met him. I’m glad I was able to learn from him, his lesson’s, his maxims and the crazy “music” he played on his numerous guitars which were never tuned. As his landlord, I had to try and respect the other renters, but secretly I didn’t give a shit – it was Foster, he had carte blanche as far as I was concerned, rent paid or not – mostly not.

So on this Fathers Day and with my slide in to the back half of the average life expectancy of a male, I’m just a little more focused on how to better understand where I’m going and how to not forget too many names. As a son, a father of 4 and a friend of couple of folks, I will challenge myself over the coming year to engage people just a little more and share my personal side with the folks I interact with. Perhaps I can be just a little more Dopp-esque and acknowledge those intersects with people and better prioritize things so that those intersections so they can happen just a little more than they do today.

I’m not quite sure where I’m going….

While I thought this might be a weekend where it was all about me, a mistake we ALL too often make, it’s become more about the people I know and thinking about what they are doing today. I’m glad I got the opportunity to catch up with Mike in May when I was in town, just one of those random schedule and geographic intersections.

Who are you going to catch up with Today? What are you going to prioritize a little higher over the next year?

Clock’s ticking and somewhere along the way it will run out and then you’re out of the picture…

Michael D. Foster

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1 Comment

  • Reply jon gatrell June 15, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Out of the picture:
    You may be quite sure you know where you’re going But sooner or later you&#8.. http://tinyurl.com/6btasx

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