Dear Ezra and Lian,
The first thing you need to know about Ned (name changed) is that he’s been struck by lightning; twice. Most people would think, “What an unlucky guy!” Then you would find out he’s had his jaw broken, ribs cracked and other bones broken on multiple occasions. “Wow, a dark cloud must hang over his head.” Ned, would eagerly tell you these stories of misfortune. Like most men, he externalizes these issues. God love him, but always it’s something or somebody else’s fault why he ends up lying in the hospital bed.
The entire underlying premise of my letters is that life is not random or fated entirely beyond our control. Whatever storms may come, we are the pilots of our own ships. “The fault lies not in our stars, but rather in ourselves.” We determine how we will respond. This implies we can learn from the mistakes of others and ourselves and not repeat them. Please, please, please learn from my mistakes. Ned, and millions like him, would argue in his own words “The Big Guy has it in for me”. Beyond providing me a friendship and hours of incredibly entertaining stories, Ned’s life should serve as an example to others. Here’s some life lessons from his life.
First, don’t run around outside in a lightning storm carrying metal objects like golf clubs or umbrellas.
Second, far easier to avoid trouble than trying to get out of trouble.
Third, the fight for justice is far more difficult than avoiding fights in the first place.
Fourth, fights and violence happen in “after hour clubs” and bars around closing time. Stay out of them and you will often stay out of trouble.
Fifth, don’t write cheques with your words that your body can’t cash.
Sixth, the people who would hurt you, don’t fight fair.
Seventh, let the small stuff go and where possible keep your mouth shut.
Eighth, you never know who a stranger actually is, what they can do or who their friends are.
Don’t ever feel sorry for your Dad. If I take a risk, it’s usually a calculated one. Low probability does not mean never. Sometimes, that means bad stuff has happened to me. Most of the time good things happen, that I never deserved. Love is risky. You may get hurt badly. All the same, Ezra and Lian, loving you was the best risk I ever took.