On a whole new topic

Tom Crowe from Long Beach was here for my birthday weekend. We saw Mamma Mia, a most energetic, peppy show at Phoenix Little Theater on Friday night (the male dancers were nice to look at too), looked at Phoenix from the top of Dobbins Lookout on South Mountain (it’s been years since I’ve been up there) and we saw Beach Rats in Scottsdale a very independent adult look at adolescent confusion well-acted by a handsome Harris Dickenson. Hard to believe he’s a Brit what with his very authentic Brooklyn accent.

In between all of our activities, we were reminiscing about our common social work history. In the midst of our remembering, we recalled JC. He was a second year student who Tom had placed at our agency since we didn’t run background checks which would have revealed that JC had a felony record. It seems when he was 18 and a young man was just 16, they were caught in flagrante delecto in the backseat of a car. Seeing how this was in Santa Maria, the good christians there were eager to throw the book at poor JC.

To complicate matters, we were an agency that did home visits to older adults in Orange County. JC, despite some protests >. to the contrary, did not have reliable transportation to conduct home visits. He lived a block from me so we often commuted together but the ongoing issue of whether or not he had a car was the gist of some tension for me throughout the two semesters he was at our agency. Besides dealing with the administration who had exacting and unwieldy expectations regarding charting, the sudden firing of Mark O, the other interns and MFTs who were accumulating hours for licensure, trying to handle JC on top of that was a bit much.

I confess that I was attracted to him (of course) and had to suppress THAT issue in the midst of being his field instructor. It is no wonder that I was in poor health when I left in May of 2014, having completed supervision of JC and being quite ready to quit the agency that had become a nightmare.

I looked up JC online, including Facebook. And then I paused. Somehow, “Friending him” didn’t seem appropriate. I was mulling the matter over during dinner and I thought how I would feel if a teacher from CSULB or even from SJU wanted to friend me? In honesty, it would kind of creep me out. I may have admired that person in the classroom, but to learn more about them in a social setting was awkward. To have them know about me beyond a classroom setting felt like a breakdown of barriers. Barriers that had good reason to be there in place.

In tonight’s meditation, I heard the phrase “to have courage to make amends.” I thought about courage. Courage has to do with the heart. My heart is often leading me to places that are as wild as Mr. Toad’s Ride at Disneyland. I rely on my head to kick in and to offer the voice of reason, to rein in my passions. Sometimes that’s a losing battle — witness my obsessions with my young gay Arab Muslim men –but at least the head kicks in to minimize the damage or to sound retreat before I get my butt kicked financially or emotionally.

So, sadder but wiser. Such is the lot of life for old men. I’m not devastated; just sobered.

Hi ho



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