SOME BEACH…

by Steve Clem on March 15, 2012

I

It’s my most common daydream.

Selling most of my belongings, hopping into my already abused car with the belongings I want to keep, and driving until I find some beach, some where.

Where I can sit and sip a cold drink, nobody knows my name, and my first world problems will magically disappear.

The daydream has become so persistent that I start looking around at my belongings.

“Wonder how much I can get for this entertainment center the size of a small elephant? Oh wait, people don’t have big entertainment centers anymore. They use their walls for their TV.”

See I’m not sure I could even get enough money for my stuff to get me to this beach of wonder.

Because I’ve just never really cared about things.

People always mattered to me more than things. And last time I checked it’s still illegal to sell them.

I don’t own a flat screen TV.

I don’t have a DVR.

Or an iPod, or iPhone, or iPad. I just have iClemmy.

My furniture is worn, my car is at the later stages of it’s life, but still holding on.

So then I rethink my strategy. “Okay, how about instead I just walk away. They can think I disappeared into thin air, was abducted by aliens, or I’m drinking 40 ouncers in a secluded bunker with Elvis and Tupac.”

This strategy won’t work, either, though. Everyone who knows me would tell the authorities to search every beach in North America for me. Eventually they’d find me.

So then the daydream begins to fade, and I realize it will never be anything other than just that.

And then I look at my reality.

Why on Earth would I run away from my life?

Sure, I am not a wealthy man. At least not in my bank account.

But the people in my life, well they’re worth far more to me than any bank account. Anywhere.

And despite the awesome meat jokes it allows, it’s not my dream job to sell steaks for a living.

But it’s a job where professionally, I’ve grown immensely, and have had the pleasure to meet some really interesting people from all walks of life who wander through my store’s door.

And I don’t live in a big fancy house in the suburbs like I used to.

That’s fine by me. I hated taking care of 2,000 square feet and a half acre of grass anyway.

And I’m perfectly aware, as a 41-year-old single dad, that I probably should go out and spend some money to upgrade my attire now and then, if I ever want to land myself a date or two.

But, trust me, when it comes down to making a choice between keeping my sons fed versus buying a fancy pair of jeans and an overpriced t-shirt, well, you already know the answer.

And my sons. Ultimately they are my anchor that keeps me from heading to some beach.

I know now more than ever they need me. And I know I need them as well. We’re the three Clemsketeers. We get each other, in some Little Rascals kind of way, in our all male home.

Us Clem boys, we’re inseparable.

So if all three of us ever disappear, well, I hope you will simply tell the authorities the truth.

“I read on his blog that he wanted to go drink 40 ouncers with Tupac and Elvis.”

Steve Clem is a divorced dad, a recovering Republican, and a Prisoner in the Tundra. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being part of the largest Hokey Pokey of all time. He was the founding editor of the Iowa City weekly ICON.

(This piece originally appeared on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra)

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