Long after the thrill of living is gone…

Have you ever heard a song that you have heard for, sadly I must admit it, for decades, and suddenly you hear something new?

This happened this weekend as I was driving back from recycling plastic bottles in Newport….

So we all know that musically, I never left the 80’s. Loverboy, Journey, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, to name a few are my jam! The sound track to Top Gun and Footloose? THAT will get me moving on a treadmill or walking the neighborhood. 

Well way back in the way WAY back days, our hero was in high school 

My first job was a as a bag boy, bagging groceries at the McChord commissary. We baggers worked for tips, so the taster you worked, the more you bagged and the more you earned. I was DAMN good, and averaged $5 an hour, cash on the barrelhead, which in 1982 was decent wages.

But I digress a bit.

Come lunch time a bunch of us would pile into someones car and beeline to Godfathers pizza for the lunch all you can eat buffet.

A bit of a side note here. For this job I cycled about 10 miles each way from home and back. I would pedal to work and move ALL day long, and pedal home. Plus I was 17. I could EAT some pizza!! I got my money’s worth EVERY trip!

Sorry digressed again, but we are getting there…

So we would get there and hit the Juke box for tunes, the first couple were random. But somehow it worked out that we developed a signal. The very last song was “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett. By the time the song was ending, we had damn well be out the door and heading for the car. Bill Crocker, our boss, did NOT tolerate being late! “There’s plenty out there waiting their turns for your jobs!!” was a common refrain. 

The preamble to the Joan though was John Mellencamp’s (back then he was John Cougar) “Jack and Diane.” (when this came on we had time to grab one last piece or two!) 

The chorus goes “Oh yeah, life goes onnnn, long after the thrill, of livin in gonnneeee”

And of course, there I am alone in the car, heading home, driving over Cape Foulweather, just a singing away……

And maybe for the first time the lyric made stop and think…

OK it was near the end of the song, I hate not finishing once I start a belting out a song….

But stop I did and thinking, it  happened…

I wonder if John, back in 80s, may have figured out why some people get angry, sad and grouchy and stay that way ALL the time!

I think he meant the lyrics, back then, to warn us teens who thought we ruled the world that someday adulting would happen and thrill of living would leave us. Unhappiness was ahead.

I’ve seen it happen to people. Job’s, life. responsibility, kids, money concerns, commutes, health, any and all of these can cause people to lose the thrill of living. They have the weight of the world on them. Everyone is against them. The other person always gets the breaks. Why the hell are they laughing don’t they have work to do??  I hate my life…. 

I remember one person I used to work with. I learned quickly never to say more than hello to her in the morning. If you made the mistake of asking. “How are you?” the litany of woes that happened just that morning would make you depressed all day long…. I started pretending to be on the phone when she would come in the office and just wave. 

There is no time frame the thrill can be lost. I think all babies and toddlers have it. The wonder of the world never ceases to amaze them.

As they get into school though, especially high school and, it can dwindle some. Freely admit, Jr Hi and High School NOT my happiest years. 

I was holding on though, seeing the humor, making myself and other’s laugh. I graduated a chance of getting the eye of the tiger (yep 80s song!) And went off to College.

Everyone owes that one person in the world a debt they don’t know how to repay. As I started writing this I realized I was lucky enough to meet the one guy who showed me the Thrill of living can live forever. The man on the left, Jim Devitt ladies and gents! 

He, and his trusty sidekick Dave Whitely on the right were 2 of the Founders of the Strohs Bros and Fros. 

Dave and I (and my oldest friend Scott)  all learned a lot from this man. His goal in life is to enjoy life, and he does. He has done things, met people and had adventures that would fill a blog post of its own for years. 

He has had successes, set backs, and success again. But never have I seen him without a smile, a story and that look in his eye that you know meant there would be a story to tell after this day!  He helped meld the elder Strohsmen Dave, The Mudsuckler himself Mr. Scott Callahan, and your’s truly.

He and his lovely wife are currently raising their children. Those are some lucky kids! 

For the (OMG) over 33 years since I graduated from college I have tried to always keep the thrill of living alive. 

Along about 1995 I may have been in danger of losing it, in all honesty. Working in corporate America, homeowner, doing nothing but working sleeping and doing it all over the next day.  I coulda become a young grumpy old man. That was the year, though,  I was asked if I wanted to climb Mt, Rainier. The year Mountainstroh came to be. 


From that day forward in the mountains, then on the bike

And now my move to the ocean.

I do everything I can to keep the thrill of living alive and kicking  

I told you I went to Newport to recycle plastic bottles. Well, it was a amazing wave day that day! I made a point to stop along the way there.

and on the way back. 

Why? Cuz honestly, why the hell not? 

We all have errands and chores. But how can 5 or 10 minutes to take a break to enjoy life hurt? 

My bike ride this last weekend, it was cold and wet. Even cyclists sometimes grumble and get cranky when they ride in colder or wet weather. This is why I stop for photos. 

Appreciating what is around you, the things you see, keeps the thrill of living front and center. Honestly it can help you forget the weather.

I have been walking the same stretches of beach for 3 years now, and will be for many more to come. Some might think I’d get bored. And boredom can lead to sad and then sad mean thrill of living is gone. 

I say thee nay!!! (yes I am a nerd. but you don’t get to quote or Thor comics to often!)

You just have to see what is there, and there is ALWAYS something different, something new hell a new perspective to catch your interest. 

Life is simply what you make of it. You don’t have to be s cyclist or live at the beach. Hell, just make people laugh! 

I made people laugh at my dads funeral (he woulda love that! (Maybe putting me up at the mike wasn’t the best idea)) For the record if there is ever a funeral for me, there better be story telling and laughing for hours! Oh and good wine, beer, coffee and teas for the non drinkers. 

This last week at work was hard. Hands down it stunk. I had a co worker (in a instant message) tell me he was at the end of the his rope and was about to lose it. So I replied HELL ME TOO! and sent him this photo

He called me and it took about a minute before he could stop laughing and speak. The day still sucked, but he said that photo made him laugh all day long!   Its the little things!

I get told on Facebook and by people in person (small town ya know) how much they appreciate the photos I post from walks and rides. 

Some can’t come to the ocean cuz of covid, others are tired of the news and negativity, some can’t go where I can go, or as often. 

Doesn’t matter.  They appreciate what I see as much as I do and they make sure to tell me. Its the little things! 

I am gonna keep the thrill of living alive as long as I am. I am gonna smile, laugh, stop and see things, travel, enjoy and relish life. Yes I will have bad days at work. today I was cranky as hell this morning, Michelle just prescribed extra kisses and hugs (Not sure HR would approve! don’t tell them) and the grouchy went away! 

I might be cold and callous, but damned if I am not (sometime long from now) going to go into the hereafter with stories to tell, a smile on my face, and one pretty darn worn out carcass from the adventures that are still ahead! 

Like the wind! 

4 thoughts on “Long after the thrill of living is gone…

  1. I absolutely LOVE this post — the story, the photos, the message! Thank you for starting my morning with a happy smile. And thanks for kicking off the post with a tune. It was nice to have the soundtrack of “Jack & Diane” running through my head as I read your words. That should be a prereq for every future blog post. Cheers, friend. Keep on livin’!

  2. Wow, you sent chills up my spine. Thanks Tony, and some things never change. As Jimmy Buffett says, “Livin’ my life like a song!”.

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