Have you ever had a pal who is a complete train wreck? Someone who just refuses to conform to societal norms? A guy or gal who just won’t comply to normalcy?
I have. His name is Mickey. He was my boss at my very first job in the trucking industry when I was just a teen. His nickname around the office was “Icky Mickey”. He didn’t mind the moniker. In fact, I think he rather liked it. He had a wee bit of a greasy reputation, and I think he liked it that way.
I could regale you of Mickey-isms….little statements he was renowned for spouting in the midst of dispatching trucks from Dallas to El Paso. But…alas…if I shared these “Mickey-isms”, this post would be regrettably X-rated. :)
There were things about Mickey that made him a challenge to deal with. But in my youth, I rather admired his rebellious spirit…his refusal to comply to societal expectations.
Mickey passed away last week. I’ve said fond farewell’s to many beloved’s in my short time on this Earth, but I think Mickey is the toughest good-bye to cough out from my soul.
Why is it so hard to release this man who could be said to be shady, off-kilter and questionably motivated? I guess you would have to know him. I don’t think many people knew him well…and I suspect he liked it that way.
Mickey was dark, maybe a bit crude. But he was gifted. He was intelligent. He was…in his own right…a king. What’s more…Mickey gave me something. He shared his heart with me. I think that was tough for him, but he did it anyway with his typical recklessness.
I was beaten and mistreated at the age of 16, and again at the age of 22.
I didn’t know what to do in either instance. For whatever reason, I chose to take solace in Icky Mickey. Do you know what he did? He talked to me. He spoke to me in hard-core terms. He revealed some major reality to me. He took me to Whataburger and laid down some heavy-duty facts of life amidst a sea of salty french fries and a big chocolate milkshake he bought for me. Mickey did this with a type of compassion that was both steely and soft at the same time. This guy was kind of crusty….but he showed me he had a tremendous heart. Not once…but twice.
Looking back on my time with Mickey…it seemed clear he was always looking out for me…maybe like a little sister. I wish I had taken more time to love him the way he deserved…respect him more…understand him more.
So what’s the point of all this? I suppose I’d just like to encourage all of us to never judge books by their covers. If you have a train wreck in your life…try to recognize the beauty within the damage.
Mostly, I guess I just want to encourage all of us to say “thank you” to those unspoken hero’s who crack open their hard shells…make themselves vulnerable for a brief moment in time…for no other reason than to give comfort to a soul in need.
To all those who are deemed ‘broken’ and/or misunderstood…my thoughts are with you.
I love you Mickey. Thank you for helping me. May you rest in peace.