I know you aren't used to reading letters from me. It's unusual on this end too.
Just wanted to jot a few lines down to let you know how grateful I am to have you in my life. You've always been with me, really. Far before I ever took the plunge to use you to work through me from a stage to paying strangers. As far back as I can remember, I was using you to break the tension that I constantly found myself surrounded by. Tension was like my second skin as a child. When my Mom was having a manic episode and telling me I was John the Baptist and instructing me to baptize my siblings in the bathtub, you were there to guide me through.
"What have they done, Ma?"
"They're sinners, Johnny. We all are." my Mom replied.
"Well I guess I'll just ask Jesus to forgive them for eating all the cereal then...."
My Mom was in and out of mental institutions most of my childhood and even in to my adult years. You were important in staying balanced. Most of the time no one ever suspected that anything was wrong with me. I was always the first to crack a joke and to try and entertain a crowd. You worked as an amazing deflection device during those tough teenage years. So versatile, you.
My Dad was a businessman first and foremost. A steady provider for the family. Strong. My Mom would oftentimes refer to him as "her pillar of strength." He loved her. A lot. He stuck with her through all of the trips to the loony bin, but left her in my late teens. I can't say I blame him, it was a lot to deal with.
When I was in my early 20's my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. We all had faith that she would beat it. She was a tough lady. My whole family used you to get through the frightening times ahead. Through the chemo and the radiation and the remissions and the relapses you were always there for me. For us. You never left us.
I got married to a beautiful girl when I was 24. She had red hair and big opinions. I'm not the most handsome fella, so I owe my relationship with you for helping me land such a dame. Too bad I couldn't keep her. That's been a trend. Through all that, you never left me.
When my mother passed away to breast cancer when I was 26 it was the hardest time in my life. I still think about her every day. I miss her. I want to call her on the phone and get advice or just to tell her that I love her. We told each other that a lot. Through the billions of tears that I cried that day and many days after (and still now), you never left me.
I met another beautiful girl. She also had big opinions, although her hair color changed every other week. I loved her with all my heart. Part of my heart will always be hers, really. Sometimes people think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Sometimes it actually is! I've never been more heartbroken than when she left. Through the billions of tears I cried again, you never left me.
A couple of years back, my father passed away of a heart attack. It happened suddenly. It was shocking. We had made big plans to golf more and to have more barb-e-ques together. To talk more. To laugh more. Together. As a family. We never got around to it. And just like that, it's too late. Through the billions of tears I cried once more, you never left me.
It brings us to today and this letter. I spend most of my nights using you to attempt to make people happy. Sometimes it even works! Thank you for that.
I met a new girl and I hope that I can make her laugh too. Maybe even enough to stick around! Imagine that!
In closing, I just want to thank you for never leaving me. Who knows where I would be? I owe you my life, and I owe it to you to use you to make other lives better. Even if it's only for a tight 5-7 on a Wednesday night.
Johnny (the baptist)
Follow Johnny Taylor on Twitter @hipsterocracy or on the web at www.JohnnyIsntFunny.com