New Year’s Eve

Thirty five years ago tonight I was playing bass in a country band at a party being held at Sonny Look’s Steakhouse in the Sky in Houston. I don’t remember much about it, except that the leader of the band drank too much and was feeding a load of blarney to another band who had played in a party on the same floor that night. Our leader told these other guys that he liked their music and wanted to take them on tour with us through the southwest states: lots of gigs and money and contacts for future gigs and opportunities to record, etc. There wasn’t a word of truth in it, but the guy wasn’t actually lying. He was just so drunk, his mind was running just like someone who was asleep and having a dream. The other band, however, was clueless and swallowed the whole thing. Eventually, of course, they realized they’d been had when they never heard from our leader again.

I was fairly clueless myself back then. I was seventeen years old and making more money in one night than I’d make in a week as a pastor ten or fifteen years later. I had to check with our guitarist to make sure that what we were overhearing was, indeed, empty talk. I didn’t realize that drunks could be so eloquent.

It has occurred to me since then that everybody around me back then knew more about the ways of the world than I did. Whether it was selling a car, socializing in a beer joint, bribing someone, or noticing that someone was stoned on drugs, I never really knew what was going on. Analyzing it, I’d say that my peers knew more about doing wrong, but I knew more about doing right. I didn’t necessarily live up to what I knew, but I did know some things.

In the long run, I see that doing good is beneficial, but doing bad is destructive. There was probably some of that in mind when St. Paul wrote “I would have you to be wise concerning good and simple concerning evil.”  Some people will die accidentally tonight because they tried to have a good time by doing something wrong.  Me, I’ll watch a Red Skelton video with Wonder Wife and retire early.

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