Rites of Passage or Rights of Passage?


A man that I visited in a nursing home had incurred two broken hips since I had last seen him. He is in his late eighties and apparently facing his remaining life in a room.

There is little about him that is downbeat. He is engaged. Not showing any sign of depression. His demeanor provoked me to look for weakness. Is he crazy, narcissistic, or just a good guy?

I find it easier to find fault than I do in praising him. He has undergone a rite of passage that I don’t think I ever will. I have come and gone into puberty, adulthood, middle age and now early old without any signs of evidence that I ever experience a passage of any sorts.  Other than time passing. I feel the same as yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

What I see in him as some kind of psychotic disturbance might be me looking dimly in a mirror. How have I jumped from sixteen to sixty-six without recognition? This man has been in the military and worn several other uniforms, many with badges. Occupations I would have spurned in my younger hours. I wanted recognition but never thought of it doing it the way he did.

Life for me has been more a passing than an entry. Until New Hampshire, moving from one town to another. It is what I see as intriguing about Lee Child’s fictional character Reacher.

Rather than hold to his military exploits, Reacher seems to wander into new realms. Where others might be insecure, he lives one day at a time and becomes prominent as a go to guy, a guy we might ask about life’s meaning. He is a wandering monk. A monastery is his likely next stop, not a nursing home.

One man real, and the other imagination, which one would I rather be?

8 thoughts on “Rites of Passage or Rights of Passage?

  1. lulu October 1, 2014 / 11:00 am

    We can make some choices about how to live life but not all it seems.

    • fictionfitz October 2, 2014 / 11:11 am

      much not, accepting.

  2. New Hampshire Garden Solutions October 1, 2014 / 7:01 pm

    He’s not crazy, he’s just looking forward to a glorious future. Who wouldn’t be upbeat?

    • fictionfitz October 2, 2014 / 11:18 am

      A wonderful thought, and knowing its source, not surprising. I have to accompany you more while driving. Does lightning strike twice?

      • New Hampshire Garden Solutions October 2, 2014 / 6:39 pm

        The Bible says the same thing! Lightning struck 5 or 6 times in a short amount of time but has been quiet ever since. I’m ever hopeful.

  3. Marilyn Armstrong October 1, 2014 / 10:11 pm

    Interesting. I don’t even know what I think about it. I can see why you find it uncomfortable. I don’t know anyone like that, so I have no experience to offer. Only that this was a very interesting piece of writing and unusually perceptive, especially about yourself.

    • fictionfitz October 2, 2014 / 11:12 am

      Thanks Marilyn, I receive as high compliment, writing a memoir about the other side of bliss is expanding my consciousness.

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