Testicles, Ellis Island, and the Little Hill that Mocks Us

Posted on August 10, 2010


There is an old saying that states “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side”.

Because I have no life, I often sit and ponder what actions I would have taken as an American citizen living in New England during the mid 1800’s. Westward expansion was occurring at an astonishing rate. As my friends and neighbors were packing up their belongings, selling their properties, stuffing into a rickety old wagon, and joining a wagon train out west…would I have joined them?


If I was a citizen of Ireland at the turn of the 20th century, would I have made the decision to pack up my things, say goodbye to my family and friends, and board a wooden sailing ship bound for Ellis Island on the hope that I might find work building a railroad or something?  Knowing full well that I may never see my homeland and family again?

Would my desire for a new life, in a new place, outweigh any stability and comfort that I may have created for myself?

I think for me the answer is, no.

I am fully willing to admit that I do not posses the internal fortitude necessary to do such a thing. Perhaps that makes me boring, cowardly, or even a bad American. I don’t know.

What I DO know is that those people, in those times, who did those things in the face of the most unimaginable challenges, are some of the most courageous people in the world for whom I have the utmost respect.

But what about today?

Would I be willing to leave my cushy modern life and all that I know and have worked for, pack a van and drive a few hours to another location? Another life? Would I do it even knowing that contact can still be maintained with family and friends through telephones, Emails, Snail Mail, Facebook, text messages, Skype and other modern marvels of human contact?

I think the answer for me is still…no

Does that make me ultra boring, uber-cowardly, and a really bad American? Does it make me cautious or smart?

I don’t know.

What I DO know is that I highly respect those who endured those challenges hundreds of years ago and maintain the same amount of respect for those who choose to do it today. I think that anyone who is willing to leave everything behind on the hope that the grass will be greener behind the hill that mocks us, commands our respect.

Especially when they know full well that their house will be smaller and their paychecks will be cut in half by a new job that could let them go at a moments notice.

Is the grass greener on the other side?

Perhaps yes, perhaps no.

To me that is not the important part

To me, the important part is noticing the enourmous size of the person’s testicles that lay slung across their shoulders as they endure the trek to the other side…

green or not.

In a few weeks a very good friend of mine will be leaving his secure, comfy little world and trading it all in for a chance to experience what it might be like on the other side of that irritating, taunting little hill. He is one of the few who has chosen to take a leap of faith, pack up his life as he knows it,  sling his enormous man sack across his shoulders, and head off to a new life of the seemingly unknown.

I am conflicted in my feelings about this.

On one hand I am very happy for him and find myself elated at the thought of my good friend potentially finding the happiness he is so desparately seeking.

But on the other hand, his actions have set my own thoughts about these things into motion. Could I do what he is doing?

On the other hand I am sad to see him go. We have a great deal of history together, 10 years almost.

To stay, or not to stay. That is the question.

What is the wiser choice?

And why the fuck do I suddenly have three hands?

I suppose that in the end we all find ourselves to be the sum of our life’s experiences. Those experiences come mostly to us by the choices that we make. And my good friend made a decision. And his decision is to move forward in his life and begin another chapter.

Good for him…

But what am I left with?

I am left with the chapters that precede the one that looms before him. I am left with very fond memories – almost 10 years worth of chapters…

When I reflect upon these chapters, I recall faint images of working together in perfect unison as his dispatcher while he skillfully calmed a single, elderly woman alone in the middle of the night who was calling 911 because she thought somebody was burglarizing her home. I recall receiving a commendation from the Chief of Police for our actions that night.

We were just doing our job.

I recall when he was promoted early on in his career and how he often regretted not having had more experience prior to his sudden rise. I recall how much he deeply respected the 911 operators and dispatchers who worked every day at a job that he often felt he himself could not do as well as they could. His respect may not always have been voiced to those who served him, but it was there.

I know, because he told me…and I am his friend.

I recall him becoming my boss and what an awkward feeling that was for me, and I’m sure for him too. I recall him pointing out my mistakes. But what I most remember was him pointing out his own – which often negated mine.

I recall flying a Boeing 747 with him on a rainy, dark night over the coast of California. Ok, maybe it was a flight simulator at U.S. Airways, but it was pretty damn realistic to us.

I recall my own promotion. He was there, helping me the best he could. Guiding me and keeping me on the right track. If he saw me say or do something he didn’t agree with, he would tell me, give me a look, or tap me and politely say, “What the fuck”? He has a way of making you challenge stupidity and stand up for what you think is right…especially in the face of authority.

I recall the countless times he would stand up for a person who was being ridiculed and turn it around on those who mocked, forcing them to examine their own actions – and take responsibility for them.

I recall hours of deep discussion and heated debates about life, religion, and the probability of God’s existence. I recall the days that he would seem to be bursting at the seams, wanting to put his incredible writing out there for everyone to see, and encouraging him to move forward and allow the world to experience his incredible literary talents.

“After all” I told him, “aren’t words meant to be read”?


I recall each and every time he commented on a blog entry I would make, no matter how stupid or long or dull or ridiculous. I recall how sometimes his commentary would encourage me to continue writing and challenge my opinions and force me to think and research beyond what I thought were my limits.

I recall our differences in opinion on political and social issues and the discussions we would have…respectful ones.

When my good friend departs in a few weeks, I hope he finds what he is looking for on the other side of the hill that mocks each and every one of us -because he deserves it.

Why is he going?

Because the little hill that mocks him has finally gotten the better of him. He is leaving everything he knows and has worked for behind for several reasons. But I personally think the primary reason for his sudden departure lies in his deep desire to be in close proximity to a big, beautiful, picturesque, fucking mountain.

Will he find things to be greener on the other side?

Well…that is something only he can decide. And hopefully, just maybe…he will tell us if it is. I just hope that his journey is not slowed down too much by the sheer weight of his testicles, because I am really looking forward to the answer.

Fair winds and following seas Scott.

May your big ass mountain bring you the inpsiration and happiness that you are so worthy of.

-The Noble Sailor

Posted in: Life