The Commodore 64 saved my life


I sit back and wonder: Could this have happened to anyone other than a Chicano kid who grew up in what amounted to the projects in Santa Fe, NM who happened to get a Commodore 64 for Christmas?  I mean, how many kids in the barrio ever get to have a computer that they can call their own?  It wasn’t like there was a commodities truck handing computers out along with the canned meat and processed cheese. I believe with all that I am that where I was born and where I grew up is as much a character in my life as any single person.

If someone were to look at the place I grew up and added a Commodore 64, that person could easily think that the great expanse of the universe had to complete a research project.  The gods must have been twiddling their thumbs when they allowed me to emerge into a circumstance that should have killed me, as it has so many of my homeboys.  At least those bored gods in the universe armed me with a little computer that has long since become a lifeline to remind me of who and what I am.

And I need reminding because I’ve lived a life in between: in-between cultures and in-between languages.  I’ve heard it said that demonic possession occurs when the targeted host is at a point of real confusion.  Whether or not you believe in such hokey things as possession and exorcism is immaterial to the point that confusion leads to bad things.  I mean, being torn between polar opposites can’t possibly be healthy.  I’ve come to see that when people end up knocking on Death’s doorstep, confusion makes an appearance as a guide to that doorstep.

Let’s face it; people don’t end up knocking on death’s proverbial doorstep because they’re healthy.  Nope.  Not at all.  People end up on death’s doorstep because at some point in their life’s path they stood at a crossroads and in their confusion chose to accept sickness as their only choice.  Now, I get that people don’t have the same access to opportunities and that even if they did; they still need to see those opportunities as accessible.  Regardless of opportunities, people don’t end battering down death’s door by any accident.

The flip side of that old coin is that healthy people who live joyful and healthy lives don’t just become healthy out of some great cosmic accident of chance.  Nope.  Healthy people tend to be healthy because they embrace every day as an opportunity to savor and cherish.  They find joy in the salmon run colored early morning sky and hear the music in the wind, even if it blows twenty below gusts that freeze faces into a numb that even Novocain couldn’t provide.  They savor that cold and the numb and don’ accuse the wind of playing a part in some great conspiracy against their person.  The healthy choose life.

I’m healthy because when  I stood at the crossroads between I chose life.  The work that life requires of me is rarely easy.  Still, I believe that every day is an opportunity to build a healthy world.  And when I get knocked down, I think about the love in my life and I remember the gifts of my life.  They remind me that each and every breath is also a gift, just like my Commodore 64.