I can remember one of the worst Christmases ever. I remember waking up one Christmas morning and someone had stolen all of my dad’s DJ equipment. Sadly after this day this exact thing would happen two more times in my life.
The main reason you could never call my family poor was because of my dad. People probably looked at me growing up and thought we were somehow well off. My dad sent me to private schools and bought me a car when I was 17. I always had enough of what I needed. But the reason I was able to have all of these things was that in addition to the hard back breaking 40 hour a week job my dad had he also had his own side businesses.
If you know my dad saying he’s a great DJ would really be an understatement. He’s the best. People just gravitate towards him. He knows how to make people have a good time. The way a scientist or an engineer knows their craft is the same way my dad knows music. Don’t ask him about the organization of his cds and records. He has his own personal way of organizing them. Maybe the same way as Rob from High Fidelity organized his as “autobiographical”. The music is just cataloged inside his head and his knowledge of the musical histories of some artists can not be rivaled. You wanna know how Curtis Mayfield started out and what hits lead to his success? Yeah my dad will tell you. And if you keep listening maybe he’ll tell you some stories about his days being on the road with Ray Charles or James Brown.
My dad started DJing because of his love of music and people. He loved to sing and entertain. When he saw how popular he was with people he knew it could be a good side business. A way of helping us bring in more money to pay rent. Those DJ gigs are what paid my way through high school and college.
My dad’s records were his pride and joy. Some of them he had saved up from over the years and others he had accumulated with time and patience. This was back in the day when vinyl really meant something. Before you could easily download an artist’s entire catalog for cheap. It took a lot of time and energy to acquire all that music. It took dedication and money. All that time, dedication, and money came crashing down one Christmas morning.
I remember the look on my dad’s face. My dad is all about “tough love”. He isn’t one to show any emotion. But the few times I have seen him really sad in my life have just broke me. This was one of those times. It was just another example that our family just couldn’t catch a break. You work hard and build something for yourself and people get jealous. You could be the richest man or the poorest man but either way you’re not safe from someone’s jealousy.
My dad has always been full of wisdom. I can recite something he’s told me on an array of different subjects. He will tell you again and again until you know it like scripture. Jealous people and stealing were heavily talked about topics througout my life. “If you ever need something, we can sacrifice and find a way to get it. Don’t ever steal anything.” He would tell me this time and time again. I grew up with the knowledge that if I ever really needed anything, my dad would find a way to provide it for me.
That’s why this loss hurt so bad. Because I knew just how hard my dad worked to provide everything we had. It seemed like he was the last person on earth this should happen to. But it did, and it would again and again.
Why do people need things so badly? I want a lot of stuff sometimes. Its the consumer driven American in me. But I’ve never wanted something so bad that I didn’t want someone else to have it. I remember I made a friend once who talked about their stealing past with a glimmer in their eye as though they missed it and wish they could still be doing it. It made me not want to know them anymore. It made me want to run away from them as fast as I could and immediately get them out of my life. I didn’t want to be anywhere near someone who felt any sort of joy in taking things from others.
Someone stole something from me recently and it made me think about that Christmas morning. It made me think about everything my dad has ever told me. I thought about what he had done after that day. Someone took his stuff and what did he do? He started to rebuild. What did he do the next time? Get back up, rebuild again. And I know he’ll keep doing it over and over. Because its never over. The art of stealing is alive and well and will never go away. What’s important is that you make the right choice of what’s alive and well inside of you. And I know now what’s inside of me, I’m a rebuilder. I will always get back up again. Always.