The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 107
Out on the water away from Mohegan Rich tacked The Odyssey into a slight breeze. He felt the rhythm of the boat beneath him and between he and the sea. His heart was full of good as he thought about the time spent with Salty. “I wish I could take him with me. To have him with me would be better than the trip itself. His presence would assure success, but how much time does he really have? Such trip would either kill him or give him the spark to live another 10 years. It’s not practical. Sail on, dreamer.”
Rich entered the Rockland marina and docked just after eight o’clock. He was back at the apartment by nine and after a shower he laid in bed and thought, “All days are good, but some days are better than others; days you never want to end. I‘ve had a few of them and this happens to be one of the best.”
Rich slept well.
The next morning Rich arrived at the office at 7:20. Sam was braced over Gordy’s desk talking about running a story on a new ferry for the Vinalhaven crossing. Rich sat at his desk and started arranging notes left from last week.
Sam pushed himself from Gordy’s desk. “Out on the water yesterday?”
“Yeah,” Rich said. “Just wanted to get to some open water.”
“Anything exciting happen?” Sam said.
“No,” Rich said, “just a good sail.”
“How’d she handle?” Sam said.
“Sweet and smooth,” Rich said. “She practically sailed herself. In fact she did sail herself.”
“As soon as you get caught up can you come into my office.” Sam said.
“About 10 okay?” Rich said.
“10 will be fine,” Sam said.
Rich spent the first part of the morning rewriting local items from some of the small communities around the Rockland area. It was an assignment that Rich didn’t mind. Others thought is was beneath them, but given Rich’s background he thought nothing was beneath him.
When 10 o’clock arrived Rich ducked into Sam’s office.
“Have a seat,” Sam gestured. Rich sat and Sam continued. “I suppose you spent some time out on the water thinking.”
“Thinking a lot,” Rich said.
Sam’s countenance became serious as if he was about to announce something beyond expectation and dreadful. “Are you still determined to sail?”
“Yes,” Rich said, “more than ever.”
“Good,” Sam said. “I see great things for you, Rich. You are uncommon and extraordinary in many ways. I would like to help you.”
“You already have,” Rich said. “I don’t see how you could help me more.”
“This country is going to change,” Sam said. “It is picking up speed. The ones who place themselves in the right position to embrace and hasten the change will prosper. Do you recall the folks at the Stafford’s?”
“Yes,” Rich said. “Those are some of the people who will bring about a change and reformation of this country. You had a rare, rare privilege afforded to you. Remember what you wrote about Dylan, he is a sampling of the vanguard of a new age of change and newly formed, found, and forgotten freedoms?”
“Yes,” Rich said, “I remember writing that.”
“I passed that article to several of my colleagues and they thought it was brilliant,” Sam opened the center drawer of his desk. He reached inside. “A few other papers picked up the piece. Here is a check for your piece.”
Sam handed Rich a check. Rich looked at it. “Wow, it’s for seventy-five dollars.”
“Actually it was supposed to be seventy-four forty-five,” Sam said, “but The Beacon kicked in another fifty-five cents.”
“I had no idea,” Rich said. “What kind of money is there in syndication?”
“More than I make,“ Sam said, “but there is a movement in this country that needs voices, young voices. Voices that can motivate, unite, and mobilize young people. You can be one of those voices.”
“I can’t be a voice in the middle of the ocean,” Rich said.
“It is perfect,” Sam said. “It is the proverbial voice in the wilderness. It’s Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days. You write your thoughts about life, the world, society, change; the ocean and how nature has cleansed your soul of everything that you have be taught to believe that is a lie. Young people are asking questions and doubting. They are looking for a new direction. The books Frank and I gave you is the coming wave. People will ride it or be overcome by it. It‘s a new way of thinking. Exploring ideas and realms never thought possible. You sat in the Dylan audience. You can feel it, the times are changing. And you have that spark, Rich. You are at the right time.”
Rich folded the check and slid it into the inside pocket of his sport jacket. He stood. “That’s a lot to contemplate.” He walked to the door and opened it. “Thanks for thinking so much of me.”
Sam smiled. “I hope to have a son just like you.”
“That means a lot,” Rich said and exited Sam’s office and went to the newsroom.
Rich should have walked away from Sam’s office with an elated feeling of self-worth, but he was confused. He reviewed all the thing Sam had done for him; they were extraordinary. Sam’s words puzzled him. He was overly kind. It was almost dripping like honey from a spoon.
Rich could not perceive himself as a voice for the young. He wanted to only be a voice for himself.
Rich sat in his apartment that night a listened to his records. He tried to read. He sat in his chair nearly the entire night. He had only tea and toast. He was too disturbed to eat.
After some contemplation Rich felt Sam was not complimenting, rather flattering him. He felt as if he may be manipulated to do something Sam wants him to do. “Could it be Sam is grooming me?” He wandered.
The books given to him by Sam and Frank were as equally troubling. “I want solitude and I want to think what I think. I don’t want my thinking to be somebody else’s and I don’t want to promote another man’s thinking. I just want to report and be truthful and honest. I‘m not sailing to purge my soul of impurities. I want solitude and adventure. I want to accomplish something for myself. No one else has to know. Let others seek their own journey.”
From that day on Rich came to work with a dread of being confronted by Sam to take up his cause or to be questioned further. He felt his employment and friendship with Sam might be in jeopardy if he expressed a view contrary or even neutral.
Rich felt he was once again in a position where no one could be trusted. He was so close to opening up to others; to live a sort of emotional freedom. Dennis and Peggy were good friends of the Sam, he could not go to Dennis. Rich felt there was a bound between them that was more than intellectual. There was an unspoken language and understanding between them. Thought, they were different types of writers they seemed to connect on a level he was not certain of what it was. Much of the time Rich thought it was paranoia creeping into his thoughts and at other times he felt quite certain and rational. Rich intellectually dismissed his feelings and just wild wanderings of an immature nature. “I shall mature and grow out of it,” he concluded in thought.
There was something Rich needed to find out. He was not certain it was about himself or Sam, but he needed to test something out. Sam had a fundamental change toward life or a fundamental change toward him. “There was something different about Sam,” Rich thought, “or is it just my paranoia?” Sam always told Rich to verify his instincts and suspicions. And to do so from several perspectives. “It’s like setting up a lab experiment, he said. “You just don’t try it once and get the results you want; you test something over and over to make certain of the results. If something is true it is true from more than one angle.”