The Whole Enchilada

Paul Richardson

A few years ago, I encountered a young man who was several years younger than my own children. He had been raised by some parents who had filled his life with music. This music was not from his era, nor was it from his parent’s era, but was from an era removed from him by a least a generation and a half.

I had raised my children listening to the music that I had collected on vinyl, but always encouraging them to find their own rhythm and melody. For me to lay claim to music, or anything for that matter, was defined by being there at its origin. Experiencing an artist or an art form when it is first revealed provides a unique experience. This experience allows me to associate myself directly with that event or production in a way that it becomes a part of fabric of my life. While I might appreciate and enjoy something that is a half-generation or older, I don’t include it in the tapestry of my life.

Because of this philosophy, I am of the persuasion that one must personally experience at least a minimal amount of joy and trauma prior to labeling themselves with specific titles.

It was in 1968 when during my normal Saturday routine of delivering the weekly edition of Grit newspaper that my induction to a specific order occurred. My dad had brought home an old motorcycle a few weeks prior and once the beast was brought back to life, I began to utilize it for paper delivery and for my other job feeding bottle calves and sweeping out the dairy at a farm a little over a mile from my home.

It was during the delivery of the Grit at the home of a patron directly across from the dairy where I worked twice a day, that the motorcycle became flooded and would not start. I had a route to finish and things to do, so I began pushing the bike to the west and back towards my home in Newtonia. You are never really a biker unless you have overcome some specific things such as running out of fuel, forced to complete repairs with common items in some remote deserted location, and been forced to push your own bike for, at the minimum, a quarter of a mile.

Health inflictions or injuries have historically befallen upon me in groups of three. The last round began in 2008 with a heart attack, in 2009 I was stricken with cancer. Following the cancer, someone asked me about my state of mind, and I replied, “Unless you try it all, you never really appreciate the entire human experience.” I didn’t know what was next in line, but fortunately this grouping ended with just those two inflictions.

Don’t believe that I am implying you have to experience the worst possible things to be human, that was just a page from my life, but if you want to fill your enchilada with things that are yours, fill it with things that you have fully experienced. Go to the concerts, get out of the house and off of the internet, live life, because you can’t have the whole enchilada packed with items gathered vicariously!

-Paul Richardson is the proprietor of In Sane Marketing. He also writes a weekly column, The Horse I Rode In On, for The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser.