You think you've never heard of Conor, but you have. If you've heard Eric Clapton sing "Tears In Heaven" you're familiar with Conor. He was Eric's son, who fell out of window in March of 1991. But his demise (sad and horrific as it may be) isn't the part of his life that holds me captive. It's his birth. Because, when retelling the details of that birth on August 21, 1986, Clapton wrote in his autobiography:
"I just had an incredible feeling that this was going to be the first real thing that had ever happened to me. Up till that moment, it seemed like my life had been a series of episodes that had very little meaning."
So a resume that would ultimately land you in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame THREE TIMES (once solo, once with Cream and once with The Yardbirds) had little meaning for you? Having your name scribbled on subway walls followed by "....is GOD" meant little? Changing the way people play guitar FOREVER meant little? A career that ultimately won 18 Grammys meant little?
If Eric Clapton, at ANY POINT, felt that his life had little meaning....dear GOD imagine how the rest of us on planet earth feel. Those of us with broken dreams, marriages, careers and promises...imagine how WE feel. I've read every word of Clapton's autobiography twice. And no words included hold as much meaning as the notion that he ever (EVER) felt like his life had little meaning.
I'm not alone in growing older by the day. Hell, everybody I know has pains and issues that remind us that we're "Growing older but not up...." (to quote another great songwriter whose roots are planted in soil much closer to my native soil than Clapton's) But inside all of us lives the fear that - as we near our expiration date - we've done NOTHING to make people's lives better.
I can live with never being monetarily rich. I only want to keep people I love comfortable. Anything past that is gravy. I can live with the hits & misses of career choices - they only gave me opportunity to meet some very cool people, some of them (though gone) still touch my life. But what I don't want to happen is to leave this opportunity thinking that I wasted time. You see my Mother lost 3 babies on the way to having me. That's a LOT of a pressure to live under....thinking 3 other souls didn't get to walk on this planet so that I could. Perhaps they would've done better. Perhaps they would've built buildings. Maybe they would've become philosophers, professors or engineers (like our father!) But they lost their shot so that this one person (ME!) could live to learn how to pluck a guitar, write a few songs, start a novel (or FIVE!) yell very loudly at Georgia Tech football games and make folks feel at home when they come to watch minor league baseball.
I wake up every morning and look at the sweetest face God ever put on earth. There is (and always will be) a good dog lying near where we sleep. If that's as good as it gets, then I really need to believe that I've won. But I'd like to tell Eric.................QUIT WHINING! YOU'RE CLAPTON!!!!!!!!