Moneymaker (Season 3, Article 2)
My Greatest Weakness
By Chuck Morris
Loosely edited by Michael Beard
“It’s not like what I’m talking about is life or death or anything, it’s much bigger than that.” I am pretty sure this is a Yogi Berra quote but I heard it elsewhere. Either way this quote sums up pretty well how things have gone since my last column. The list of stuff in life that has gotten in the way of just getting to the track goes on a bit like a really bad country tune written by one of those folks who make up these Lifetime movies (hey don’t tell me you haven’t gotten sucked into watching these movies. If you got a woman, it’s happened to you too). The short form includes wife being diagnosed with breast cancer, me getting hit by a car traveling somewhere between ridiculous and ludicrous speed (I love Space Balls). [What’s the matter Colonel Sanders… chicken? – Ed.] The accident damage totaled my truck, damaged my racecar and car trailer. I wrote about that whole experience and shared it on my Facebook page and DRR in a blog called “A Day in the Life of the Luckiest Man Alive.” I wrote about the blog asking for prayers for my family knowing I needed the support to have faith. For a couple days after writing it I would wake up in the AM and read the positive responses from those who read it and sent prayers and well wishes my families way. This fed me strength when I felt very vulnerable and I am in debt to each and every one of those who took a moment to send a kind word.
I described the hours after my accident as some of the loneliest in my life. I was filled with these feelings of self-loathing, dejection and failure. I felt all I had tried to do was a miserable failure and I was not even capable of caring about anything, including racing. My only thoughts where would I be capable of getting out of bed and to be with my wife in a couple of days to find out what the first step to treating her breast cancer would be. These moments in the hospital, I was consumed with fear.
My response to fear has been my greatest weakness. My response to fear (until just about a year ago) was always the same. Anger. Embarrassment would also bring on anger, and anger for me is a dangerous animal. The reasons why this is my response to fear and or embarrassment: once upon a time in my life this response was the only way I could survive. I won’t bore you with the details here but for decades if I got scared and/or embarrassed, my knee jerk animalistic response was pure hatred towards whatever brought on the response.
A year ago, after a lifetime of losing my personal battle with fear I found the one thing to combat the darkness. Faith. For twenty plus years I have fought with the concept of faith as being the only path to free me from, well, me. While struggling in believing a situation would turn out correctly, about a year ago my mentor Bud McNasby (the dude is my living guardian angel, poor bastard) [They’re still trying to construct a pair of wings stout enough for the little cherub. –Ed.] said to me “believe I believe.” This phrase made me chuckle because I have heard the phrase for years in another part of my life. So I did exactly what my friend suggested and for the circumstance I am referring to, all turned out great.
One day, in the middle of having Bud’s faith as my momentary shield from my demons, I went fishing. For years when I fished, though, I had switched beliefs from atheist to agnostic to a feeling that God must hate me, I would pray. My prayers this particular day were like a small child challenging the almighty. I demanded, “Well God? If you’re really there, let me catch a really big fish.” After fishing about an hour and catching no fish, I went to leave my favorite fishing spot with the same cocky arrogance of more proof of no God. “Ha, I knew you weren’t there!” resounded in my head. As I went to leave, a guy settled into fishing right next to the hole I had been fishing. We chatted a minute and I began to walk away when he exclaimed “Oh my God!” I stop to see what his excitement is and he has likely the largest trout I have ever seen on his line. My new friend is in a panic on what to do next, so I ask him if he has a net. “No,” he replies, and I choose to go down to see if I can somehow assist him. I begin coaching him to wear this monster trout out by letting him run and then bringing him back in. After about five minutes of this routine I then instruct him to bring the fish to the shore. I reach in and grab the trout but when I do the line breaks. I don’t want to lose the beast so I jump in the brook up to my waist and push the trout out of the water and hand the guy I just met his feast. After getting out of the stream I feel this permagrin on my face and it dawns on me: I had just caught a Really Big Fish, just as I had prayed for!
The feeling that came over me in the moments that followed was that of a weight I had carried way to long, effortlessly being removed. You would think I would be ecstatic for a long time, but my thoughts went to the reality that if I only believed, nothing would change, because in my heart of hearts I know faith without work is as worthless as no faith at all. I have begun to trudge the path of having this faith since this moment and my life has been dramatically for the better in this very short time.
Now comes my first test of my new faith a year after I have begun to rely on it, and I am struggling - at times failing to follow a path that gets me through fear, and I begin to revert. While racing our first weekend of points, a friend of mine feels it would be funny to scare me by slamming on their brakes behind me while riding there golf cart. A practical joke I myself would laugh at nine out of ten times, but in this instance it scares and embarrasses me and the same ferocious venom that fueled my life for decades returns. I verbally abuse the practical joker I care about as if they are my enemy. I don’t stop there, still blistering with the anger it brought from me I write a nasty note spilling more poison from my wound the next morning. No one deserves to be treated by anyone the way I treated this person and I can’t even begin to express my regret of my response.
In 2009, a similar display of ass hole came out of me during a race weekend and it began the process that fueled me to bettering life by losing 80 lbs. Just like in that circumstance, I have a responsibility not to continue to be the same sick person I have been. I have chosen to begin seeing a counselor to get me back on the right path. I can’t have my anger make decisions in my life anymore.
So why would I write such stuff about myself for anyone here to read? Mostly because I owe the person I hurt an amends. Also if anyone who reads this can relate to being me, know you are not alone and please don’t just believe being angry is the way it’s got to be.
[Maybe being a better human being doesn’t enter into the mathematical equation of turning on a win light, but take it to heart. First and foremost, drag racers are family. We compete on the race track, but the experience of drag racing as a whole would not BE whole without everything – and everybody – outside of the measured distance on the track. When you’re in a ‘better place’, not only will you be more fun to be around and be able to better enjoy the camaraderie of your extended family at the track, but you will have a clearer, more focused mind on the track, where you need it most. …Yes, of COURSE we’re trying to goad you into being a better person by telling you it’ll help your driving! :-)
Keep an eye out for the new Moneymaker Video Blog, where you’ll put a face to the name, as Chuck Morris drags us (and his bumper) along for a rollercoaster ride that Lifetime producers would envy. – Ed.]