We’re Still Here to Live Another Day

The lyrics below tell a true story that happened to me years ago. Back when I was much too naive and far too trusting. Trust needs to be earned, and it’s something that I gave to those who didn’t deserve it.

I met a man who could have been a friend. He was going to be living in his car. That’s how things were going for him. So I’ll refer to him here as Carl. I’ve kept his identity a secret, but I’ve forgotten his name anyway. As you’ll see, it’s an embarrassing story.

Carl had a chance to be sleeping on someone’s couch, and that might have ended up working out for him. Except he did some drugs there one night and flipped out. I was nearby, so I got called in to help with the situation. I was there when he broke a mirror and cut himself multiple times. He did those things very fast, but I was able to peacefully and quickly get a shard of glass out of his hand before he cut himself further and before he cut anyone else.

People are dangerous when they’re spooked and on drugs. Carl was so scared. It was a bad trip for him. That’s for sure. He even asked “Am I dead?” at one point. Then he attacked me as I was trying to get him outside to a vehicle so we could get him to the hospital. The driver was waiting outside when that happened.

Turns out that Carl gave me a concussion and a bleeding head wound. Like I said, people are dangerous when they’re spooked and on drugs. But he wasn’t done yet. With his fear-fueled rage, he was going to keep attacking.

Thankfully, I was still standing and I’m a lot taller than him, so I had the upper ground, so to speak. I hit back quickly and forcefully. Multiple times. I knew it might be my only chance, so I had to make it count. Again, thankfully, that was enough. I knocked some sense into Carl, and he calmed down and then cooperated with going to the hospital.

Carl did end up living in his car. He got patched up at the hospital, and he was kicked out of the place with the couch that same night. I asked about him some time later. Well, Carl had cleaned himself up and gotten going on the work that we could have collaborated on: copywriting.

I forgive Carl for the physical and very real attack. I know he was scared out of his mind that night. I forgive him, but it doesn’t mean that I need to have anything further to do with him. Carl’s story goes to show that someone can hit bottom, and they can still bounce back. In a good way.

I was there at that exact time in Carl’s life right before he turned things around. I know that things would have been worse if I hadn’t been there that night. It’s times like that where a dramatic example shows up, and I can see that I do have an important role to play sometimes.

Most times, it isn’t so easy to see what role I have to play. I’m still looking for my place in this world.

Now, here’s the story that I’ve just told you, but this time it’s in lyric form. For more to the story, see my response to Hopeful’s comment after this post.

We’re still here to live another day.

“Here to Live” lyrics / poem by James Barnett

It turns out we had some things in common
When we met, I saw some possibilities
I thought that we could help each other
Of course that thought was premature
It didn’t take that long for you to show
How you really are
A scared little boy trying
To make his way in the world

Picking up the shards of broken glass
Cleaning up the violent past
I didn’t think things would turn out quite that way
But we’re still here to live another day

You saw your reflection in a mirror
You got spooked and then broke the glass
You cut yourself as the mirror shattered
And then you cut yourself some more
You got bleeding quite profusely
You pissed yourself and kept on fainting
I tried to get you to the hospital
And then you physically attacked me
I had to fight you back in self-defense
Calm you down to get you mobile
You realized that I was trying to help you
You apologized and then complied

Picking up the shards of broken glass
Cleaning up the violent past
I didn’t think things would turn out quite that way
But we’re still here to live another day

Finally got you to the hospital
You had blood all over your white t-shirt
It was like a horror show
Strangely comical yet scary
How many of us could have died that night
I’ve kept your identity a secret
I wished you well and let you go
Last I heard, you were doing much better
You had reversed your downward spiral
You managed to improve your fortunes
Hey, there could still be hope for me

Picking up the shards of broken glass
Cleaning up the violent past
I didn’t think things would turn out quite that way
But we’re still here to live another day


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Until next time,

James Barnett

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2 thoughts on “We’re Still Here to Live Another Day”

  1. Dear James, this is a horrific story really. I think you are very brave and had to be savvy on your feet that night with Carl. It’s awful what situations people are in. Thankfully, things got resolved. … Don’t give up. You are a wonderful person with so much to give the world. I think of you as a kind of knight. A man of high integrity, sometimes in unexpected situations. Your heart is in the right place. You are a warrior. A warrior with a true heart. Take care of your heart. You are very worthy.

    1. Thank you, Hopeful. A lot happened that night. After getting Carl to the hospital, cleaning up the broken mirror and the blood, putting Carl’s stuff into his car, waiting for him to get stitches, driving his car to the hospital, and saying goodbye to Carl at his car after giving him his car key, I only got to have a 15 minute nap before leaving for work. Carl realized that he had been moved out, and he accepted that fact very well. I do have to give him credit for that. In those hours since Carl broke the mirror, he had been recovering from his non-fatal overdose. He said something very wise right then.

      I wish I could remember it exactly. Carl’s demeanor and what he said made me realize that he was going to be okay. Better than okay in fact. Carl’s experience that night showed him how precious life is and how valuable life is. He had gone through an initiation from boyhood into manhood. I refer to him as a “scared little boy” in the lyrics, but that describes how he was earlier that night. When I said goodbye, I saw that Carl was becoming a man. He was going to take care of himself properly. He had made the choice to be responsible, and he was resolved to live up to that.

      Carl did have another place to go to, so he wasn’t going to be living in his car for long. He also got some help with his mindset soon afterwards, too, the same help that I had gotten the month before. Based on what I know, it’s tempting to think that Carl got taking better charge over his own life than I have over my life. He survived the ordeal that night, and his mind opened up to the possibilities of what he could accomplish. I don’t wish his experience on anyone, but he did pick a helpful, empowering perspective on the whole thing. And that’s what matters the most.

      I remember telling you about what happened that night. I didn’t write the song until nearly a year later. And I had forgotten about the song until I was looking for what to share in this post.

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