Steady Eddie and Roller Coaster Rick

We all know Steady Eddie:

Cheerful, even-keeled, slow to anger, quick to smile, steady as the rising sun.

Eddie is the paragon. The gold-standard of married masculinity you constantly compare yourself to.

And you do not measure up.

In fact, your name could be Roller Coaster Rick.

For, whether visible or not, you flit from despair to elation and back again at blinding speed.

Unlike Eddy, you are restless: one moment playful and kind, the next distracted, impatient, roaring.

You are discontent.

And adding shame to misery is your mistaken assumption that all this makes you malformed, broken, abject… that you are, to everyone’s disappointment, so unlike Eddie.

But here’s the secret: Eddie isn’t steady, either.

Oh, he plays the part. But in the privacy of his four walls–or worse, within the privacy of his own skull–he too unspools, lost to his own demons.

And truly, Rick is better off, for it is better to air the truth of your discontent than to smother it with a smile.

For you cannot affect what you do not admit.

And just as there is no shame in speaking truth, though it be hard to hear, there is nothing admirable about falsifying contentment.

This does not exempt you from the responsibility of kindness. It simply means it is up to you. YOU are the one who must create the conditions by which you and your family flourish.

The life of a father will always be difficult. But it should not be deadening.

What Eddie takes as the inevitable numbing of the soul is in fact the soul’s alarm: its urge to dig deeper, to find new ways of living that better satisfy.

So stop aspiring to the glib smiles of Eddie. He’s worse off than you, for he has given up: the taste of revolution is no longer in his mouth.

Take the prodding, needling discontent and use it as to re-imagine your life.

Not a life “free of them,” but free for them, and with them.

Instead of masking the pain, tell your wife you want to rework this life you share:

To cut the slavery and banality and dead hours from your days.

To work both less and harder.

To love better and fiercer.

To weave magic through the hours.

In short, that you wish to create a family life of freedom and joy and passion that Eddie no longer has the conviction or will to create.

If we all lived in fixed immovable cages, with nothing to do but endure, then we should all be Eddies.

But any fate or fixity we see is just a figment of our darker imagination.

We should all be Ricks: reaching, longing, burning for a better life.


  1. Toby Cloninger says

    What’s so amazing is I started allot of this 8 months ago before I saw your LIT recently. I want to tell my story and inspire like I started and now I know how and love this stuff. Incredible things are going to happen. Toby

  2. Yeh I’m the roller coaster guy. I recently found myself putting on the sociopathic mask at work where I take order like a military grunt. I am making the trainsitoon from 3rd level slave to leve 4. I am not stopping until I reach level 5 LionKing status! -LZ
    Thanks Bryan Ward. May you and your family be blessed. May the moments you spend together taste like heaven. Stay lit, brother, the world needs this. Whether it knows it or not.

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