Grow up in a white bread community and never had to worry about money? Go to good schools, were popular with the opposite sex and had a great relationship with your parents? Never wet the bed, been arrested, bullied, sexually assaulted or abused, incarcerated, drafted, beaten senseless and robbed? Well, a study just released by a world renowned expert in human tragedy … me, thinks you just might have gotten the shit end of the stick.
You might have missed out on the basic training that you’ll most likely need in the coming years. Like the Special Forces, Navy Seals or any good Marine, what doesn’t kill you only, makes you stronger or at least, smell stronger.
As I review my life and call up some of the horrifying situations that has shaped me into the wing nut I am today, I realize, ex post facto, (after the fact), the blessings that were perversely bestowed upon me.
Used judiciously, my catalogue of insults, trespass and injury, gives me a strange, comforting attitude and ironic sense of humor. Humor, by the way, is the only thing you will have left when life deserts you. And it will.
Squalor, bad teeth, ill fitting donated clothes, (that were excitedly pointed out by the donors at school ) a Goodwill Industries lay away plan, maniacal nuns, predatory gym teachers and even a state cop who sexually harassed me mercilessly. His name was Marvin Pratt from the Middleboro State Police Barracks, for the record. If he’s not dead by now, he should be. Last I heard, he was surrounded and arrested by his own guys at a motel with a nine year old boy. Prison love, served up cold. I hope.
I’m not trying to reverse engineer my early years to keep myself off the leather couch. Lord knows, I’ve entertained many a budding psychotherapist. But having rubbed shoulders with some of the more fortunate in my business career, my jealousy slowly turned to pity. They were cursed with an uneventful life, in my world weary opinion, of course.
I was telling someone a story once about a beating I took from a Catholic Brother at St. Joseph’s summer school, which I thought was actually a bit humorous because he fell down the stairs while swinging at me. (At least he wasn’t humping me) She stopped me with a horrified look on her face. She said “That’s not funny, that’s tragic, what’s wrong with you?” To each their own I guess.
So as I look back and take stock of all the experiences I have had, the good, the bad and the ugly, I realize that life isn’t supposed to run smoothly, that “only the strong survive” is not just some Darwinian theory. It’s a wonderful, indisputable fact.
Yeah, I look my age but don’t act it, I have everything I want but don’t need it. I have love that I most surely never take for granted and by the time I’m through with this body they can have it. Whoever “they” are.
Ex post facto, of course.