Said it once before, but it bears repeating…
I wrote this in 2008, came across it tonight when cleaning out an old blogsite. At that time things were not going the best for me, professionally. After napalming my acting career and getting burned by a shady accountant (among MANY other mishaps that don’t need cataloguing here) I spent severaly years in a deep finanncial and social and emotional hole and several more climbing out.
The point is, life was bleak at the time and I would cling to any kernal of hope or tiniest hint of an optimistic outcome to keep me plugging through. It sucked. Most days. Every month. For years.
I’m sure many people have these rough patches in their lives. Life is, by definition, a bumpy ride for most of us. Not everyone has a support system or even one person to reach out the hand of compassion.
At that time my list was whittled down to two. Two people beside myself. One amazing woman who stuck with me through that and was ultimately crazy enough to marry me. I am, if not the luckiest human alive, certainly in that tiniest percentile. The other became my best friend; we make comics together now whenever our day jobs allow us.
I look back on that time and smile now. The one with the shark teeth. That was a time when nearly everyone who could kick me did. Because I was down so many seemed to be rooting for my failure and ultimate defeat.
Two things about defeat:
1) We all end up taking the same nap in the dirt for forever. Every baby. Every crone. All of us. The concept of defeat is basically meaningless in that light.
2) If you’re still breathing, it ain’t over. Not by a long shot.
When I wrote this post (not this one. the one coming up. the repost.) I’d just gotten a little bit of good news about the Star Trek novel I’d been lucky enough to be allowed to write. It should be noted that it fell off the list basically the following week. But I was there, baby, and it made me feel all kinds of vindicated. Eat enough breadcrumbs and it’s a loaf.
Anyway, that was 8 years ago. Feels like yesterday. Turns out, nearly everything does. Repost commencing in 5…4…3…2…
For Miss Name Thankfully Forgotten (originally posted in 2008)
When I was in high school I was called before the guidance councillor, Ms. Name Thankfully Forgotten. She was a skinny mahogany pole of a woman who smelled of something musty. She took a dim view of me and my activities which, while not truly delinquent, were certainly outside her frame of personal reference.
After a fairly stellar academic career and a stack of extra curricular activities, our difference of personality led this lovely woman to tell me that the career I should prepare myself for was one at the end of a mop.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a janitor. There’s nothing wrong with ANY job that you do well and in which you take a certain pride. My folks raised me to respect every person who warrants respect and job description has never been the determiner. Ms. Name Thankfully Forgotten’s intent is what is important here, you see. She found me, for whatever reason, the wrong sort of student. Too mouthy maybe or not as perfectly respectful of adult authority as she deemed appropriate or maybe she just didn’t like me. Whatever.
She sat me down in her office and, under color of her authority, proceeded to map out the rest of my life as she saw it. She wanted, in short, to hurt me. A child.
Now I’m no angel and I wasn’t then. But I never did anything wrong enough to merit even a reprimand from a teacher much less get suspended or even detention. And, it must be said, I didn’t much care for Ms. Name Thankfully Forgotten either.
Still, I had the good manners to steer clear of her whenever possible. Why tempt fate, right?
But she had it, as some might say, in for me and she made no secret of it. She tried, at the end of my senior year, to take this one last crippling shot at me. Needless to say, it didn’t work.
I’ve never been one to let somebody saying mean things to me slow me down. But it did piss me off. A grown-up trying to hurt me for no reason? Trying to wreck my life, my sense of self, just because she could? No. That was wrong. I can only imagine she did it to others both before and after I came along. I can just picture those other kids, who, for whatever reason, fell outside Ms. Name Thankfully Forgotten’s idea of the norm.
Maybe they weren’t all stiff-necked bastards like me. Maybe some of them actually took those edicts of hers to heart. Not everyone has the kind of parents I have or the sort of ego that gets angry at attacks rather than folding up shop. I can imagine some of those kids, if not folding, at least being hampered by the ghost of that ugly little woman and her ugly little mind. I can imagine it well.
I’ve met plenty of adults in my adult life who are complete bastards to children just because they can be. Viewed through adult eyes they’re nothing more than pathetic cowards but, to a child, they can be like the voice of doom. And they know it. They move through life being Absolutely Right about Absolutely Everything and punishing anyone who falls Outside. Well. Anyone they can.
I have to say that I actually hate people like them. Life’s plenty hard enough without them mucking it up for the rest of us. I wish they would all go away. But they don’t. They stay and muck and cripple.
So, it’s up to us, when we can, however we can, to let them and each other know that they aren’t right. Not about us and not about the world.
It’s hard, sure, even brutal on occasion, but it’s not evil. And being Outside one sect only means you’re In another, maybe a larger, maybe a better one.
They’re not right.
Spread the word.
And, if anyone reads this and knows this woman (presuming she’s still with us), maybe pass this next little tidbit on with a kiss from me.
About all of us.