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All You Can Do Is Laugh
By
Dreamcatcher

All You Can Do Is Laugh

I remember sitting in class in high school watching the other kids socialize and grab-ass. Their laughter ringing in my ears as if life was a plate of oysters, each one filled with pearls.

I was the oldest of eight kids with parents who were selfish, self-centered abusers, but they aren’t the subject of this tale.

Each morning I would have to get my brothers and sisters up, feed them breakfast, and comb their hair to get ready for school. Back in my day, a school lunch was thirty-five cents. If my parents didn’t have exact change, I would have to get the kids on the bus, run to the corner store, make change, then run the half-mile to school, go to each of their classrooms and give them lunch money.

Needless to say, this always made me late for my own class. As I looked around the classroom at the Ken and Barbies without a care in the world, each achieving social acceptance as an entitlement, to my teacher and them, I was just a fuck up who couldn’t make it to class on time.

So it would be another day of hunkering down in that stupid left-handed one-arm school desk/seat because it was the last one available. I’m right-handed.

I knew a long time ago there wouldn’t be any super-hero riding in on a winged stallion to make things better for me. I got the dude on a jack-ass with a push broom and a Bud Light.

Being underestimated is a great advantage. There is great pleasure in the shock and awe that comes from climbing to the top of the heap. Most of the time I was dragging that damn jack-ass behind me.

I saw a really cheesy movie as a young boy. Two guys were talking and the old grizzled guy says, “Son, as you go through life, there are going to be things that happen to you. You can look at them as obstacles or adventures. Adventurers always win.” The rest of the movie was absolute garbage.

Inspiration is found in the oddest places. Each failure. Each derogatory look. Each memory of another boy kissing the girl of your dreams. Each time someone else farted but everyone looks at you.

The memories have faded except for the look on my brothers and sisters faces as I took care of them. Life wasn’t fair for any of us back then. In their own way, each of them inspired me.

This wretched broken body is held together with tie-straps and tape now. I couldn’t hunker down in that chair again if I tried. The Ken and Barbies have all gone their way. The paths I chose led me to here.

My service to my country. My wife. My daughter. My grandson. My career. My life. All because of some dude on a jack-ass with a push broom and a Bud Light.

I don’t know when I figured it out. Maybe in the faces of my brothers and sisters. Maybe when I got married. Or maybe the births of my daughter or grandson.

I wasn’t supposed to be waiting for a super-hero. I was supposed to be one.

 

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