Dear XYZ Website,
I have a guest post for your consideration. It has now been rejected 1,298 times. I have been told it is too sad, too funny, too weird and too ordinary. Three out of the five editors at one place told me to go find a new house to haunt. I don’t really know what that means, but it doesn’t sound good to me. Halloween is almost a full year away.
Anyway, since I have a fragile male ego this criticism made me hide under my desk. Fortunately I was able to take the laptop with me and send out this note in the hope that you’ll accept this piece and then I’ll be able to come out from under the desk.That would be good because it is really crowded down here and my kids miss me.
The post is beneath the plus signs, that is unless you consider yourself to be a part of the Tea Party. If you are part of the Tea Party those are crosses that I put into the post to prove that I am a patriotic American who can sing every Lee Greenwood song that contains God Bless the USA in it.
Â I am not the cool guy and in spite of rumors to the contrary have never been him. That doesnâ€™t mean that I never wanted to be him, because the truth is that I did. At least I used to want to be him.
I suppose that you can blame it uponÂ the mean girlÂ that I shared a classroom with in junior high school. If I had to assign responsibility to someone for helping to educate me about my lack of cool it would be her. I didn’t care about Guess, Jordache or Calvin Klein.
Polo, Lacrosse and K-Swiss were names that I knew but didnâ€™t assign any sort of value to. At least I didn’t until she started in on me. I had thought that it was cool to pull my tube socks up as far as they could go. It was what we did, the boys and I.
That laughter and the taunting changed my mind. It fought not to let it show and for the most part I did a good job of not exposing how she and her friends had wounded me. I remember feeling confused and angry about it all.
New rules, that is what they were to me. New rules about how I was supposed to act and dress. Canâ€™t say that I remember telling my parents about what was happening. It was too embarrassing to share so I opted to ask for money to buy the right clothes. Dad looked at me and said he was sorry but they were too much.
I asked again and he told me that brands didn’t make a person and that I shouldn’t rely upon clothes to make me feel good about myself. It was good advice, but hard to hear. Not long after that conversation one of the male friends of the mean girl decided that it was his turn to take a swipe at me.
That was better because I knew how to deal with a boy who messed with me. I used my nondescript sneaker to help adjust his attitude towards me. Who knew that aiming low could be so effective.
Iâ€™d like to say that this had some sort of â€œJohn Hughesâ€ movie ending. Iâ€™d like to say that I figured out how to become the cool guy and ended up with a really cool girl but that would be a lie.
There was no metamorphosis into the cool guy, although I tried. In my head I saw myself turning into an 80’s version of Rick, the character that Bogart played in Casablanca. Or if not him, some version of Clint Eastwood playing Dirty Harry. You know, the guy with the steely eyed glare that you knew not to mess with.
Instead I think that ended up being more like George Costanza. Although in fairness to my family we didn’t celebrate Festivus. There were no feats of strength of airing of grievances to deal with.
And now I kind of like being more like George than Rick. It is more fun and a little easier to be the wacky, kind of off center type of guy. But than again, back in the day being more like Rick would have made it a hell of lot easier to get laid.
I know one thing for certain. If I was Rick, Casablanca would have had a much different ending. Old Rick would have shot the Nazi, gotten the girl and headed off into the sunset for one hell of a life.
On the other hand maybe being like George is better. Rick is used to getting the girl and George isn’t. So by not getting the girl Rick ends up devastated while George just goes about his life because it is business as usual.
Maybe I should just shut up and go by myself a pair of Calvin Klein jeans, a Polo shirt and some K-Swiss shoes because that would make me so much cooler.
Does Time Heal All Wounds?
They say time heals all wounds and that the memories of the past are softened by the success of the present but sometimes I wonder how much truth there is in that.
Sometimes I wonder if that is just something people say to try and Â make other people feel better. Sometimes I wonder if the people who say it believe it.
Maybe some wounds take longer to heal or they never do. Maybe some people never learn how to cope with the harder moments or accept they can’t be the person they think they should be.
I don’t know the answer but I do know it took me a while to figure out a solution that worked for me. Maybe this is part of how I developed such a thick skin and why I removed the filter from my mouth because now I am fearless when I speak.
Doesn’t mean I can’t control my mouth because I can and I do but sometimes I choose to provide you with the unadulterated version of exactly what I think of you.
A million years later the kid has grown up to be a mix of Clint and George but don’t ask him if he is cool because he doesn’t know and he doesn’t care.