Chris regained consciousness like a shock. An immense, rasping breath burned into his lungs, his throat felt full of nails and razor blades. The weight of a building pressed down upon his …
Once, a boy lived in a small village. The village sat in the shadow of a mountain and the days were perpetually grey. One morning while looking at the sun’s glow peeking around the peak, the boy decided to dig a tunnel into the mountain.
He dug and he dug and he dug.
As the days passed, his family asked why he spent so much time digging, but the boy just shrugged and answered, ” I want to know what is inside the mountain.” As the weeks passed, his friends asked him what he was looking for, but the boy shrugged and responded, “I guess I’ll know when I see it.” As the years passed, the townspeople said to one another (but not to the man, since the boy had grown up at this point), “If he keeps up this digging, he’ll bring the whole mountain down one day.”
Nobody knew that the boy, now a man, had stopped digging through the mountain and had begun hollowing out the middle. It was darker than one could imagine and the man found that even his lantern was not enough to light the cavern he had created so he dug a hole to the top to let in some sunlight. Once his shovel poked through the mountain’s highest point next to the only tree growing on its otherwise barren cap, the man climbed out, laid down and rested in the sun’s warmth.
It was the best rest he had had for as long as he could remember.
As more years came and rolled away, the man grew older and older. He stopped digging and built a small house right in the center of the mountain. Though there was always some light that made it into the cavern, once a year on the summer solstice, the sun shined perfectly down the hole from the mountain’s top, brightly illuminating his home for just a few minutes.
It was a special time for the old man and filled him with joy.
The small village he had left grew during the years of his absence and it was now big enough that not all of it sat in shadow. His family, friends and the townspeople forgot about him.
As the old man reached his twilight years he decided to visit the town. He walked down the main street and looked around with awe at how the village of his childhood had grown. He went to the post office and asked if they knew whether his family still lived in the town and if anyone could tell him where to find them. A boy about the age the man had been when he’d first started digging overheard the old man. “That’s my family. Are you my Great-Uncle who disappeared into the mountain?” he asked innocently.
The old man shrugged and said, “Maybe.”
The young boy took the old man to his home. The old man’s family recognized him right away though it had been so many years since anyone had seen him. There were many hugs given and questions asked and the day passed quickly into evening and the family invited the old man to remain with them for the night since it would be too dark for him to return home. “The dark is no problem for me,” the old man said, “but I would like to stay with you for a little while longer.” The next morning, the old man woke and ate breakfast with his family. “I must go home now, but I would very much like you to visit me on the summer solstice. It would make me very happy to share my home with you as you have shared yours with me.” The family agreed to the old man’s request and said goodbye.
On the days leading to summer solstice, the old man was busy preparing for his guests. The old man thought he would burst with happiness when his family arrived.
My name is Ethan.
I’m four years old and I just started preschool.
I have a monkey named Turtle.
There are eight boys in my class.
Two Chris’s, two Matts and three Mikes.
I’m the odd Ethan.
Chris and Chris are good at making up games.
Matt and Matt both have really neat dinosaurs that walk and roar.
Tall Mike can climb anything.
Short Mike can run super fast.
Big Mike is strong. He can pick up tall Mike and short Mike at the same time.
There are also seven girls.
Christie and Jamie play with dolls who cry.
Claudia and Clair are on the swings every day.
Angie likes to draw and paint.
Margaret (not Maggie) is really smart.
Everyone knows that.
Edith always has her hair in braids.
She doesn’t talk much.
I guess I don’t talk much either.
I wish I could think of a game that everyone wanted to play.
I wish I could climb,
Or pick up all three Mikes at the same time.
I wish Turtle could do something like
Or even cry.
I don’t like dolls.
There are only two swings.
Nothing I paint looks right.
I try to stay away from Margaret. She’s really smart, but she’s also mean. Everyone knows that, too.
Here comes Edith.
“I like your monkey.”
“Thanks. His name is Turtle.”
“Turtle? You’re funny, Ethan.”
That makes me smile.
He doesn’t even know what he’s doing. And rather than utilize those around him to gain some knowledge, he just says, “I’m in charge!”
All I hear is, “Blargle, blargle!”
I mean, c’mon dude. This is the real world and there are real people in it with experience and drive to do things right and we know you’re the boss, so don’t be a dick.
I scream inside.
Hi, I’m nobody of importance. Most people are likely to say so. I like to think of myself as a firefighter. I’m a maker of happens. I’m an enabler, a supporter, a full-on problem sorter. I also hold the positons of shadow warmer, back of the room sitter and point of disregard. I’ve worked hard to get where I am though without that intent. If I were to leave the room right now, I’d find myself with a blank slate. No matter what I may accomplish, someone else seems to benefit, and anything I do is like exotic fruit; it ain’t crossing the border. I get no credit for past performance. I am cursed to start from zero.
It’s always been this way. Type B, that’s me. Associated with the right people, I can move mountains, but no one would notice my pushing. They’d simply realize the scenery was a bit nicer. I’m the guy ‘friends’ come to for advice or confession. I’m the guy who won’t appear to judge, and I won’t tell others your secrets. That’s because they’re not mine to tell.
Apparently, I’m NOT the guy who is asked to go ‘have fun’ or ‘hang out’. (I’ve written those in quotations because I don’t actually know what they means, never really had much chance at either.)
Now that I’m older, this condition I find myself in has become an occupation. I get paid for being the last one picked. Unfortunately, now I’m also compelled to interact with those I’d never associate in any Darwinian experiment.
So what can I do to change this?
Perhaps I can become this thing, camouflage myself in the skins of my enemy. Hide in plain sight, so to speak.
I will attempt to dissect the worst I can find. There’s this guy I work with who is so repulsive to me, everything I hate about the false front, hypocritically hyperbolic establishment of our society. He has a high opinion of himself and plenty of people to support that position.