Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Begining

The following is an excerpt taken from a story I hope to one day complete:

~~~ I Once read somewhere that “We are the imagination of ourselves...” – I’ve forgotten where – it could have been on a t-shirt, in a fortune cookie or in one of those shitty zines you find in shitty coffee shops… doesn’t matter. The point is, I never imagined my life turning out like this: wound up and twisted the wrong way.

Each of us starts out the same: a pure, shapeless lump of potential. I hate that word – “potential”. To me, it’s synonymous with “failure”. It means; "not good enough" or at best, “half assed”. Teachers tell parents that their kid has “potential” like it’s divine intervention. This wretched term translates to the parental ear as: “Your kid might discover a cure for cancer,” or “Your kid may become president,” or whatever their shortcomings and dis-proportioned expectations might be.

It seems that in many cases, these people only become parents to distract themselves from the sad truth of their own un-developed “potential.”

Sadly, when a teacher tells them that their kid has “potential”, all they’re really saying is that your kid’s not a retard – be happy…

My own family experience was no less frustrating. For my parents, having a child was an act of reconciliation… a way of vicariously reliving their own lives with a sharpened sense of hindsight – lucky me, I was their collaborated effort. Growing up, I envisioned carefully laid blueprints showing what on me was to go where and how.

“No, Dear,” My mother would say to my father, “That’s his arm.” I could see my father drinking gallons of milk and doubling up on iron and protein supplements months before clumsily coming too soon into my mother’s frustrated womb.

This is a night I often curse.

In my opinion, just because you can have children, doesn't mean you should. It often baffles me on how much bureaucratic bullshit you have to sift through just to obtain a driver’s license… Prospective parents, I think, should have to take a test.

“Sorry folks, you got 48 out of 100 points – 90 is passing.” BAM! Down comes the huge rubber stamp – ‘F’ in bright red neon. “Better luck next time.” This, of course, would send my father into a frenzy of male posturing.

“This is an outrage! Blah, blah, blah…” I can almost see him pounding on the table for punctuation as my mother calmly shoos him away. She always plays the good cop.

“Can’t you bend the rules this one time?” She’d have those blueprints out at this point, drawing the clerk in closer, making eye contact and slightly licking her perfectly lined lips; “We’ve been working on this for quite some time.” The clerk, no doubt, is watching his line zigzag out the front door.

“I’m sorry ma’am,” he says severely, “No children for you.” He motions to a nearby security guard; “In fact, I’m sending this officer home with you to collect any plants or animals you may have. Good day.”

Ah, but only in a perfect world would such a scene transpire. As it happens, I was born into this world a healthy, unassuming, eight pound lump of –“potential...”