Saturday, December 29, 2012


I was sitting at Der Weinerschnitzel today, having a chili dog and mulling over my failures in life, when a family came in.  I glanced over at them, then went back to eating. 

But then I paused.  There had been something wrong with the boy.  I looked over once again to see a little boy, around five years old, standing in the line.  He was blond and cute and antsy, stomping his feet to shake off some of the snow . . . but there was something on his forehead. 

I stared harder, willing my eyesight to improve somehow.  There was a brown splotch on the boy's temple, right above his eyebrow, about two inches square.  At first I thought it was a bruise, but it was too red for that.  Some kind of growth, maybe?  A cancerous growth?

But no, I realized that what it had to be was a birthmark.  A big brown puzzle-piece shaped birthmark, smack in the center right of his forehead.

Holy moley, kids.  What would life be like to have a big stain like that on your face, not only in childhood, but for the rest of your life?  What nicknames would you get, what beatings would you encourage, what complexes would you develop, noticing that the first thing anybody notices when they look at you was the big discoloration on your temple.  This poor child.

And I started to think of my own life, and how miserable I've been for so long, finding things to complain about even on days when nothing bad happens.  Sure, I am a bit of a failure in life.  Sure, I lost my job again yesterday.  Sure, I'm somehow both skinny and fat.  Sure, no woman will allow me to touch her, and when I've done it anyway, they've twitched and shook as though I'd dumped on some fire ants.  Sure, I have very little money right now.  Sure, my car's heater has broken, but I still owe nearly two thousand dollars to repair it from last time.  Sure, what little talent I've been given in this life I have squandered by being too afraid of rejection to ever put myself out there.  Sure, I will die alone, and soon.

As I finished my meal, my heart was filled with a warmth that even the frigid temperatures outside (and in my car) might not extinguish.  Life is hard, yes, but it could be so much worse.  I may have a lot of problems, and even more defects as a person, BUT AT LEAST I DIDN'T HAVE A BIG DARK BIRTHMARK ON MY FACE. 

With that kind of freedom, I could start again.  I could move away and begin a new life, and make of it as I wish.  I could approach a pretty girl and say something to her, confident that whatever her reaction, she wouldn't be gazing in nausea at my forehead.  I could get a job somewhere, start saving up, get a new car, and let it take me wherever my heart (my newly-warmed, newly hopeful heart) might wish to take me.

I stood, straighter than before, and moved toward the exit, glancing at the poor, saintly child with tears in the corners of my eyes, wishing I might be able to thank him, encourage him, tell him that although things are tough, they--

Up close, I saw that it was no birthmark. 

It was a temporary tattoo of a Pokemon he'd applied himself, now fading almost to unrecognition. 

Stupid fucking kid.

1 comment:

AspiR said...

Here I was, looking through old blog posts to find the early episodes of The Podcast That Dares Not Speak Its Name so that I could re-listen to the archives and catalog the songs sung by Sir Fake Sean for you. But then I happened across -this- post.

Hell no, Rish Outfield!