When I was a senior in high school, before school’s end, everyone had to go talk to his or her ”guidance counselor”. I distinctly remember him asking me what I wanted to do with my life. As he well knew, I had not applied to a single college. And as a second Ferguson to leave the ranks of Wasson High School, he knew that I wouldn’t be applying any time soon. The Ferguson kids didn’t do that. We didn’t come from the traditional American family. At the time, this was something I was so proud of. We were the rebels. My father the artist, and my mother, floating like a butterfly in and out of contract jobs was our way of life. We never had money. And my father wasn’t one to discuss the trappings of the liberal education. It was a place where Americans’ brains go to die. It was a place where your intellect would sooner leave your conscience than become something more worthy of your community. No, the message in our house was ”work hard, but not too hard.” Enjoy life. Something will come your way to sustain you. I sat across my counselor and said, with all sincerity, ”I don’t know. But I want to be something great.”
He scoffed. ”Well, that’s nice, but not realistic.” I sat there, dismayed actually. I wanted to hear something back with more of a sales approach. He could’ve lied. I would’ve preferred it.
Here I am nearly 20 years later. My daughter sits across from me, covered in Crayola markers, intent on creating some serious art all while singing a song about tooting into the whicker chair she sits upon. I know what you’re thinking, she comes from a long line of classy. When I belch as hard as I can, my son will yell, ”Ma!” and in his best 18 month old grammar, ”Ewww.” This of course makes my daughter and I laugh our butts off. These are the things that we do when daddy’s gone at work. Much to his dismay of course. He truly is from a long line of classy, and rules. The midwesterner in him is intent, at all times, on ensuring no one gets hurt, or makes lewd noises with their bodies… not that he is perfect by any means. I should at least preface this little post with that tidbit. He’s as much a “guy” as they come. All stinky and mannish. But there’s always that double standard.
But let’s face it, our differences go far beyond the belching and cursing. Did I mention the cursing? Yeah. I do that too. I try not to do it front of the kids of course. I’m not a redneck. But I have slipped a few “shit” moments into the universe, and only once has my daughter ratted me out to daddy about it. Thank God. However, Craig and I differ on larger issues. Like politics. We got into it the other day over the Occupy Wall Street movement. He was making fun of it and I was defending it to the core. Of course. I’m a liberal through and through. And I’m proud of it. And he’s conservative… and just as proud. While we were arguing, and it was getting more and more heated, I really wanted to smack him one. But instead, we rattled down the road in our Volvo, while our children listened intently to our stupid conversation. My daughter finally said, ”Hey you two! No more fighting!” And Craig said, ”We aren’t fighting honey. Your mom just can’t make an informed opinion about her “cause”.” I shot a look at him that could’ve killed, and she said, ”If I have to come up there!” Which made us both laugh, and stopped our arguing.
Yet here I sit, writing this nonsense, about nothing that anyone really cares about, and that’s okay; because I’m practicing you see. For something bigger. Something great.