I made an F in Sex, and I didn't even know they were grading me. With bitter tears sliding down my cheeks I ran two country blocks to the middle school where Dad was the principal. His tall office door was open, as it usually was after the last bell rang. I grabbed his leg and cried into his thigh as he closed his filing cabinet and sat me in his lap. I told him about the policemen asking us questions, puting ink on our fingers, and letting us see our very own record at the end of the line. Mine said, "*my name*, 11 April 78. Sex- F.
That was the first F I made... in first grade. My educational career would give me many more opportunities to screw things up, so to speak.
We all have to be good at something. Being naive has been one of my strong points.
Incidently, that first paragraph was also an opening to a brilliant short story I wrote in college. My idiot creative writing professor made me cut it. This is the same idiot professor with whom I had many arguments about the genre of fiction, specifically how incidents in fictious stories don't have to be entirely real. (That's why it's called fiction, dummy. Except I didn't call her dummy, although I did think it really loud in my head. And I made unimpressed faces at her; that really gets to the lit-types.)
Back to failure.
I have a friend who thinks he's a failure because he's had five suicide attempts that haven't ended in his death. In the black humor way it's mildly amusing, but other than that it makes me sad. It's sadder than a paragraph and the polar extreme to being naive.
But if I were to write a story about him it would be about a guy, an average guy, who found a mask-maker in his closet. It made lots of masks and he'd wear them out in town to show people, his friends, complete strangers -- to show them the kind of person he was. He would have lots of masks to choose from, the mask that he would wear for his friends, the mask to wear when he didn't want people to know he was sad, the drinking alternative mask. He would have a whole set of masks, and he'd wear them all at different times during the day. One day he would wake up and realize that after wearing all of the different masks for so long he wouldn't remember which mask was his real face. He'd ask his friends, but they wouldn't be much help because he had never let them see his real face before. They'd all give him a slightly different description of his real face, and he wouldn't realize that all of the descriptions would be little pieces of all of the masks he'd worn for them for years. The mask-maker in his closet would disappear. He would try for a long time to piece parts of all the masks together, but in the end he would have to look deep inside himself before he would figure out that nobody but him cared about the masks to begin with. And I could say that he'd throw away the masks, move to Austraila, and start over again, without the facade, but it would ultimately be up to him to decide who he wanted to be.
The end is lame, but that would be the general outline. I'd go for the whole Twilight Zone meets Seinfeld. But the problem is that, other than an outline, I've just not been in the mood to actually spend the time to write a real story. Maybe my mask is getting in the way, too; maybe not. Maybe the meaning of life is found when we all take a deeper look at our own masks. Or it could be to play with your marbles and eat all of your asparagus.
And in case you're wondering, over at this poll, I'm tied with the leader. If you've not voted, please go to the link above and just do it! Empower your marbles.