Cool Story, Grandpa. 

Growing up is creepy. It freaks me out a bit in its commonness. Like you hit an age and the whole world knows your life story because all those sitcom jokes turned out to be based in truth. 

“When I was your age…!”

Oh God here we go. Got any wine?

Hear this, young ones: But for the grace of God there goes you. And it’s not a ton of grace either my friend. Time is a fierce predator. So be nice, because you’re next. 

Well, I’m next. I didn’t mean to get old(ish) but I have kids and I like them so sometimes I find myself considering the future, which makes me all kinds of emotional which makes me nostalgic which makes me mad and keeps me up all night. With you. Telling…stories. 

We never locked our front door when I was a teenager. We’d left Philly and it was, like, luxurious to just walk out and leave it friendly. No one ever gave us a reason to lock it either. I left my cellphone in my car as much as possible (bought it to talk to my boyfriend and ended up tethering myself to my mother instead). Someone did eventually steal that but can’t say I missed it. 

A few years later I lived on a college campus literally half in/half out of the ghetto. It was some kind of phenomena. One side of the building was lined with adorablely quaint colonial houses, the other…well. You know those streets in a city that you’re so nervous to walk down that you don’t even notice the scenery but as soon as you’re safe you realize there wasn’t a damn thing on the street? Shady creepers, yeah, but like no street stuff like businesses or apartments or anything. It’s just a wasteland. Well that’s where they put the student parking. During the day you were (probably) ok but if you stayed out too late God help you. All I can say is I only parked there once. Cops told me the next day that I was living on a street of “crack houses” and sometimes they stole cars to trade for drugs. Not too shocking considering all the gun shots I fell asleep to, but still. That sucked. 

But…that’s nothing compared to what I see coming for my babies.  I’m an optimistic person. I don’t like negative shit. I’ve got another story about lending my car to a drug dealer that would keep you up all night. I didn’t know he was a drug dealer of course. Not until he offered to pay me in the drug of my choice. That was an awkward silence! But hey, he brought the car back! He wasn’t all bad. Heh. 

I’m trying to say I hate thinking but I’m being forced to and I hate it.  It’s all Hubs fault. People who shall remain nameless (for now) set off a series of events that just…well it pissed me off but he was just worried. I’m good at talking him out of trees so we faced that beast of a question with no possible answer “Why?!”

 Indeed. I was able to get to the root of it for him (getting a lil use out of that fancy education!) and he calmed down and is sleeping like a baby. 

I, however, am disturbed. The answer to that question is worse than the event that made you ask it. What question, you say. Oh, I’m sure you know it. 

What the hell is wrong with people?! Sure. You’ve probably screamed something of the sort in traffic or whatever. It used to be enough to say “People suck” and move on. But they suck at dinner, in line, on the phone, at the beach, in church…they suck everywhere all the time now. Look, I don’t like saying it either. If I didn’t have those babies I’d ignore it completely. I’d live a sweet, blissful, self absorbed life and I’d cut you off on your way to work because I’d be texting my girls about drinks later instead of watching the road as if lives were at stake. Takin a selfie, posting to Instagram, driving with my knees because you don’t exist in my world. 

Boom. I gave away the ending. 

At some point we all just turned up the finger on each other and went to our happy places, alone. King of a private kingdom. 

That’s old news. The thing that’s keeping me up right now is the thought I had when I came to that part in my story with Hub tonight. “But…I didn’t say screw you and crown myself King! I’m still here! Being the Good Guy!” 

Oh…good point. I mean I always knew that but selfish people take center stage so much that I’d forgotten that we exist too! They definitely exist..it’s a full time job sidestepping them enough to survive. You’d think, being selfish and all, they’d at least drive carefully in the interest of self preservation. I suppose the crown comes with nine lives or the guarantee of ten years like a crossroads contract. Who knows. I’m just the babysitter. 

The thing is, actions are subject to the laws of physics just like any tangible object. Especially negative actions. If you throw pain out into the world, it’s comin down on somebody. Guaranteed. Some people are fine with that, knowing it won’t fall on them    How you can live with yourself is beyond me but those people are not the subject tonight for once. 

Tonight, we talk about Us. The guy that stayed on post because it’s his job and the right thing to do. He does his time, takes care of his family, all that decent human stuff. Minds his own business. Except…

Except The self proclaimed King left work early and, well, somebody has to clean up that mess. (You get that this is all metaphorical, right?) Decent guy does it because for one he’s still a Human and two he has to in order to get home to his own life. King has left a trail of disaster so thick it can’t be avoided. If Decent guy wants to go on with his life, he must clean up after the Royals. 

What kind of life is that, I ask you? It’s the kind of situation you expect to last a few hours and ends in a paycheck. You know, work. Babysitting. But it’s not…it’s your life. You work the regular kind of work like everyone else but then you spend the rest of your time cleaning up after the Royal party. 

Screw that noise. 

I’m all about helpin a brother out. I mean that. Despite the statistical decay, I honestly love people. But this relationship has gotten toxic. At some point you either make your own paper crown and join the numbed over party or…

What?

I mean really…what? Im stumped, folks. Hub and I don’t want to join the Drones, we had plans to raise a couple of Good Guys. And we’re good guys. 

But I am so over cleaning up after people. I haven’t even had a chance to make my own messes, I’ve been so busy taking care of theirs. Everybody is born with that right at least – the right to screw up your own life if you want and deal with the consequences? 

When did the rules change? Why did they change? It’s only fair, right? You wanna fuck up your life, by all means! Just please…stay away from mine. 

Trying to get my point across without giving personal details is irritating. 

So damn inconvenient, paying for other people’s joy ride. From here it really looks like they’re having fun, ya know? It really looks like they’re doing whatever the hell they want, enjoying it, and getting away with it. 

No. Somebody pays. Somebody always pays. 

We used to comfort ourselves with the thought that being a good person paid off. You at least got your dignity. Shoveling the shit rolling down this hill suddenly doesn’t seem so dignified anymore. They told us that living that selfish life came with terrible consequences. They said we’d be glad we stayed on post. They said…

But then They decided they wanted something and they took it and now we have to pay for it. 

And They really do look like they’re having fun. Fifteen years of observation and I’ve yet to see any consequences. At least, not any they cared about. Loss of respect and relationships really doesn’t seem to offect them at all. 

Meanwhile we are covered in poo, paying the way for all their fun. Changing their proverbial diapers, being the shoulder they can lean on, doing all the things They taught us to do. 

What the hell, man. What am I to do with this? I don’t want to raise a couple of asshats or a couple of sucker doormats! 

The alternative? Yet to be seen. 

But I quit this job. Wipe your own ass. 

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