Tuesday, July 12, 2011

But I Digress

It's not easy being the new kid. I was always the new kid. My family moved around a lot, not because of the military or job transfers, but because of ADHD.

I went from being the only black student in my 5th grade class in Boston to being the only white student in my new middle school in Philly. But I digress.

I joined a new therapy group last Tuesday night. I sat in the parking lot, nervous as hell. I smoked a Virginia Slim. Inhale, exhale. Relax, Gabe. They aren't going to tease you. This is a therapy group. They're just as damaged as you are. I mustered enough confidence to walk in. I walked in.

The high school basketball court was sectioned into two halves. The therapy half held a small circle of 10 chairs and a card table holding Chips Ahoy and coffee. The other half held basketball practice. Sectionals were tomorrow night. Go Eagles! But I digress.

I was the new kid again. Everyone looked at me and smiled those fake smiles you get when you walk into an art gallery wearing shorts. "Did anyone watch the Home Run Derby last night?" No response. I tried again. "I've been in therapy for 15 years!" Again, no response. What the hell is going on? I gave it one more shot. "The king of hearts is the only king in the deck without a mustache! Did you guys know that?" Some older gentleman rolled his eyes.

"Can we please get started, new guy? You're already 20 minutes late," said Mark or Greg (I can't remember), the therapist. There it was. NEW GUY. That's all I am to these people. I have at least a little bit of dignity. I stood up for myself.

"New guy? Is that all I am to you? What's next? Wedgies and swirlies? Another 3rd place finish in the science fair? Are you guys going to TP my house? Steal my tator tots? Make fun of my banana bike? Ask my sister to prom? Well she's not interested! So back off! She has a boyfriend back in Boston that's way bigger than you and is a black belt." I lost consciousness.

The next thing I remember, I was sitting against the wall, watching oddly tall 16 year olds shoot free throws. The Eagles lost in overtime the next night. They had a chance to win it with 3 seconds left. The shot hit back iron and the rival Spartans were Sectional Champs. Sometimes things just don't your way.

But I digress.

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