Friday, July 15, 2011

Two worst days of my life

I tripped across this post last night,  initially made over a year ago.  Given all the stress I'm feeling these days from our financial markets getting whipped all over the map based on what comes out of Washington,  this post brought a calm.  There have been worse periods in my life:

Two days stick out in my mind as the very worst of my life.

The runner up happened over 40 years ago, but remains as vivid as ever in my memory. When I was a child, we moved frequently. My father was a career military officer. Early in their careers, military officers move around the world at a head spinning pace. As a result, I attended 3 different first grade schools. I can remember riding the bus to school on the first day of the 3rd school. They dropped us off at the playground. I knew where my classroom was and headed to the door. All the kids were putting stuff on the floor outside the door to reserve a place in line, then heading out to the playground to play. It was a big deal to get a place as close to the door as possible. But I had no lunch box, coat or books to reserve a place. I didn't know what to do.

I fell victim to a 3rd grade con job. A group of 3rd grade boys came down the hall and started up a conversation. When they learned of my predicament, they convinced me to leave my lunch money as a marker in line. With naive ease, I plunked down my lunch money and headed out to the playground to play. You can guess what happened. When the bell rang, my lunch money was gone and I stood in the very back of the line. It was humiliating. I didn't eat lunch that day.

The day only got worse. At afternoon recess, some deranged kid, who is likely the leader of a modern day radical gay rights group, kept picking on me. The weird kid kept grabbing at my pants at recess and unzipping my zipper. I tried to run away and avoid him. He'd follow me and continue his games. I finally shoved him away. Of course my teacher only saw me shoving another child on the playground. Ouch. I got called out of the classroom. She delivered a slap across my face that left a protruding red welt which I still subconsciously feel 40 years later. I remember crying on the bus on the way home. I remember running to my room, burying my head in my pillow and crying myself to sleep. Bad day. It was a day that seared itself into my memory and left a life-long scar.

The worst day of my life? I walked into a voting booth on November 4, 2000 and voted for George W Bush. I voted to put Republicans back in control of our White House. I voted for the party who would adopt policies that destroyed our economy. I'm partly responsible for putting millions of Americans out of work, crushing the value of our homes and retirement plans, and sending our children off to senseless and expensive wars. Many of those children are now dead. I voted for the party that adopted such irresponsible fiscal policies that they all but bankrupted our country. That day really sucked. I am deeply ashamed. I hope to never repeat that day. And I won't. I'll never again vote for a Republican.

North Carolina deserves better than Republican Senator Richard Burr.

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