A newsroom. I was in my mid-twenties. Unruly red hair. Big nose. A necktie that was suffocating me. Don’t ask me how, but I had a job interview. I was pure nerves.
I had no business being there. But then, I have a well-documented history of being in places I shouldn’t be.
“No journalism degree?” the editor said, squinting at my resume which read like a Hardee’s breakfast menu.
“So, what’s your degree in?”
I explained that, at the time, I was in my ninth year of community college. And I was showing true potential as a promising liberal arts major.
“Aren’t you a little old to be applying?” she said. “What exactly do you want?”
It paralyzed me. I didn’t know how to answer. She waited. I made no human-like sounds. She asked me to leave.
Goodnight John Boy. Thanks for playing.
I loosened my necktie. I ordered three tacos from a Mexican dive downtown. The tacos came doused in a red sauce that would forever burn the protective lining from my lower gastrointestinal tract.
I sat on a curb.
What DID I want?
I saw a group of young men, walking the street, wearing suits and neckties. They did not look like me. They were cleancut, perfect teeth.
They probably had vocabularies which did not contain words like, “y'all,” and “twelve-pack.”
I was interrupted.
Across the street, I saw a young woman struggling to lift a wheelchair from her trunk. I offered to help. She asked if I’d lift her sister from the vehicle and place her into the chair. I did. I bear-hugged her sister, then lifted her out of the passenger seat.
And it did something to me. I discovered what I wanted.
And I’ll share it with you, if I may:
First: I want my friends to feel important. I want children to feel loved—all children. I want dogs to follow me for…