Ten minutes for a master’s

I’m not fond of waiting. Especially if I’ve done all I can do on something and have to wait on other people to do their part. 

Scanning for that station wagon

When I was in 7th grade, I begged my mom to let me play football. She initially refused because we only had one car and my stepdad took it to work. 

He worked nonconventional hours at the tortilla plant and my mom didn’t know anyone to ask to give me a ride home after practice. 

I was a crushed. I didn’t enjoy those first two weeks of school, taking P.E., while the many of the other boys got to put on helmets and pads and slam into each other. 

I got off the bus one day, completely dejected. I didn’t say “hi” to anyone and made a beeline for my bed. I cried into my pillow, thinking my dream of being a football player was over before it even began. 

Mom came into my room to console me. I made one last, desperate plea to her. I remember saying to her, “I don’t know why, but I feel like I was made for football.” I told her I was willing to walk home after practice, if need be.

My final plea worked. Somehow, some way, she managed to get the station wagon to pick me up after practice. It was during that football season that we moved from the trailer park to the old farm house off Violet Rd. I think we might have eventually gotten two cars.

It was a rare thing to have two fully functioning automobiles when I was growing up.

After practice, I’d stand in front of the school with the rest of the kids, feigning interest in what they were saying and doing. This was before the mass production of cell phones, so I took that time to read books. I’d look up from my pages every few minutes, hoping to see the station wagon pulling into the parking lot.

Nearly every car at that time resembled the station wagon while I was waiting.

Reapproaching anger

I remember feeling irritated that it took so long for my mom to come get me from practice. You might be thinking, Gosh, you just said you begged your mom to get you a ride and now you’re complaining? Yep, I was a seventh grader. Have you encountered one, if any, seventh grader who had the mature perspective to simply be appreciative of what’s been given (yes, given) to them? 

I could still be angry about many so-called injustices about my childhood. But I’m going to do my best to choose not to be. I have said before that I use anger as fuel for how I approach my sons’ rearing. I have come to realize that anger is a negative energy. As I reexamine the bad events of my youth, I realize I can choose how I remember them without resorting to anger. I can change that anger into gratitude.

  • I got to read books while I was waiting on my ride.
  • I got to participate in the activity I felt I “was made for.”
  • I get to teach my sons that it’s OK (even preferable at times) to be bored. Your mind is capable of many wonderful things when it’s unoccupied with screens.

In my journey to become a better person, one who can love himself and those around him, I finally accept that the transformation of negativity into positivity is simply a choice. Like turning over a coin. 

    The old college rule

    One day when I was in high school, my AP U.S. History teacher was a few minutes late to class. Ms. Martin had locked her door, so we were all standing outside her classroom. She finally approached and, unlocking the door, said triumphantly, “I got here with two minutes to spare! Since I have a master’s degree, you have to wait 10 minutes before you can walk away.”

    None of us got her meaning. We were high schoolers and didn’t have a choice to attend class. At least, no in the way college students do. 

    So, if I remember correctly you have to wait 5 minutes for a teacher with a bachelor’s, 10 for a master’s and 15 for a PhD. 

    My mom had a GED. So, by those rules, if I got tired of waiting, I could have just walked my happy ass home from practice instead of waiting for her. I don’t think you have to wait at all for a GED holder.

    But I’m glad I did.

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