Pick Me

March 22, 1999

Things are not always as they appear, and so wrote one diariast on the web just recently. The diary is gone now, but I was given permission to quote from it back then, so I will take the same liberty now. Writing about the search for the perfect man she said: "That quarterback you lusted for in high school? He farts for distance and defaulted on his college loans. That cute guy you see in the Starbucks on the way to work? Lives with his sister, works at Wal-Mart."

And so it is about so many of us I suspect, we hide behind walls of childhood fears and suspicion and rarely let the world around us, see us for who we really are.

Several months ago I was picked as an "Editor's Choice" on a writing site, and as might be suspected, I wrote about the event, but hid it away, lest someone stumble across my true feelings. For whatever reason I decided to bring it out into the light of day.

Pick Me - 2-26-1999

The child is frantic in the back of the room.

His arms are waving and he is so pleased with himself - because maybe in this room someone "of authority" can be pleased.

But the teachers, as so often did, picked the pet child with the demure smile, perfect writing, and complacent spirit.

That kid in the back of the room - Reminded her of a balloon filled up with air and released at who knows what odd moment. Launched like a rocket, exploding into activity of either the mental or physical variety.

Uncontrollable energy.

Too much to deal with.

Clumsy and with poor eye hand co-ordination, can't hit a baseball. It does not take long, and the teachers stop picking. The other children don't pick him for any activities either.

He hears words on a tape recorder in his head still.





But I am going to take this moment and remember a 12th grade psychology teacher who picked me. Perhaps it was just a confluence of events, learning to study with headphones on to block out all the distractions, and maybe it was "The Fountainhead."

But he wrote a paper. Somewhere in that book a light switch was turned on. I remember night after night reading in the living room at 2am - headphones blasting, returning to the record player every three minutes or so, to repeat the song - over and over again.


I remember her name; I am going to see if I can find her. She was single then, maybe divorced by now. I want to thank her personally.

Life can be short, she made a difference, and she deserves to know.

She gave me an A+ on that paper and said that it was brilliant. One kind thought and encouraging word propelled me out into the world a different child.

I found other faculty members who believed and guided and encouraged. That first year of college I was heaved into the dark night. I used to walk the railroad tracks at 2am wondering if I could just walk into the night freight. The ground shook, the whistle blew, I guess I always stepped off the tracks.

I finished those 4 years with lots of A's and lots of adventures. I got a scholarship to spend my Junior year in the Middle East. The first Master's degree was offered at a big 10 school, room, board, tuition, spending money, all paid for.

One teacher and one paper started it all. The child and I are having a hard time at this moment. I have virtually no memories of my childhood before the age of 12.

But I remember wishing

Would someone please pick me?