Changing of the Guard


My brother, Jack, just ended his time as our community’s Director, President, Chief in Command, god, or whatever they are calling the position this week. “I get enough complaints from my own family,” he said, as he glowered at me over his cup of coffee. “Nowhere in the description of my position does it say my job is as maintenance or that I am responsible for driving imaginary monsters from anyone’s house at a moment’s notice.”

I avoided making eye contact and hoped that last one wasn’t the main reason he was resigning. So what, if I had called him, because I had heard something large scraping at my window, with mammoth sized claws and heavily breathing my name?   It was only once or twice. At 2 am. Last week.

 But, I am sure that wasn’t why he resigned. Even if I did have to hear about ‘some crazy old bat’ for days before he made his decision.

 The ideal for humanity is that we can live in a happy little world with singing bunnies and fluffy flowers, where everyone can get along, help each other, and be part of a joyful utopia.

 This would be wonderfully workable if we were all machines, with a pre-programmed “helping and happy” program that was error free and would never break down. In other words, Microsoft has no chance of making this program correctly, no matter how much money is thrown into it. 

If we can’t even keep our small groups happy, how is the world expected to get along? “Well, maybe if we didn’t have leaders…” But, then, we would have no one to blame when things went wrong. What’s the fun in that? 

Do you remember high school? Those carefree days of football games and seeing how long you can keep that guy’s letterman jacket, before he comes to your house with a police escort to take it back? When I watch a John Hughes movie, I sometimes think to myself how lovely it would be to do that all over again. THIS time , with my boisterous, ‘I don’t give a flying rat’s tail’ attitude, I would run the roost. Then, I look around at the community meeting and realize, I am still there. In the same place.

 For many parts of humanity, we don’t ever really grow out of adolescence. Oh, in a sense we do. On an individual basis. We grow up. We take our responsibilities seriously. We pay our bills. We watch the news. We form our more mature opinions.

 As groups, though, we still have the jocks and the cheerleaders. The band and the drama queens. The potheads and the nerds. 

When I was a youngster, I knew each of the jocks by name, could identify a cheerleader from a hundred yards away, could hold a fulfilling conversation with the potheads, and was nearly claimed by the nerds. Even though, I fought so hard on that. As I have grown older,  things have not really changed.  

The only real difference, now, is  I’m a bit more outspoken about my grievances and I find the Land of Misfit Toys, with the old man who thinks he’s an elf who wants to be a dentist, a much more appealing place than the world of pretty coiffed nails and perfectly polished golf carts. 

The cheers at the football game have turned to the sound of buzzing  bees in a cranky hive. Which is why Jack has passed the ball on to someone else who can enjoy the glory. Meanwhile, he says he’s thinking of feigning deafness for the rest of his life, in hopes that people will stop asking him silly questions such as, “Could you come over tomorrow and mark exactly how tall my next door neighbor’s grass is?” Guess, I’ll just use my own ruler this time.

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Published in: on May 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love it! and you hit the nail on the head 🙂

  2. Isn’t that the truth… it’s all high school again and again. At least I’m a bit more comfortable not fitting in this time around. Damn those bees are getting loud, though!

  3. Yep,

    Pretty much how it is.


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