I wasn’t a stupid kid.
Well, that may depend on who you ask or who you are comparing me to.
What’s more, after I unload this on you, there’s a good chance you will take issue with my first point.
For those of you who don’t know, I spent most of my life morbidly obese.
The first time I lost a bunch of weight, it was because I elected to have surgery.
Between gastric bypass and regaining most of the weight back, I had a year or so of skinny.
(Yes, you can easily re-gain weight after gastric bypass. Some of you know that all too well.)
So, I was in my skinny year and, for the first time ever, I could do what skinny people do.
Sit in booths…
Buy clothes at normal stores…
Pee standing up…
You know, the stuff all you fit-for-life types do without thinking about it.
It was bliss!
One afternoon, while chatting on the phone, I rested my head on my free hand and felt a lump in my cheek.
It wasn’t a pimple, a bug bite or anything else identifiable.
It was a lump and I was concerned.
My Dr. didn’t know what it was and he was concerned too.
The specialist he sent me to was also concerned and requested a CAT scan.
Can you even imagine???
The thought that kept going through my mind was, I finally got my life back and now I have cancer.
When I arrived at the hospital for my scan, my sister in law’s sister, Jean, who I thought sold real estate, greeted me.
On my back, in a tube, amidst lights and noise…
My heart pounded and, with every worried thought spinning in my head, suddenly the machine stopped.
Through the intercom I heard Jean ask, “Jimmy, can you hear me?”.
“Yes Jean, I can… What’s up?”
“Jimmy, did you ever get shot in the face with a BB gun?”
“STEVE FOURNIER!” I replied…
“What?” she asked.
“Never mind. Yes, I was once shot with a BB gun, but it bounced off…”
“That’s what you think,” she exclaimed with a chuckle.
Before paintball, laser tag and common sense, I was a teenager.
This where I sound like the old man, lamenting: “When I was your age…” things were different.
We didn’t have your fancy paintball nonsense. We had BB guns, bottle rockets and the woods near Dave McCormick’s house.
I think I had safety glasses, but that didn’t protect my face and when Danny Cruise and I realized we were out of ammo, we made a run for it.
Fournier hid behind a tree and yelled, “Sneak attack!” Like a slow motion war movie scene, where a guy gets shot and falls to the ground, I was a man down.
I graduated from dear old Haverhill High with a welt on the left side of my face. When the swelling went down, I was so chubby I couldn’t tell that the BB was still inside.
As I write to you, I am 45, which makes the BB twenty-seven years old.
No, I didn’t have it removed…
I kept the BB to remind me of the fact that, sometimes in life we think something that wounded us years ago bounced off, only to find we were carrying it around the whole time.
No friends, you are not alone.
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