Home » A Wasted Life » Doing Something For Myself

Doing Something For Myself

The C********* paper was owned by individuals instead of a huge conglomerate..  That was advantageous in some ways and dicey in others. The vice president, A*** A*******,  didn’t like J*** and the feeling was more than mutual.  A*** wanted J*** to extend special attention to certain establishments as well as to certain individuals and J*** didn’t think that was the right thing to do.  Apparently the former editor bent to his wishes and demands and J*** H*** was not a conformist.
I had met A*** on a few occasions and he was arrogant.  It may have just been the result of how he felt about J*** and it transferred to me.
They butted heads often.  A*** was a banker with absolutely no experience whatsoever and it incensed J*** that this guy wanted to tell him how to run the paper.  He’d tell me bits and pieces about work but never did tell me very much.  I always wanted to give him a hug and tell him I was on his side but I don’t think it would have meant anything to him.
In the early years of our marriage, I would meet him at the door to give him a hug.  He would immediately put his hands on my arms and try to get them down.  I kept trying and he kept not letting me.  At some point, I stopped.
There was one thing I continued to do.  It didn’t matter where he was going, be it to work, to play golf, to play music, to go to the store, or to go out of town.  I stood and waved to him until I couldn’t see him anymore.  I don’t know if it ever had any significance to him.
I remember two things that J***s’ daddy said that were so undeniably true.  He said “I always had the ability to leave work at work.  J*** has never had that ability.”  When they were visiting, he had seen how J*** acted when he came home.  The other thing he said was “I raised my sons to believe that nobody was better than they were.  Somewhere along the line, they turned it around and decided that they were better than everybody else.”  He seemed to be pleased with himself when he said it.
The events were ongoing and I continued to be left at the door or sitting at the table by myself.  I used to joke about it with my daughters.  I said if somebody abducted me at one of those functions and the police asked J*** what I was wearing, he wouldn’t be able to tell them because he never looked at me.  Why did I joke about that?   Why did I think that was okay?  Why didn’t I see that there was something inherently wrong with that?
I thought the long hours that he was working would pay off.  I thought someday he would notice me and there would be time for me.  I was lonesome when he was gone.  Over time, I realized that I was lonesome even when he was there.  He was either on the computer or reading a book, or playing golf or sitting outside drinking beer.  Even if he was sitting right beside me, I felt like he still wasn’t there.
The  trips to Denmark to play in the annual golf tournaments continued.  Sometimes he would wait until the night before to tell me. He came home one night and said he needed fifteen shirts for the trip.  I was a little annoyed.  It was late and I spent hours ironing those shirts.  The next morning I asked him if he had any idea how long it took to iron just one shirt.  Then I told him I needed more notice next time or he was going to take wrinkled shirts with him.  He did express appreciation for my efforts, though.
He would actually win those tournaments sometimes and it would render a nice gift.  It wasn’t just golf paraphernalia that was handed out as prizes.  Sometimes he would bring back lovely vases and would give them to me.
J*** loved the prestige of being the Executive Editor of the paper.  It was what he had been striving for since the beginning of his career.  He loved all the perks that went along with it, including dinners and after-work drinks.
He continued to go out and drink after work and then drive home.  I would be so mad that I couldn’t even look at him, let alone talk to him.  He always acted like he didn’t know what was wrong.  I would ask him what he thought would happen if he got stopped.  I asked him if he really thought because he was the great J*** H*** that they were going to just let him go.  We would get into huge fights over it.  I would say “it’s people like you who kill people like me.”  I guess it was that entitled attitude that made him think he wasn’t subject to the same laws as the rest of us.
I hated that attitude.  I hated the fact that he didn’t seem to care what I thought or how I felt…..about anything.  He always blamed me for having “puritan ways” and black and white views.  It was true that I tended to see everything in black and white, but the law is the law and if everybody viewed laws the way he did, what was the sense of even having them?  My views of what was right and wrong were unwavering and non-negotiable…..and were a source of great contempt for many people.
I had always wanted to be a doctor but circumstances didn’t permit.  Since it was just the two of us and I was basically still a newspaper widow, I wanted to do something for myself.  I decided to go to EMT school.  J*** thought it was a great idea and was very supportive.
All of my children, two who were firefighter/medics, were  so encouraging and had no doubt that I would be successful.  They had grown up with a mother who, as I said, suffered from the “I can do anything disease.”
I enrolled and I was silently scared to death.  It had been years since I had been in school.  I wasn’t sure if I even knew how to study.  Was I smart enough?  I knew that I was disciplined enough but discipline doesn’t save somebody’s life.  The prospect of blood and guts wasn’t going to be an issue.  I had lots of experience with that.  I had been a child once, and I had raised four children.
When I was about ten, I was playing outside near the railroad tracks at my grandma and grandpas’ house.  I only had one pair of shoes and those were for school, so I spent all my time barefoot. I was running down the tracks one day, pretending that I was trying to “hop” on a phantom train when I stepped on a broken bottle and almost cut my foot in half.  I checked it out and it was bleeding pretty good, so I ran back to the house.  I found a pair of my grandpas’ socks and got my grandmas’ needle and some thread.  It was a darning needle but I didn’t care.  All I could find was green thread, so I threaded the needle, sewed my foot up, wrapped it in the sock and went back out to play.  I thought I had done a pretty good job until two or three days later when my grandma saw a red streak running up my leg.  I had blood poisoning.
My experience with a mouse was much more rewarding.  I was out playing in the snow and I found a frozen mouse.  I picked it up and just held it until it started to warm up.  I wasn’t sure how long it had been dead but I decided to start pumping its heart with my thumb.  I did it for just a few seconds and all of sudden it took a gulp of air, jumped out of my hand and ran off.  I had saved my first life!

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