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WISE ASS You know this person! In middle school his perfect sarcasm seems funny and bold and wise to our ears, makes adults and institutions seem hopelessly inept, disingenuous, insecure By high school, however, his wise ass negativity wins lots of first dates but never real girlfriends, even the bad girls back off, and the jocks and jazz drummers have better things to do than hear a bitter monologue about the social studies teacher, the new librarian’s hair-do, the gym teacher’s twitching left eye In college or the service he gets to see the nation, gets to travel overseas and build a bulging catalog of every quirk and fault in every community and culture – the languages and the hair, the religions and the traditions are simply stupid or depraved, insipid or immoral, patently unworthy of the exploratory tendencies of the intellect or the heart Newly in the workforce he is the unanimous selection for union representative but elected only once because he actually loves fighting, not negotiating, for the salaries and the benefits that his colleagues surely deserve The neighbors are sure that his wife is a saint, that the children are scarred, everyone hoping that she moves to New Zealand and the kids change their surnames, melt into the fabric of Chattanooga or Dubuque, perhaps Orono or Las Cruces leaving him alone to nail everyone he encounters with his porch signs and t-shirts, his infallible ability to see through good intentions to the deceitful, the liberal and the miserable among us who make everything so wrong! In the senior housing complex he has friends for three months then takes his meals alone in the company of others, his only real exercise the occasional walking back of an asinine comment or a bitter observation, and when moved to assisted living, his behavior is so bad that staff wishes out-loud for his early demise, a desirable situation which in spite of their strong commitment to the God of all good things, they successfully engineer for the good of all concerned!

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021

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