The Ironies of Life

November 12, 2009
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October 2, 2002
“Reduced Lunch for you this year Wilson?” asked the lunch lady.

“Yes” said Josh, embarrassed. Josh heard laughs come from the lunch line. He had gotten
reduced lunch for his entire school career. He had on one of his dark hoodies that people usually frowned upon.

“I won’t be poor for the rest of my life!” yelled Josh defensively to the group of girls laughing.

A cheerleader named Jennifer Hemmings came back by saying “Who you are now in high school is who you will be forever.” These words would stick in Josh’s brain- for a very long time.

After school that day, Josh was walking to his beaten up clunker car when he heard yelling coming up behind him. It was Bill Myers in his new yellow Mustang that blinded people in the sunlight. Bill was with his group of friends who looked like they were straight out of an Abercrombie and Fitch add.
“Nice ride, loser!” Bill called out slowing down long enough to make his point. Josh was glad to see him speed off out of the parking lot without other students hearing his cruel remarks. It would have been better had he gotten a speeding ticket from the police officer who had witnessed this exchange but chose to ignore it.

Josh glanced down at his watch thinking to himself that he better get a move on if he wanted to have time to jump on the internet before starting his shift at the grocery store at 5 o’clock. As he drove home, praying he wouldn’t break down he noticed Mrs. Henson, his elderly next door neighbor had pulled off to the side of Main Street with steam coming up from underneath the hood. “So much for free time,” he thought to himself with a shrug. He would have to help her because he knew her for many years. She was a kind woman.


Josh pulled up the hood to his bright yellow poncho as he dodged raindrops on his way to collect runaway carts. “Of course, it would start raining now. What else could happen today that could make this day any better?” Josh thought to himself miserably. In a blink of any eye, his questioned was answered as he witnessed a drunken Bill Myers roll through the supermarket parking lot most likely on his way to the high school dance that Josh himself had to miss because of work. It hadn’t mattered because Mr. Michaels, his boss, needed him.

“Minimum wage has its benefits! Now you won’t have to go through the humiliation of not having a date for the dance…..loser!” Bill shouted making his buddies howl with laughter.

“One day they’ll see.”, “Money isn’t everything.”, “What goes around, comes around.” Were the thoughts Josh had as he dreamed of the future to distract himself from the present.

October 2, 2009
The music blared as Kelly called out to Josh, “Have a good night at work, hon!” “Oh, don’t forget to bring an invitation to your college graduation for Mr. Michaels. He’s so proud of you.” she added.

Josh was only half listening as he had been daydreaming about his high school days when he first started as the cart boy. He was manager now but after earning his degree, he was ready to move on to bigger and better things.

“Well hello boy”, called Mr. Michaels. “I need you to watch the floor for a while. I have to go out. Here’s the register key.” As Mr. Michaels headed for the door he added “Oh, we have a delivery coming soon, please meet the driver outside.”

“At least it isn’t raining” Josh laughed to himself as he made his way to the door in time to notice that there was a guy peering into the open hood of clunker vehicle. “Can I help you?” he called to the driver.

The man stood up, bumped his head, swore softly and turned around. Josh was startled to see the face of Bill Myers peering back at him! “Josh old buddy, what’s up?” were the first words of Josh’s former nemesis. The conversation continued in a sociable way. It was clear to Josh that Bill’s friendliness came from embarrassment so he played along asking him if Bill wanted him to call a tow truck.

Through the conversation Josh discovered Bill couldn’t afford assistance so he rolled up his sleeves and got to work. The extra hours in his neighbors shop paid off. After an hour, one fixed car and one delivery truck later Josh was called to register 3.

“Mr. Wilson, I need the key and can you remind me how to enter these?” the young cashier asked holding up two food stamp checks.

As Josh thanked the customer for her patience, he was surprised to see that it was Jennifer Hemmings- who appeared to be worn out and stressed by the look of her ungroomed hair.

“Mom, can I have this gum?” her daughter asked with a whine to her voice.

“Not today honey.” Jennifer answered calmly. “Hey,” she said to Josh. “Aren’t you Josh Wilson?” “That’s funny,” she added. “I just saw Bill Myers a little while ago. He was on his way over here to get a job application.”





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