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I am not a Rocket Surgeon
Sometimes I believe I am, in fact, a zombie. All I do in life is sort of shuffle around lazily without much action. I moan and groan when there’s work to be done. I have a lack of hygiene and see clothes as dirty only after three days of continuously wearing them. Also, I am quite the carnivore, though I promise I don’t resort to cannibalism.
The truth of it is, I’m not a magnificent human being.
No awards, no great achievements for mom to put on the fridge. This is a guy with a “c” average and is happy with it. The role I play in day to day life is to write, and when I’m not writing, I think about writing. I watch a lot of T.V and movies. Sadly, I do get really excited when marathons run on the T.V schedule. I just sit down and write, listening to a T.V detective give out witty lines. And that’s enough for me.
“Johnnie,” Prue, a girl who is so small I wonder if she gets trampled in the halls at school, but she has big enough eyes to stare directly into the depths of my soul and I seem to grow cold… like now. Her hands on her hips, she talks down to me as I lay on my bed, “You are a pathetic person.”
“Thank you,” I say, burying my head deeper into my pillow. The pieces of fuzz stuck to it scratch my face, but in a good way.
“That’s not a compliment.”
“You face is not a compliment.”
“What?” I groan, peeking out to see her. I always know she’s serious when she’s wearing her contacts so she can look at me with intimidation. Still, I tell her, “It’s too early to say something clever.”
“It’s the afternoon,” she raises her brow like she’s got me.
“Then it’s too afternooney to be smart.”
In a huff, she drops her arms and rolls her eyes with her head. “That’s it.” Her word being final, she grabs my bed sheet and pulls hard enough to roll me right out of bed. My body literally makes that “thump” sound when I hit the ground. Groaning again, I push through the ache in my side and pull myself up as I tell her, “I can’t even be mad. That was awesome for some your size.”
Seeing her barely reach my shoulder, I look down to talk to her, “You’re like a little squirrel with rabies.”
After a good while of just starring at me, Prue hesitantly says, “I worry about you.”
It turns out she came over at the request of my mother. Prue throws clothes at me and demands I arrive inside her vehicle in three minutes. Normally I ask more questions, but since she’s already threw me to ground once today, I would rather not push it.
I’m there in two minutes and forty three seconds.
Her car is a shamble of a thing with three dents in the back and one in the front. Her left tail light is even out. Of course Prue would never be so reckless; the whole world is… though I think she just takes life a little too aggressively.
“Where are we going?” I ask, thinking it’s an appropriate question. I hop in the passenger’s seat and make no hesitation buckling.
Every time I do that, she always eyeballs me crossly. She dismisses it and rolls her eyes again, “The DMV.” The car starts and she continues out of my neighborhood. An irritation in her voice, she almost gasps at me, “How can a person fail the permit test three times?”
“Uuuuhhhh,” I gargle in my throat, wondering if there’s anyway to steer this conversation so it’s not a blow to my self confidence.
“You’re seventeen Johnnie, that’s really sad.”
“Let’s change the subject. Oh look!” I smile, “A new dent! I will name it Herb.”
She’s silent again. I’m good at silencing her. Well, until she finds the need to say, “I hate you.” It just makes me laugh.
The rest of the drive we do talk about other things like how she was at Barnes & Noble where the cashier undressed her with his eyes and I spouted quotes off movies and she tried to place them. “You fight like a dairy farmer… How appropriate, you fight like a cow,” I told her.
“Um… I don’t know.” She said distantly trying to find a parking place.
“Man I knew that!”
She pulls into an empty space and I feel my stomach clench up. If I fail this test again, I’ll have to kill myself. That’s just it. I’m already the guy who failed the test three times. I don’t want to be guy to fail the fourth.
“Let’s go Johnnie,” Prue said without a care and her stupid impressive driver’s license.
Making time for a moan, I begrudgingly exit the car. I drag my sorry butt to the front of the building and see my mom waving like a mad woman. “Heeeeeeeeyyy.”
I wave widely back, mouth wide opened. “Hey mom!” I turn to Prue, loudly, just to bother her, “PRUE! THERE’S MY MOM!”
She gives me her normal response, “I hate you.”
Exchanging our “hellos” and “how are yahs” we go inside and wait in line. The paper work we get is a b**** but it’s fun to make jokes. “Okay, mom,” I bring up, “Am I male or female?”
“With those shoes?” She snorts, “Definitely male.”
I love her.
Curiously, I catch Prue look over my shoulder. Because it’s her, she has to make a comment, “You have crap hand writing.”
“I am a boy,” I say defensively, “We’re allowed it.”
“It’s like a doctor’s hand writing.”
Wow. That’ll put your life into perspective. Your handwriting is smart than you.
Finally after a millennium of waiting, I get my picture taken and I always look cross eyed in photos. No one even pretends it’s not like that. I also agree to be an organ donor, to be polite though I feel bad for ever the sad sack is who gets my worthless organs.
“Alright,” the DMV guy said, his belly big enough it rests on his counter, “Go down there. Find a computer and take the test, you need to get twenty out of twenty five to pass.”
I do as I’m told, but dread it the entire way. It’s like walking to the grave at a funeral, except it’s for you and your loved ones push you in the hole… I think I dreamed that last night.
The room the man spoke of is a small rectangular room that isn’t very impressive, just with computers lined up on the walls. Shyly, I sit by a much older woman. It comforts me and worries me to see a woman in her sixties take the test. The skin on her face and neck sages and it looks like it’s too heavy to carry around. Her gray hair is like wire and sticks out from her pony tail and frizzes. She catches me staring at her, so I look away mortified. Her eyes are darker than Prue’s.
As the test starts I slowly feel sicker and sicker from getting so anxious. I wonder if I puke on their computer I’ll get banned from ever getting my driver’s permit.
Suddenly, the old woman grunts and slams her fist on the table. I nearly jump out of my skin and she just shoots from her seat. The seat screeches as it skids backwards. With her two old lady middle fingers, she flips off the entire building, shouting, “I FAILED!”
She walked out without another word…
For a while I’m too freaked out to even move. I just keep picturing the old lady shoot up and flip the bird over and over again. I don’t want to end up like her, I can’t end up like her. With a large gulp, I turn back to the screen and resume taking my test. I flinch every time I submit an answer…
“20 out of 25.”
I did it.
“Oh yeah!” I yell, bursting out of my seat. I slide to my mom and Prue on my knees, basking in the glow of success. “I did it!”
“What did you get?” Prue asks.
“20 out of 25.”
“Oh my god,” she sighs, thinking it wasn’t a success.
But I don’t care. Some people aren’t meant for greatness. I won’t save the rain forest or find the cure for cancer. All I know is I won’t end up old having to take my permit test. Right now, I’m just a guy who can drive around with a parent in the passenger’s seat until I’m good enough to drive alone. That’s good enough for me.