When I was an adolescent, my mother told me something that paralyzed me with fear. “Someday,” she said, “you will get a job. And when you do, you’ll have to prove yourself by working twice as hard as everyone else.”
Holy shit! Really? And she wasn’t the only one who said that. I heard it all the time.
So if I fail, I fuck it up for all future cripples who enter this realm? I felt like the crippled messiah. Everything was riding on me. It was a punch in the gut.
I already was fighting off a big time messiah complex as it was. I was named after St. Michael the Archangel. That’s a lot of pressure. That dude was God’s chief of staff and commander of his army. He slewed dragons and shit. He kicked Satan’s ass and threw him out of heaven. St. Michael was God’s enforcer. If God was a loan shark, he’d send St. Michael to break the legs of deadbeats. That’s a lot to live up to, being named after him.
And being a white guy wasn’t even going to earn me any breaks from being the crippled messiah, which sucked most of all. Because other than being crippled, I was white and male and heterosexual and all that stuff that usually counts for something. Nobody would tell me if I fucked up on the job I would ruin it for all other white guys or heteros. So if I fucked up, instead of blaming it on the crippled part of me, why couldn’t it be blamed on the white guy part of me? Then everybody could just shrug and move on. Apparently the cripple part of me trumps everything else, at least when it comes to fucking up on the job. I don’t know how the rules of that game work. It’s all very confusing, like rock-paper-scissors.
So then I thought maybe I just had to accept my unfortunate lot in life and work real hard and succeed for the benefit of future cripples. But then I realized that if I succeeded I’d fuck it up for future cripples, too. Because if I was a brown-nose goody-two-shoes, then the same would be expected of them. I’d be pissed at any cripple who did that to me.
So then I thought maybe the best thing I could do for my fellow cripples would be to fuck up in some grand fashion. I would proudly and defiantly assert my right and the right of all cripples to fuck up as much as everybody else. But that might have just the opposite effect. The cripples in line behind me would probably be denied their right to fuck up out of fear that they might fuck up.
After all these years, I still don’t know what to do. Maybe I should get a job at a place where a bunch of white guys work half as hard as they should. Then I can work at a normal pace and seem like I’m working twice as hard as them. That might be the only safe way to get out of this whole crippled messiah thing without anybody getting hurt.