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"I won’t play anything by Elton John now, even if you ask nice."

The Thirtieth of March is a national holiday in this family. It's The GrandOtter's birthday, always celebrated with a fresh poem! Here's today's:

Your Age

When I was Your Age,
I was waiting for a bus.
Not a literal bus, but a figurative one.
I imagined that some person or call
would magically appear, bundle me up,
and whisk me out of The Valley They Liked So Well, They Named It Twice.

My high school had declared me Not College Material,
so I possessed no dodge to distract me from the world
until I’d completed the process of growing into it.

I felt utterly on my own.
I performed every weekend at a basement coffee house,
usually to an audience of empty seats.

The US Army tried to draft me, but I resisted,
demonstrating just how carelessly I prayed for that bus to come.

I, finally, successfully hooked up with the future mother of my children,
but I ended up hitchhiking to Seattle to spend time with her.
Once in Seattle, I scrounged for work.
I found an agent who found me stages to play upon,
though I never thought he understood what I was doing,
probably because I didn’t understand myself.
I played at Clinkerdaggers for suburban yuppies
who asked me to play anything by Elton John,
but never anything by David.

I persisted in my insistence that I might be discovered
until I sort of got discovered and learned just how
disappointing that experience can be.
I finally relented, seven years later, and enrolled in university,
where I started learning how smart I had always been,
except for that waiting for the bus part of my past.
I realized, seven years in, that there never was any bus,
that I would have to hitchhike out of that valley if I wanted to go anywhere,
and that waiting to be discovered was just an excuse for not accepting the necessity of discovering myself.

I’m still looking for myself,
but I’m no longer waiting for any sort of bus.
I’ve been discovered several times but none of those revelations,
save the ones I stumbled upon for myself,
seemed in any way greater than my anticipation of them.
I remain essentially unchanged, more experienced, for sure,
but still essentially me.
I won’t play anything by Elton John now,
even if you ask nice.

Happy Twentieth Birthday, Sara!
All my Love, David

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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