In the fourth grade, a round boy with fat chestnut curls sucker-punched me in the gut.
He blew me away.
Because I wouldn’t move my locker door.
He wasn’t a bully except by way that he was a boy and all boys are bullies to little girls in the fourth grade, at least they were then. Or so it seemed.
But this boy had these weird magic powers. He understood current events. He didn’t just understand them, he reported on them, recited them, held grown-up conversations with the teacher about them.
I rested my head on my hand, my elbow on the desk, eyes blinking, blinking, closed.
Heads up, 7-Up!
I didn’t get it–not the interest in current events in the fourth grade, not the obsession over politics in early adulthood. That was the stuff in the ether nobody could touch. We were inside the snow globe. They were the ones who shook it.
If there is anything I believe with all my heart and soul it’s that we should never stop learning. You stop learning, you give up. You stop enjoying the stuff of life.
And like ogres, life is an onion. It has layers.
Over years I’ve been learning how to pay attention. I listen to the news around me and in the far off distance. I’ve always carried an unreasonable hope that life will work out. But it doesn’t always and bad things jump in and take the place of the good. In writing it’s called conflict. You can’t have a good story without it.
I am from Wisconsin. I am not a public employee. I will not lose money, benefits or collective bargaining power from Governor Scott Walker. I am a human being awake. I cannot argue politics to save my life, but I believe the Budget Repair Bill is wrong and will only hurt the state it is meant to cure. And I fear it is only the beginning.
In the eighth grade, that little boy looked big. He was my science lab partner and he remembered hitting me in the gut.
Then we dissected frogs and everything was okay.