Ripping the Lid Off Of It
by Nic Olson
I am a temporary paper boy. I am filling in for a friend. He goes to the Leader Post office daily at 5:30 and picks up the routes for those who are sick or on holidays. The fill-in-man must have a car, so he can drive anywhere in the city to cover routes, so this isn't any kids job. A valid drivers license is necessary. I'm only doing it for a week while he rides heavy steel horse down in Sturgis. I'm the fill-in for the fill-in.
A young man came into work the other day with a young girl, both hovering around twenty years of age. I greeted them and noticed he was kinda goofy and she was bigger in the stomach. He came to purchase something with his girlfriend and asked me, "Hey, did you go to Western?" Hesitating I said yes, and instantly realized who it was. It was Jimmy. He had lost a lot of weight, matured quite a bit and had a girlfriend. He asked me what I was up to, and I motioned to the till I was standing next to and told him that I sold panties and purses as I detagged his girlfriends orange and gold canvas purse and pushed the decaying buttons of the cash register. He laughed and said, "No way. I thought you would have been a CEO or something like that. Haha. You were the valedictorian."
"Nope." I said proudly. I haven't sold out yet. I then asked him what he was up to, and he motioned towards his girlfriends stomach. He's having a baby. Good to see you, Jimmy.
Although the valedictorian tag means very little to me, especially since the only reason I got it was because my best friend Seong Bin Lee got seriously ill two weeks before grad and his grades slumped slightly. I've got this a few times, the wasted potential speech, since my lifetime high of having better grades than ten students who lived in the dorms. I don't mind. It usually makes me feel better about my life after school this far. Or maybe it just makes me feel better about where I could go. Right now I'm a secondary panty salesman and fill-in for the fill-in at Leader Post.
And I'm happy, and I like that. Every day I become more impatient and antsy and cynical and confused, but at least I know I didn't really waste my youth like I did my potential. And I'm still only a few decades old. There is still years of potential to waste and a few more years of youth to invest.
Twenty year vision, a film about my life. Synopsis: a young stuggling writer makes his start as the fill-in's fill-in at a small city newspaper. Eventually the editor gives him his own editorial and a few years later is awarded a Nobel Prize as a freelance journalist for ripping the lid off of a serious Prime Ministerial scam where Harper secretly changes federal law and labels his government a dictatorship.
And I started as a fill-in's fill-in.