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Home > General > The Long Road To Fifty: 17 (Part Three)

The Long Road To Fifty: 17 (Part Three)

July 15th, 2014

In my junior year, drama teacher Ms. Mumaugh told me that she had a future show in mind that would be perfect for me. So, when she announced Inherit the Wind as our senior year play, I assumed that I was a lock for one of the battling lawyers. Not that I didn’t give the audition my all; I made a big show of dramatically walking around the classroom as I delivered my oratory.

Now, it must be clear to you from this introduction that I did not get the part. It was certainly a shock to me. Instead,  in a deeply ironic casting choice, I found myself playing the fire-and-brimstone preacher Reverend Brown. Which wouldn’t have been so bad, if the person who was cast as Henry Drummond had been capable of learning his damned lines. Or not pronouncing “Copernicus” as “Kerpenis.”


All in all, I had a solid if not spectacular high school career. As someone with talents for word-slinging and test-taking, I never had to try all that hard to academically succeed. I was never in contention for valedictorian, but I finished in the top 10% of my class and won a small scholarship from my college of choice, Ball State University.


But before college came summer vacation, and with it my very first job. Dad arranged it with a friend of his, and I’m pretty sure that it was patronage employment in the grand tradition of Greater Chicagoland politics.

Mind you, it was a shit job. I spent the better part of the summer working on a road crew in Lowell, walking behind the truck and shoveling tar into potholes. I was hot, achy and covered in asphalt. I amused myself by giving proper burials to roadkill. Somewhere on the outskirts of Lowell there was a drive-in (or drive-on) pet cemetery.

Still, it was money, most of which went to buying new clothes. I had my friend Deb to thank for whatever level of fashion I brought to my freshman year of college.


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