Did You Make It?

8-29-2009 031

I got a little reminder about why I write nonfiction today at Aaron’s football jamboree. 

This is his first year out for football, so I was interested in getting to know the rest of the parents. I was standing on the sidelines watching the drills. One of the boys on the team hollered to the man standing next to me about what he had brought for the team’s snack. The man hollered back about having picked up a twelve pack of something from the local warehouse store and his boy beamed. I was so amused by this exchange: the importance of the snack, the boy’s earnest query, Dad’s dutiful reply. I stopped taking photographs and grinned at the man.

I pointed out my son, and we struck up a conversation.

When I asked him what grade and school his son attended, he told me the boy had recently switched to a new school and was doing poorly. I told him I had had the same experience myself, switching to a new school.

The man surprised me by asking, “Did you make it?”

By this I understood him to mean, did you make it to graduation, are you a high school graduate, which I am not. I am embarrassed to say that I came this >< close to lying to the man. I felt a huge wave of shame roll over me–me, Mr. Memoir, a guy who has written about being a divorcee, an absentee father, shooting IV drugs, and even being homeless. There is just something intimidating about being asked something like this point blank in a conversation. I really wasn’t sure what to say. I started to bluster, but then I finally just smiled and said, “Nah–not really.”

This man grinned and said, “Me either.”

We had a good chuckle. I didn’t get his name, but I connected with this man in a way I would not have had I tried to save face by going on about my time in college, the military, or even getting my GED.

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5 thoughts on “Did You Make It?

  1. Timmy says:

    Mr. Memoir, I like your style, honesty baby, aint always the easy way! Good story Popps!!

  2. Timmy says:

    I almost forgot, my little brother Aaron, he ain’t so little no more! What are Holly and you feeding the children!!! Hahhahaha Aaron’s got Division 1 arms on him already…Hahahha I love it! He looks solid with that SAINTS uniform on!! Hittem hard brother!!! Kennedy Im watching you grow on here as well, your so beautiful, I got some good looking siblings living in Seattle!!!

  3. Tim Elhajj says:

    Tim, no kidding!

    Aaron did go through a growth spurt over the summer. Man, he can pack away some cereal. It remains to be seen if you will reach the colossal heights you’ve been able to achieve! No small feat, itself.

    Thanks for the kind words about my post, son.

    Now that I’ve written it, I wonder if it really is always about being honest. There are certainly times when it seems like a better deal to play your cards close to your chest. Not that I think anyone should lie, but nobody should have to take it on the chin, either. Maybe it’s more about being real, which seems different from honest. Maybe real is owning up to your mistakes, instead of trying to sweeping them under the rug. Doesn’t seem like much you can do with a kid pin wheeling out of control in middle school except to hope for the best.

  4. Ruth D~ says:

    You made it, Tim. In ways that count, you made it!! Take pride in that.

  5. Tim Elhajj says:

    I’m certainly blessed.

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