I Wanted Them All

When I was a child, I didn’t just want one item for Christmas. I wanted them all.

I was a big Transformers fan.

But I also was a huge G.I. Joe fan.

My brother and I would go through the toy catalogs with a pad of paper, and we’d write down every toy we wanted. The list for our small family would be sometimes pages long.

We tried to make it simple. I would select the “bad” guys (The Decepticons and Cobra) and my brother would have the “good” guys (The Autobots and the American Hero). Sometimes there’d be a random other toy named, but our lists usually compiled of these two brands.

And of course, when Christmas time came, we’d open up boxes and boxes of shirts, pants, scarves, and socks. I was courteous and would thank my family members for the apparel, but I’m sure the displeasure of money spent on non-fun items showed.

That didn’t mean we didn’t get some of the things on our lists. We’d get some cool toys, but some of the ones we were really looking forward to weren’t present (no pun intended). But we did have that one uncle that would get the one big, expensive thing on the list, so we’d always look forward to that one toy he would get us.

One thing my brother and I always wanted was the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier. Obviously, this sucker was huge and probably expensive. But we never got it, no matter how many times we’d request it.

How unappreciative we were, looking back on it, but hey, we were kids.

If were told to stick to ten items instead of a hundred, we would have been taught to be more selective. I say this, because long lists have carried into my present life. I still struggle to keep things to the necessities.

Free ebooks are plentiful, and I’d download a book I will never read just because it was free. A digital library, which takes up no physical space in my office, can be amassed easily. Got to have them all, you know?

I did the same in my twenties with bands I liked. Having all of the major releases on CD wasn’t enough. I had to have the CD singles with the B-sides and live or acoustic versions. I had to get the cassette single with differing b-sides than that of the CD singles. I had to buy soundtracks and other compilations which would the one song that I didn’t already have by the same band.

Things like this get out of hand, being a collector of anything that interests you. They not only cost money, but they also take time to accumulate, even if your time is building Wish Lists on various retail websites. Got to have them all.

Recently, I’ve toned things down, and even got rid of a few things. Trying to change from the wants in my life, I was able to gain a few of theneeds.

I have a better car than I used to be able to afford. I have a house now. I am able to invest into my small business. I can now have the bigger things in life now that I don’t hoard the endless list of small ones.

– Originally published at GoodMenProject.com

I Could Have Been an Active Shooter

I stole from my dad often, things I felt I needed.

I took coins to buy candy. I took a bottle of liquor for playing hooky. I took various things to build things like insect boards, a skateboard, and many other things.

But I never stole my dad’s gun. Reason? He didn’t have one. If he had had one, I might have taken it.

You see, I was a little guy in middle school and high school. And a little guy with a big mouth doesn’t exactly earn friends easily. I tried to be intimidating, to scare off the bullies. But it wasn’t of avail. I tried to be into sports, but I found watching it boring and participating unexciting.

I either listened to heavy metal—or gangster rap—depending on what crowd I was trying fit into. I didn’t want to be common, boring or known for being intelligent. But I didn’t want to be a loser, loner or nerd. All of my music and TV idols were raw, rowdy and rambunctious.

I got a lot of flack for it. I’d get sneered at, mocked, laughed at, teased, pushed around, beat up, and even had my life threatened.

I’ve been chased home.

I’ve been cornered and jumped a few times. And I always vowed revenge. I hated my peers. I hated my teachers for not saying anything when they saw it. I hated my dad for also putting me through similar things at home. And I hated myself.

  • Fortunately, I never brought a gun to school.
  • Fortunately, I never used bullying to set an example of classmates and my abusive father.
  • Fortunately, I was able to move on with my life, go to other schools, become an adult, gain employment, and seem to be liked by my current peers.

Seeing things in perspective when you’re younger is hard to do.

The brain is still growing and developing. Philosophy and worldview are a constant change, as well. A younger person does not understand permanence. One decision, no matter how “courageous,” could change absolutely everything. Sure, eliminating a few headaches seems tempting, but there’s no returning after the long term consequences happen.

My life, I would have right now. If I had access to shooting up a classroom, I could be dead now. Or I could be in prison for life or on death row. I wouldn’t have the wonderful things I have now.

I have a wonderful wife who cherishes me and encourages me in all I do. I have a nice house with tons of great books. I have an adorable, intelligent cat that I had rescued as a kitten. I have a few small businesses that are exciting, as I deal with collectibles, vintage goods and antiques. I write books and articles, also, which is a good way to channel pent-up feelings, memories and problems.

My life is good, and I wouldn’t have had what I now have if I became an active shooter.

– Originally published at GoodMenProject.com