It’s Alright Bro, I’m Only Bleeding
BLAM! The clubs struck his spine once more. BLAM! Then his skull. Observing the red smeared on the Copper’s billy club, John could tell he was bleeding…. bleeding to death it seemed. John wasn’t always in this much trouble. There was a time when his life was nothing but serene. When he was young and filled with hope, before the weight of the world would jostle his vigorous spirit.
More than thirty years earlier John was born on July 4, 1976. The doctor claimed that he was the happiest baby he had ever delivered. His big, bulging, blue eyes attracted everyone in near sight. John’s parents provided an exemplary home for him. He had a tremendous education, a safe environment, and best of all, plenty of friends with which to play.
You know those memories that you will remember for the rest of your life? Well, the day John met Jerry was one of those days. The two seven year olds stood in stark contrast to one another. John had long, brown hair, big, blue eyes, and the most natural smile that was so giant that one would think somebody slipped him some stimulant. Above all, he stood up straight and tall with courage of a fire fighter. Jerry, on the contrary, had curly, blonde hair; light, brown eyes, a nervous, almost neurotic smile, and a slouching posture to say the least.
On one particular sunny day every child in the neighborhood was out to play. Most of the little rapscallions played army in the trees and behind bushes. That was the “thing” to do on Spring Street. All the boys were coaxing Jerry, being the small, scrawny kid he was, to jump out of the tree and land perfectly on the grass. Jerry cried, “It’s too high. I don’t want to kill myself!!!”
“Aww come on, yeah big baby, just jump,” yelped another rascal.
“Ehh, he’ll never do it, he’s too big of a wussy. Let’s scram.”
So, the boys hopped on their bikes and careened off down the road. Feeling relief, that he could now safely come down, Jerry smirked and began his departure. But, all of a sudden that smirk turned into a furrow of worry. His sock was caught in one of the branches of the tree. He was beginning to collapse. He screamed his lungs out for help and fortunately help came… well, help had already been there. You see, John had remained stationary the entire time; he was lost in his own world, lying back on the greenest grass gazing past the sky to the places adults could no longer see. Realizing his army buds had ditched him, he wasn’t sure what to do next. But, being the valiant seven year old liberator he was, he immediately informed Jerry to jump and promised to catch him.
“Urghh I don’t know if I trust you!” he exclaimed.
“Just go, you can trust me! Believe me, you can trust me!” John demanded.
“Uhh, alright fine, here it goes.”
Jerry leapt like he had never leapt before, sporting a gigantic, anxious expression across his face, while he flew through the air. Finally, landing in his knight in shining armor’s arms, Jerry felt saved. From that moment on the two boys spent the rest of their adolescence together; they were inseparable. But, unfortunately, when it came time for high school graduation, the boys parted their ways. John went to UCLA to study film and Jerry ventured into economics and business at Fordham. The pair promised to stick together after high school, but they managed to only see each other a few times during their college breaks, with each year growing further and further apart to the point that the other was just an old friend each rarely mentioned. By the time Jerry was at the altar; John was not even a consideration as a name on the invitation list.
So, what happened to these two young men? John annually changed his major, eventually earning his BA in Political Science, becoming a cool, hip, radical Professor of the subject. The rest of his life was devoted to his tireless activism and charity work. Politically standing, he claimed to be an anarchist and uses his modest fame and prestige to mobilize students and anyone else he meets. Thus, making him an immensely controversial figure in his community.
Jerry’s story does not even remotely reflect John’s lifestyle. At Fordham, Jerry earned his BA in Economics and has since become a successful stockbroker and internet entrepreneur. He is now happily married with two children, Sam and Joe. His office stands right in the heart of the dark lord’s terrain, Wall Street. But, today was unusual for him. As he made his usual stride into his workplace, he had the great privilege of being hurled with all sorts of verbal abuse, “TRAITOR,” “CORPORATE THUG,” “CAPITALIST PIG,” amongst others. Jerry did not realize what the commotion was all about; a demonstration was taking place outside the New York Stock Exchange, organized and led by none other than John. Wearing a shirt displaying an inverted American flag a la Abbie Hoffman, the young man captivated not just his followers but “regular” passerbys in the street as well. The main points he made reverberated through the city, it seemed. “This is a bailout for Wall Street, not Main Street!” he hollered. “700 billion dollars coming out of your pockets to enrich those that drowned us in this economic whirlpool to begin with.”
Despite the fact that the protesters had permits to express their First Amendment rights and had caused no physical harm to anyone, the police arrived in full out riot gear to disperse the crowd. Suddenly billy clubs, rubber bullets, and tear gas filled the air. John instructed his fellow freedom fighters to “resist the pigs.” But, it was too late. They were outnumbered. Next thing he noticed, the clubs were striking him and he hit the pavement. Defenseless, he raised his head, as if someone could save him.
Simultaneously, John’s and Jerry’s eyes met, and they realized who the other was. Jerry knew how many times his pal had saved him in the past and felt the desire to return the favor, but as he stared in his eyes, he realized how different their lives had become. Jerry instead turned his back and returned to his work, tears rolling down his cheeks. As John felt the cuffs placed on his hands, he felt another blow to the head from a cop, but the biggest blow was the betrayal of an old friend.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
It’s Alright Bro, I’m Only Bleeding