I am about as gentle as a set of brass knuckles. I am generous to others but not towards myself. My natural tendency is towards pessimism, so claiming glad or grateful as descriptive of my true nature is unfair. They are aspirations. I practice gratitude. I was not a gunner in medical school…those kids who sat in the front row, at the fingertips of the professors, kissing ass and sucking up. I got mocked for being such a teacher’s pet in early school I forced myself to sit in the middle of class and sit on my hands, writing the answers in the margins of my paper instead of raising my hand to give it aloud. I can be grim and riddled with guilt, heaped upon my own shoulders. I can’t choose between gutsy and gifted.

When they tested us for the “Gifted Program” in 6th grade, my parents got called to the office to speak to the principal about my results. The results were always a mystery to me. I kinda felt I had barely squeaked through the requirements for entry, the dumbest of the “smart kids”. In fact, I learned, my parents didn’t know what to do with the information. They knew I was an outlier. I read over a hundred books in 1st grade. read through the school’s library. My parents (who didn’t have a whole bunch of expendable income) enrolled me in the Book of the Month club. Every month, I picked books like my sister was picking albums from Columbia records. And I read them all. In 6th grade, we had a stock market game where we were given an imaginary $1,000 to buy stocks. I picked Ryder trucks and Savon Business machines. My father later lamented that had he invested $1,000 on my picks, he would have been a VERY wealthy man. I don’t know how I do some of what I do or how my brain processes the way it does. It just does. But I have never liked the categorization of being “gifted”. It felt like bragging and it got a fair amount of taunting. I still dislike when people tell me how smart I am. Yada, yada, yada. It’s like going on and on about Kareem Abdul Jabar and how tall he is. Yeah? So?

G is for Gutsy

So gutsy it is. Gutsy is my word. Gutsy is me. I convert impulsiveness and a 1970’s version of attention deficit disorder into action and do things with my life that are unexpected. It never occurs to me that people just don’t do things that way. I think the neighborhood I grew up in was an incubator for gutsiness. There is a whole crew of kids who have grown up into pretty ballsy, gutsy, brash originals. I don’t feel like I am so different…..and when compared to that gutsy neighborhood and the other kids with whom I was raised….I’m not. But…..we are an original crop of folks. And I am grateful for my parents serendipitous move to a little place called Cutler Ridge.

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