You can’t tell by looking, but I used to be somebody around this burg. Once upon a time I ran a fine business. I was president of the Rotary several times, and the Chamber of Commerce, and was chairman of committees at church over the years. Folks nodded to me on the street. Younger men came to me for advice about their businesses, their wives, their children. Lawyers stopped by my office now and then to relate things too good or fun or salacious to keep to themselves. They knew I wouldn’t repeat it.

I had my personal standards, but held them just for me and mine. Nobody stepped on me, but I never stepped on them, either. I knew what I was and things were good for a man who’d once been a kid too poor to have underpants.

At least for me. Others in town didn’t have it so good. Their money went to liquor and smokes, and then to traffic court or the doctor. And sometimes it wasn’t their fault. They did get stepped on, or had accidents, or the family breadwinner died. And sometimes a fellow here or there never had a chance. Like the boy in my fifth grade class who put an ice cream come in his pocket to eat later.

But my life, hard in youth, was good as an adult. I was strong and healthy. I had a pretty wife for whom others envied me. Our marriage was strong and healthy, too. Our children were healthy and smart and knew how to work.

Once upon a time I was somebody around this town. I had a good business, and square shoulders. I once had a future. I once had hair.


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