What if?

by christypaul2013

Tonight, I found out a guy I graduated high school with had died. Whenever I hear about things like this, I can’t help but get down and reflective. There’s no greater cosmic kick to the groin to get your act together, than someone your age dying. Also, it made me wonder where I’d be if I still lived in my hometown.

I’m a pretty lucky guy. That luck is usually outdone by how lazy I am. I could win the lottery and forget to cash the check, until it was too late. I was a God awful student in high school. I’m not a morning person, so classes I had before noon where slept through. Any class after noon was blown off, because I was dreading going to work that afternoon. It was a vicious cycle. My GPA ranked me around 40th out of 60-70 students.  I was well on my way to working at Piggly Wiggly forever, until I did well on the ACT and got offered a few scholarships, making college possible. Fellow students were sure I’d cheated, but those close to me knew I was far too lazy to pull of anything like that.

So anyways, I was one test away from ruining my life. I lucked out. I probably don’t deserve the life I have now, but I’m thankful for it. I thought this would be an interesting post to guess what a typical day in my life would be, if I still lived in my hometown.

First off, I’d be fat as hell. My family comes from some pretty hefty stock. Being tall, I’ve always been singled out for being skin and bones. I was fed like a king whenever I wanted it. I’m 25 now, so that would have given me 7 years of nothing but Crisco and cornbread. I’d be the prize hog at the county fair. I’d have to introduce myself as Abner. So, around 7am , I’d waddle my rotund arse out of couch. Please don’t read over that, I said couch. All males in my family eventually wind up sleeping on my Grandmaw’s couch for a few years. My grandmaw lives about 100yards away from my parents, so I assume I’d be living with her, due to some hair-brained idea of independence from my parents. That couch is like Vietnam, if you’re an able bodied young man in my family, you wind up on that couch. My little brother has been on his tour of couch duty for the last 3 years, so at least I’d know someone there. 

Since, in this alternate universe, I wouldn’t have attended a university, I would have gone to community college. Nobody was saving money for my education, so I would have been footing the bill. Therefore, I would have worked at the local Piggly Wiggly for another few years. I already worked there for 3 years of high school, so by that time I’d presumably be a manager. If you’ve got a cushy job like that in my hometown, you don’t leave it. After 2-3 years of community college, I would have settled in nicely at Piggly Wiggly and have been  ready to die there someday. 

I think creative people always have the urge to pursue their interests, so I like to think that during my down time, I’d be a freelance writer for the local paper, The Sand Mountain Reporter. I’ve always had a passion for sports, so when I wasn’t stocking the shelves at the store, I’d be covering the local football games and practices.

That would by my typical day, bagging groceries for little old ladies, then writing stories about how their grandsons performed at the local homecoming game. As for my evenings, those would be spent at the Church.  My family has always had a pretty good foothold in the leadership of our church. Fellow churchgoers always mentioned how nice of a young man I was, and how they had big hopes for my future. My mother told me she believed it was my purpose in life to be a preacher.

So there I’d be, a young grocer/Man of God, out on the prowl. In my community, most guys who aren’t attached at the hip with a girl throughout high school, get married around 23-25. It seemed that the guys were always dating girls about 3 years younger than them, because all the good ones their age were taken, I suppose. I’d have found a nice young lass in my church congregation, willing to be a preacher’s wife. Believe it or not, it’s a pretty powerful community position, so I’d have my pick of Laura Bush wannabees, looking for nothing more than the opportunity to give fellow churchgoers the old stink-eye during Sunday Service.

When I wasn’t at the church, my free time would be spent watching tv. Nobody in my hometown has found the joy of truly high speed internet, so streaming Netflix or Hulu would be impossible. Instead, I’d get addicted to cable television like everyone else. I have no idea what the hell Duck Dynasty is, but I’m willing to bet I’d love it. At the end of a long day, I’d fall asleep around 11pm, and get ready to do the whole thing again tomorrow.  I’d like to think I wouldn’t kill myself, but I can’t be sure.

Like I said, I’m lucky. Lucky to have had the life experiences college brought me. If I had continued to live in my hometown, I might be a lot closer to getting into heaven, due to my involvement in the church. However, I’d just as likely go to hell, because of the hatred built in my heart. An unhealthy number of people where I’m from are incredibly racist. This makes no sense, because there are ZERO black people there. That probably has something to do with how racist everyone is. I guess people hate what they don’t know, and I knew nothing about black people. So, as sad as it is to say, there’s a chance I’d become racist. Also, I’d be incredibly anti-homosexuals. Leaving high school, I still believed that homosexuality was a sin, and gay people were basically mocking God with their choices. I was a damned idiot. Whenever the topic came up during my freshman year of college, I clammed up, knowing that nobody wanted to hear my thoughts. I hadn’t been informed on the topic of homosexuality. There weren’t any in my school or community, as far as I knew. During college, I got to know gay students and people of multiple races, and learned to realize just how stupid I’d been. I’d probably hate the guy I would’ve become in that town. Except for the sports writer gig, that would be pretty nice.

So yes, I’m thankful for standardized testing, and for the life I’ve lived so far. I love my family and would gladly kill for them, but I wouldn’t kill for their life. While we are made of the same DNA, we’re wired pretty differently. Let’s all be thankful that there’s a healthy bit of difference between Alabama and the rest of the world, or we’d all be in rough shape.


Paul does miss sweet tea. Rednecks have perfected that recipe.