My dad always had big dreams. He wanted to invent something that would not only be useful to others, but help mankind and of course, reap big rewards.
As in millions of dollars in rewards.
He was an inventor, of sorts. I remember he would spend entire weekends, for months on end, making plans, finding materials and then experimenting with various contraptions. All of them failed, but he never gave up.
I never understood that drive, that passion. To me, it seemed like so much work. Why not take the easy road and leave time for more fun things?
Like dating, or hanging with friends, or baseball.
I pretty much live for baseball.
I was never a good student. In fact, if it hadn’t been for Holly Lawson, I wouldn’t even have graduated from high school
I used her. I’ll admit it. I’m not proud of this fact, but there you have it. I knew she had a crush on me and I shamefully used that fact to manipulate her into doing what I wanted her to do.
That’s my gift, manipulating people. I’m quite good at it. I have a knack for honing in on people’s weaknesses and twisting them into something that I can use to benefit me.
At first, this bothered me. I wasn’t particularly proud of using people but it came so easy and people never had a problem trusting everything that I told them that I just sort of fell into the pattern – it was harder not to.
For the most part, I got over the guilt of using people. I mean, people come and go in our lives, in our relationships, they’re just blips on our life’s radar – meaningless really. Why waste time on them when there was so much fun to be had.
I’m not quite sure why I’m like this, maybe it has something to do with my mom, who worked two jobs to give my dad the freedom to do his experiments (that never paid off, by the way, I mentioned that part, right?) and worked herself to death.
Her heart simply gave out when she reached 48.
I was a Sophomore in high school when my mom passed away and it was from that point on that I knew what I wanted, which was to be nothing like my mom. I didn’t want to work my entire life away; life was simply too short.
And yet, I wasn’t willing to do what my dad did either. I can’t tell you the number of times I witnessed his disappointment, his dejection, his rejection all because he had the balls to stick his neck out there and try something different.
No. I was all about taking the easy road.
And of course, taking the easy route can not only be hard, but dangerous, too.
After I graduated from high school, I wasn’t sure what to do with my life. I mean, I could work, but I kept picturing my mother, worn down and bone tired from her two jobs and I didn’t want that for my life. So I decided to put my life on hold for a bit and go to college.
College wasn’t really work, it was more of a structured party with virtually no rules.
Save for the rules I made up along the way.
I quickly discovered that I simply wasn’t smart enough to be a college student. I had relied on Holly’s help, and I use that term loosely, throughout high school so much that in essence, I didn’t learn a freaking thing.
I had cheated my way through high school, so it seemed only natural that I’d cheat my way through college.
The challenge was finding the person who would make that happen.
It started out innocently enough. About halfway through my first semester I knew I needed help. I had failed nearly everything I had tried at that point and that wasn’t much, quite frankly. I was taking a full load, about 15 hours, and every single class was kicking my butt.
But I didn’t give up. I didn’t get discouraged. I got busy working out a four-year plan on how I was going to survive my college years with the least amount of effort on my part as possible.
I knew it could be done, I just wasn’t sure how it would shake out. I needed someone vulnerable, someone who craved attention and perhaps didn’t get it very often, who was sort of a social outcast. I needed someone smart and generous. I needed someone I could string along and manipulate into doing what I needed them to do without questioning my motives or seeing through my deception.
And that person came in the form of my college advisor, Lauren McCormick.
(Click on graphic to read story – WARNING: Rated PG-13 for brief language.
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