Ready. Set. Go.

And you came out shrieking. The womb opened up and set you free, slick and hideous. Your face was scrunched. Your head was a malformed cone from being pushed through your mother’s chute. The doctor slapped you on the ass or stuck a tube up your nose for suction. You sputtered, snorted, and began to bawl. You wailed red-faced and beat your fists at the air.

Round one. Begin.

You learn to crawl. Learn to walk. Learn to defecate in the toilet instead of in your pants. Your bones ache down to the marrow with growing pains. Time shoves you on the rack and starts cranking the chains to make your limbs longer. You’re a gangly thing. Together with others like you, you find people who are less or more gangly and laugh at them. Camaraderie.

Round two. Get in the ring boy, you ain’t done.

Say goodbye to the nest. It falls out from under you and you don’t have wings. Walk along the ground pecking at the breadcrumbs tumbling from higher perches. Get shit on by the birds sitting on those higher perches. Wait until the fat cat comes along and eats one of them. Watch the feathers float down. Hop out of the way of the blood spatter. Climb up and take their place. Corporate ladder.

Round three. Broken? Boy, please. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Find the love of your live. Give her your love without reserve. Reach your fingers into your chest and rip your heart out. Fall to your knees before her and hold it up still beating. Keep smiling as she plunges her acrylic nails into the ventricles with quiet pops. Keep moving until you find someone with packing tape and a defibrillator. Settle down, but mostly settle.

Round four. Tired already? Oh, there’s no throwing in the towel now.

Hate your job. Work it anyway. Enter the data you don’t care about to get a result that is meaningless to you. Turn in that project. Start another one that looks exactly the same. Give yourself ulcers with coffee to keep yourself awake. Pay a doctor to remove the ulcers. Pay a therapist to tell you why you still never wake up. The alarm is shrieking. It’s Monday again.

Round five. Relax. Put some ice on it and the swelling will go down.

Retirement has come. You’re back in diapers and have a rash. Turn on the TV and watch wheel of fortune. Notice your wife is knitting and wonder when she learned to knit. Look in the mirror and think about offering to play the crypt keeper if they ever do a remake. It’s half past five. Swallow your pills dry.

Round six. Push it to the end, baby.

Look around you. You’re in a hospital bed. People are smiling. There’s the kid you shoved a bully off of. There’s the guy you gave a job. There’s your kids who were never wanting. There’s your loyal wife.

Ding ding. That’s a match.

Written in May of 2015.

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