Not a very noble invitation. But come on, you know who they are! Frankly, so do I. Oh, not their name, but their type. We’ve all had our share of scoundrels. Life’s just that way. And probably for good reason, for without opponents, we wouldn’t bring our best game.
So let me guess. The kid who used to taunt you everyday on the way to school…the teacher who always made you do it over again…the boss who never has a kind word…the credit card company who never gives you a break…and what about that co-worker who stabbed you in the back.
Vetting your opponents comes easy. After all, the wounds they leave never quite heal. Yet the only decent way to make your list is, first, to include your own indecencies and, second, to include those unintended consequences that in the long run served you so well. However, in one of life’s ironies we usually make these discoveries much later, say at reunions and wakes.
Take my top five:
* ANDY ~ The little rat in second grade who squealed on Santa. As it turned out, though, by killing Santa he unleashed a galaxy of imaginary characters to take his place, nicely serving my career as a writer
* ROSEMARY ~ The little red haired vixen in eighth grade who never returned my undying devotion. But as it turned out, she set the bar so high that no one reached the heights until at last my very own Joan
* CLARENCE ~ The fussy academic who turned me down for a professorship. But as it turned out, I turned to a much larger world of endeavor in which we became colleagues rather than rivals
* FRANK SINATRA ~ I sent him a script he never returned. But with each passing year I remember that rejection as an instruction not to waste time shooting for the top when second place is more reachable
My 5th…? I expect one to come along one of these days. Only at this age, “enemy” is no longer how you see most people. Maybe just “fellow traveler.” Now…what about your list?
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