Back when dirt was a new thing, and dinosaurs roamed the earth, and women found Mad Jack handsome and appealing - I was finishing up high school.
KB and I were not impressed with each other and we weren't shy about saying so either. Where I never had a chance in a duel of wits, KB had a ropey mouth and a scathing wit and when I saw the last of him - I was glad of it. He probably was too. He was pretty good at making me feel small. It drove him up the wall when, on a few occasions, I dared contradict him, and he lost his marbles when I proved him wrong. Whadda they call that? Type A personality?
After school he went off to university as an honours student, and I went to the school of hard knocks for some remedial maturity training and attitude adjustment. I heard somewhere that KB became a big wheel at Enbridge and I've no doubt he made enough money there to buy and sell me out of pocket change.
Last week my Maker saw fit to tweak my nose - KB was actually a member of my church, unbeknownst to me. I had seen him before and not recognized him until somebody pointed him out to me at a dinner get-together. I also learned that he had just had himself a great big stroke and was in an induced coma at the hospital. Holy mackaral - 36 years. POOF!
As young men KB took every opportunity to make sure I knew that he was a better man than I, and it galled me to have to pretty much agree. Fast forward half a lifetime - and he stroked out while I am still standing.
Sometimes life does things that leaves me certain my Maker is trying to teach me something and I am getting that feeling here in spades. He did everything right as a kid - worked hard, went to school, got a great job. I did everything wrong - goofed off at school, unplanned teen pregnancy, worked shit-picker jobs until we saved up enough for me to go back to school... and here we are today. He's knocking on death's door, and unless Darwin or Murphy have something especially nasty to surprise me with - I am finer n' frog's hair. I still have no interest in anything KB does, and if he died and went to hell I would personally be just peachy with it because I know darned well I will join him there sooner rather than later, more likely than not. But as an outhouse Christian, that is an unacceptable conduct. God rot my soul - I can't bring myself to feel sorry for the man, even after all these years. I certainly would never gloat at his misfortune, but...
Whatever my Maker is trying to teach me in all this, I will just do that old 'If ya can't say nothin' nice...' routine. It's all I got, and it's more than that boy deserves.