Freudian Slips: Bottleneck of Rubbernecks

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

July 27, 2008

Bottleneck of Rubbernecks

The same visitors to our special needs center returned to the scene. I was ready for them. Loading the occupants onto the special needs buses this afternoon brought equal emotion from these youngsters as unloading did this morning. They peeked around the corner of the building to canvas the parking lot. They held one eye open while closing the other. Curiosity brought them to the edge of observation, fear of the unknown kept them just out of sight.

Several short yellow buses idled in a row. The boys pointed and chattered amongst themselves. They seemed confused at the humanity gathering before them as each bus lowered lifts. I exited a backdoor, approached them from behind, and caught them completely off guard.

I asked, “Can I help you boys?”

One look at me, and the trio ran away scurrying for cover behind the neighboring apartment complex.

I yelled, “I’m not going to hurt you or get you into trouble? I work here.”

Eventually, they returned to their waypoint not collectively as a group like you might think but as stragglers one by one.

The first to return asked, “Why do they all look that way, mister?”

“They have a condition called mental retardation.”

“Can we catch it?”


A sigh of relief passed through the group. Hands came out of deep pockets and they began to feel a little more at ease around me.

The smallest boy asked, “How or why did that happen to them?”

“They were all born that way is how.” I answered. “Why is more difficult to answer. Maybe it is nothing more than an accident but maybe it is to remind the rest of us to carry compassion in our hearts for them.”

“We never saw so many people who can’t walk in one place.”

“Yeah what else can’t they do?”

“I cannot give you personal information about individuals but nobody can talk, walk, or toilet.”

“But Mister, this morning we saw two of them hobble on their feet but they didn’t have wheelchairs. Did you run out of wheelchairs?”

“They need staff assistance to ambulate. In their cases, there is no reason for a wheelchair unless when traveling long distance.”

By now, I could tell that two of the three boys were listening with open hearts but one held no sentiment. He had coal for eyes and his expression was tighter than taut rope.

He said dismissively, “Ah, they look like monsters to me.”

“No, they are special people. They just have different challenges in life. You just can’t judge them by what they look like.”

I stared at the boy who was having difficulty accepting their reason for being. He wanted to go back to his perch watching a vaudeville show and jeering. He took exception to my presence and took my teachings like a bitter pill. I noticed an unsightly scar that stretched from the middle of his forehead down to his right eyebrow. He saw me looking at it and it made him so uncomfortable he rubbed his hand over it like a pint of blood poured from it yesterday.

I asked, “What happened to your face?”

“Mom was drinking too much one night. My little brother’s daddy told her to knock it off. She got pissy and threw the bottle but it hit me in the head.”

“I’m sorry about that, kid. I’m sure your mom wishes she could take back that moment. Accidents happen. The important thing is that I will never treat you any differently from your buddies here, right?”

He shot a stare to the handicapped clients being loaded on the buses. A light bulb when off in that kid’s head and I bet he thought about what I said for the next couple of days.



Blogger mommanator said...

said so nicely- good teaching moment! glad they were receptive!

2:14 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

I'll be the first he calls for bail money.

6:49 PM  

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