A late bloomer, a slow learner. Who made up these smears? I guess the hares so the turtles would know who they are and what place they have in the universe. These labels belong to the in-general audacity and hubris of the human brain: this is how it is and here's the ruler to measure you by.
But then there's this: you might want to call yourself a late bloomer or a slow learner to get yourself off the hook, to lessen the stress of the demands of accomplishment. Because, Lord Knows, you'd better be accomplished. You'd better do something with your life and be good at it (and pronto about it) or the fit will hit the shan. "You don't want to be a loser, do you, you loser?" The hare asks, chomping on one more golden carrot while crossing over one more finishing line to lift up one more trophy.
Speaking of losers:
"I'm screwed up." A statement I've heard myself and others say throughout this sojourn. It's true. I've never met anyone who wasn't screwed up. Scratch the surface, and the whole model airplane comes unglued, the wings fall off and the nose dives, the glass breaks, and the ship in the bottle sinks. In A.L. Kennedy's novel, Day, the character Alfie thinks: "You never knew what might become a strain, what might become a trouble for somebody. People were unpredictable--eventually, being with them always showed you the same thing: there was nothing on which to rely. Anyone could splinter in your face." Alfie Day is a RAF airman (tail gunner) and former World War II POW, so consider the source. We are as eggs in the Jaws of Life.
On the flip, though: saying you're screwed up is a convenient way of getting out of things. "I'm screwed up right now, so I can't be your dad." "I'm screwed up right now, so I forgot to (fill in the blank.)" "I'm screwed up, so unfortunately I killed you."
Flip it, turn everything you say over, and it's all true, or so said Balzac or maybe Shakespeare, or I think I said it, too, as I slowly climbed Mount Haleakala on a donktle (an animal with the body of a donkey and the head of a turtle) to find at the top of the defunct volcano, among the ash and barren rubble, a plant called a Silversword. It flowers once in its lifetime, stars of maroon brilliance among the cacti green. Then the plant dies. Was it worth it? Some would say the Silversword didn't do enough. Here, give me your ruler. I want to measure these blossoms that live for a day.
Causes Susan Browne Supports
Run Together, A Race to Raise Money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society