Story Archives

Story Archives
Use the calendars below to start from the very beginning:

Friday, March 29, 2019

Microstory 1070: Bessie

Seven years ago, I was diagnosed with a terminal disease. I know what you’re thinking; this story is going to end with Viola somehow curing me, and giving me a second chance at life. Well, I don’t know if cancer was out of Viola’s scope, or she just didn’t want to, but that’s not anywhere close to what she did. She didn’t help me by chaperoning my doctor visits, or bringing me art supplies, or setting me up on a pity date with my crush; the hottest guy in school, who doesn’t even know I exist. She helped me by teaching me that my life wasn’t a waste unless I let it be like that. I don’t know when I’m going to die, but I haven’t beat the odds, and lived past my due date, or anything. At this point, my doctors think I have another good couple months in me, but it was far too soon to come to such a conclusion before. The truth is that I’m ultimately going to have a short life, and it is for that reason Viola told me I needed to make sure it counted. The average human lifespan is roughly eighty years, so most people have all that time to help others, and contribute to society. Since I don’t have that kind of time, I have to squeeze it all in now. Understand that this is not a universal truth; like the sicker you are, the more you have to volunteer, or something like that. She was clear this directive is specifically meant for me, and has nothing to do with how others should be living their lives. As far as sick kids go, my experiences weren’t all that bad. Take note of the first part of that sentence, because it has still been a right shitty life. But my parents were both independently born into wealth, and never needed to work a day in their life. Sure, they’ve missed out on some interesting trips because of me, but there was no financial ruin, nor tough decisions. They got me the care that I needed, and it was relatively painless. Relatively. So I had time, and Viola wanted me to use that time to give to others; not give back, since I’ve never really gotten much from the world, but still give. I’ve done a little of this, and a little of that, but Viola claimed I would one day come up with a single great idea, and that day came two years ago.

My family has all this money, and since they live in a one-story house in the middle of the midwest—and haven’t had time to spend it on luxury and experiences—most of it is still just sitting in their bank accounts. I managed to convince them to take all that money, and invest it in a charitable organization. And then head that organization at least until good successors can be found. Most people give to causes that directly impact their lives. Talk to the director of any charity, and they’ll tell you their brother has autism, or their child was killed in a school shooting. This doesn’t mean people are selfish, and only want to help themselves. It just means, when they sit down to think about what matters most to them, there’s usually a logic to it. Well, not me. Personally—and I know this is a massively unpopular idea—I think there’s plenty of money going into cancer research. The reason it feels like we’re not going anywhere is that this money is being used for inefficient and ineffective systems. I won’t get into all that, but the point is that I am not my cancer, and the world doesn’t really need another cancer organization; it just needs to do better at supporting the ones it already has. My passion is prison reform. I can’t explain why it’s so important to me. I don’t have an incarcerated family member, and I didn’t spend time teaching inmates how to sew, or some crap. I just think it’s a major issue, especially in this country, and I want to do something about it. Unfortunately, like I said, I don’t have much time left, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get it started. I’m charging my parents to use their money to start a new organization, based upon ideas that I’ve been working on for months. We have to lower our prison population, protect the ones who do belong there, and focus on reform and aid, rather than just tucking them under out of sight. I’ll never know whether what I create will do any good, but at least I’ll die with the assumption that it will. I guess that’ll just have to be good enough.

No comments :

Post a Comment