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Published:
11/1/04

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Life is Hard

By H.G. Miller

Iíve always longed to be one of those people for whom life was easy. Like one of those guys you see on TV, picking up the paper from a roadside stand while tossing a few dimes into a friendly blind manís cup and walking with the easy gate of a guy who knows heís providing background for the opening credits.

You know the types. Those people you see having coffee at a Starbucks, one foot resting on their kneecap while they relax with a multi-grain muffin that magically only spills crumbs directly into a napkin in their lap.

Everyday life just isnít that easy for me.

For example, I was sitting in a meeting last week, quietly minding my own business, trying desperately to care about last quarterís sales growth when a burp of monstrous proportions began crawling up my windpipe.

Panic began to set in as I realized that the easy tone of our client would do little to mask the furious burst of air aching to get out of my chest.

The whole meeting had gone like this. While everybody else sat down and opened their notebooks, smiling easily while sharing lighthearted stories about their kids and the upcoming Halloween holiday, I struggled to find a comfortable spot in my chair.

My boxers kept riding up into my crack, and every time I shifted in my seat to try moving the fabric down, my legs kicked into the table supports that were just high enough from the ground to line up with my shins.

My palms kept sweating because I took a chair too close to the projector, and the bagel I had made for myself quickly tumbled out of my grasp and landed creamy-side down onto the stack of flowcharts my boss had brought for the meeting.

I felt awkward and out of place. As everybody made little inside jokes and sipped at their coffee, I imagined a big black marker had scrawled the word ďfraudĒ across my forehead.

And then it started.

Orange juice gives me heartburn, and coffee makes me nauseous. So, I chose to grab a bottle of water for refreshment during the meeting. Seemed easy enough. Water helps cleanse the body, purify the soul and generally provide one with the inner peace that comes from knowing you took the high road of beverage consumption.

Unfortunately, what little bagel I had managed to snack on before decorating the flowcharts interacted in a bad way with the bottled water. It started as a gurgle in my stomach. The lady sitting next to me glanced over, but appeared to pay me no more mind.

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat and tried to take a few deep breaths.

So, I guess adding more air to the mix wasnít a good solution. A few minutes later, my stomach was churning with a determination usually reserved for hound dogs that have found the leg of their life.

I fought as hard as I could when the burp raced up my throat. I clenched my teeth, pursed my lips and squeezed my cheeks in an attempt to thwart the evil beast.

Some might say it was a moral victory of sorts, how I kept a full-fledged burp from erupting in the middle of the meeting. Iím not so sure.

The sound that came out of my body could best be described as a hiccup by somebody who has been sucking on a helium tank for about an hour, followed by a gurgle best suited as a sound effect in some childrenís and/or horror programming.

The speaker stopped for a moment and every eye shifted to me. I forced a smile and made some comment about a non-existent medical condition that made it hard to breathe when I was forced to wear a tie. I donít think they bought it, but nobody wanted to call me on it, either.

The fourth quarter profits were more important to people who didnít need to worry about how their asses didnít quite fit in the pre-formed divots of these fine conference room chairs.

Freaks like me Ė us poor, unfortunate, uncomfortable types Ė would just have to squirm and fidget for a while longer. The easy living couldnít be bothered with the hardships of everyday life.