The good thing about life is that there are checks and balances. Everyone needs them. People like Gandhi and Patton weren’t born great. They were forged from the iron of their birth into the steel icons that still exist through the heat of position and the pressure of time.

Today I’m home sick from work. A little less than a week ago, I got another full blown cold to replace the previous one that had been pestering me at a low level for four weeks. I’ve been at work this whole time, but today I need the break.

It reminds me of the time when I was in eleventh grade telling a story before math class. There were about six or seven people, some older, some younger, some jocks and some nerds and some regular people. We were gathered around my desk listening to my story. I don’t remember what I was talking about but I do remember Carrie Green saying something. Carrie was a middle of the road person from my grade school years. She wasn’t at the top of the cool list, but she certainly wasn’t a nerd. She enjoyed upper level status for years and though she was accused of incest for kissing her first cousin by all the other kids, I think she weathered that storm and came out fine.

So fast forward to eleventh grade. I’ve left grade school far behind and moved on to a new rep with new friends and things are moving well for me. I see Carrie there at her desk, and I’m aware of the danger she used to pose. But I tell my story in math class anyway, and at the end of it, when everyone is laughing, Carrie pipes up and says, “Jonny,” everyone called me Jonny back in grade school, “Didn’t you used to be a big nerd in grade school? I remember when you didn’t have any friends.”

I asked her why she felt it was necessary to talk about that. She said she just thought it was funny that I was now the center of attention, and that I was such a big nerd before, that’s all. The other people in the group started to go back to their seats. The glass was broken and fat Carrie who used to be hot in grade school was standing there with her equalizing hammer. It was a check. She felt whatever she felt about life and she decided to bring me down a few notches.

But it’s a good lesson. You can never get too big. Your ego should never approach your abilities. And whatever fame or fortune you may enjoy in life, realize that there might be a Carrie Green standing there to rip it away and expose your white underbelly.

I don’t know what each of these grade school people are doing these days. I’ve heard tales of vast injustice where some of the worst people are now doctors and married with their own children. But I care little. I’m not racing with them for they aren’t worth playing against. I already know I’ve beaten them by surviving and not turning out like them.

What do you think?