“Underqualified! Again,” his father would say over and over. It was his mantra of self loathing.
“Jamie, I hope one day you ain’t underqualified,” he would say, old computer in front of his glazed eyes, bottle of whiskey in one hand, cigarette in the other.
“But Dad,” his son pleaded with a hint of desperate, youthful helpfulness. “Why don’t you just go to school and learn something. Get good and then you can get a job. I know you can. Just try, ok?”
He lay his head on the table in perpetual desperation. “I can’t, Jamie. I’m too old. Companies want the young workers, not old bastards like me.”
“Go play, son and leave this old man alone.”
It was the same, night after night. Searching the Internet and newspapers for jobs, half bottle of whiskey and pack of cigarettes consumed in solitude before collapsing on the tattered couch or fourth hand easy chair. At the age of twelve Jamie just stopped trying. He was unqualified to help his father. Those that could help were ”stupid,” or “didn’t know shit,” or “didn’t know how hard his life was.”
“Jamie, come on, hun! If we are going to make the 7:15 ferry we gotta make tracks!”
Through the tears, he smiled. Standing at his Dad’s diminutive, newly cut gravestone, head bowed, he prayerfully whispered, “I love you Dad. Fuck you and your goddamn underqualifications.”
Turning, he wiped the tears from his face and waved to his girlfriend waiting with their bikes by the gravel road. Putting on his helmet and gloves he thought, ‘Fuck your underqualifications. Life is waiting for me to grab it.’