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They Call Me: “him”

About the author

Don Barone

Don Barone

db has been in the reporting biz for over 30 years, won some Emmys and other awards, but is proudest of his four-decade marriage, his two kids and the fact he founded Tackle The Storm Foundation to help children.

“One by one, my hopes are vanished in the twilight…”

Dateline:  Our Future

I remember the day the world told me,

I didn’t matter.

Mattered none.

Remember every moment of the 45 minutes it took for me to realize the world had just turned it’s back to me.

It was 4th period.

Junior year.

High School.

It was at a “Parent Conference,” with my mother, and my Guidance Counselor.

For 45 minutes I sat in a straight back chair and listened to all my faults, heard I didn’t “test well,”


“not college material,”

“mind wanders,”

and the childhood Coup de Grace, “maybe…slow…you know.”

In the hallway after the session, as all the other kids in high school walked by, my mother could barely look at me as she said, “I told you so, you are nothing but a disappointment.”

And then she walked away.

But I don’t, I DON’T blame her at all, here was a working stiff lady, barely a high school education herself, a human being conditioned with the belief that men in ties and suit coats knew more than she did, were smarter than she was, and she just sat through 45 minutes of pretty much being told her son, was a dope.

I don’t blame her at all.

From that moment on, I blamed those in suits and ties.

From that moment on, I blamed authority,

and stopped listening to it.

What was decided at that meeting was that college was out of the picture for me, so I was put into a program called, “Work Study.”

I was being trained to be a worker, a serf, not a king.

We would take a couple of classes, check back in to the “Work Study” room, and then leave the school for the job the school, or someone, found for us, the job someone felt we could handle.

I was out the door, out of the school’s hair before the 1st lunch period.

I spent the rest of the day learning how to change tires in a muffler shop.  It was how I got the school credit to graduate.

Being a tire changer.

I was 17.

And lost.

And angry.

Not once during the 45 minutes where the world said I didn’t matter, not once did they ever call me by my name, that’s how little I mattered.

They only called me….him.

Or sometimes…he.

When a child loses his name, he loses hope.

He becomes concave.

Shrinks inward.

Belief in themselves, is lost.

The world shrinks to “Them.”  

And take it from me, “him” becomes…invisible.

Which is how I felt.

Felt, not there anymore, felt not ALLOWED to be there anymore.

If only during the 45 minutes when they world told me that I mattered none, if only once the world asked me a question, if only once the world would have listened instead of dictated, they would have heard this:

Him…would have told them,

“I see words in my head and the words float on music, I see the words and the music at the same time and as the words and the music get bigger and bigger the words and the music turn into pictures…in my head.  When you talk…I SEE YOUR STORY.”

Him…would have told them,

“I’m not distracted…him is not, not paying attention…him is just watching what you are saying in my head…watching your story play out.”

But no one ever asked.