Source: ht tp://markymarksthoughts.blogspot.com/2010/07/story-of-mike.html
I’m writing this to tell you of an old friend of mine, a man I greatly respected and the tale of his life. What makes this man special is the that by all accounts his life, his married life, working life, and family life, was a "success" by the standards laid down by modern society. I’ll call him Michael (not is real name) and he was a true blue worker, very intelligent, and raised to provide by two parents who stayed together and raised their son with strict Baptist values. He wasn’t all that handsome but invested his younger years diligently, pursuing an engineering degree at Duke University back when grade inflation didn’t exist (early 1960’s). The girls he dated, well, he didn’t date much as he was a nerd and being the 60’s the girls with the new freedom used that freedom to ride the cock train of football players and players in general. The new age of sexual emancipation left Mike at the station. Years after college Mike met a girl who had gotten her fill of the bad boys, and they started dating. True she was no virgin while Mike was, she’d had several relationships and relations before but she recognized the value of Mike in that he had a new job with an up and coming career track – computers! Misinterpretation of his prior religious teaching ordered him to forgive this girl’s past and instead focus only on the future. It was his duty after all. He married her and worked, hard. His father worked for the railroad and the company had taken care of him so Mike knew that this was the way to a good life. Work hard, and the company would reward and take care of you. Then the 1970’s hit with the Carter recession and all that loyalty and hard work amounted to nothing. Still he tried again, found another job (that forced him to move frequently) and this one wanted even more hours than the prior job. I remember him saying "It’s Friday do you know what that means? It’s only two more working days until Monday!" and off he’d go. Everyday. For 43 years. He had two children, a boy then a girl, and worked while his wife stayed at home. Later on after the children were out of high school Mikes wife dabbled a little here and there and worked part time occasionally for a convenience store. The extra money was nice but not enough so she pecked Mike continuously to make extra money. It was never enough. "Go tell your boss you need more! You should show him your value! A real man would provide for his children!" and on it went. Mike was getting older now, and had always had diabetes, a life long condition he had to treat with regular insulin injections. The shots were painful but he needed them to think straight. Of course there was the time he was laid off in 1980 with no insurance and the daughter needed braces. A real man knows when to put others first after all. And of course when the mother in law needed a new roof, and he really had promised his wife that new washing machine, and oh she needed to go see her mother for Christmas as well and airfare was so expensive. So the medicine(s) waited, more than once.
His children were boomerang types, his daughter slutted it up with a guy and moved in with him but later on came back home until she was able to snag a younger version of Mike. His son dropped out of college a few times and then came home to be a bum for 2 years after deciding that work was too nerve wracking. Mike would never throw his children out so they stayed for several more years. Several more. Finally when his son hit 28 he found a slut with a child from another guy and got her pregnant. The girl wanted a lavish wedding but his son was only working at a book store and couldn’t afford it – no big wedding so it seemed. Mike’s wife knew better of course, and argued with him for months about paying for the big day. She’d gotten a lavish wedding (thank you Mike) and didn’t Mike know how important a wedding is to his future daughter? Yes this was his vacation money, yes after so many years of hard work he was finally going to get to go do something he always wanted (to see the Northern lights in Alaska). Yes he was going to finally get that Harley Davidson and ride up there after 35 years of no vacations at all. BUT This was going to be his daughter according to his wife and his kids HAD to come first…. So the girl got her wedding. Then his real daughter needed help with a house. Her new husband turned out not to be a copy of Mike after all but a thug with a criminal record who had just lost his job. Why did his daughter lie about this guy to Mike? Her wedding was very expensive too. Oh well it was too late now and his daughter did need a place to live and she just found out she was pregnant! He didn’t have the money but his wife researched it and 2nd mortgages were so easy to get back then. True, his house after so many years of work was almost paid off but his grandchild needed a real home and there was no way his new son in law could afford it and Mike was told he could now work up to 10 hours more overtime if he wanted. 60 hours wasn’t too much of a sacrifice and he’d at least get a leg up on that promotion, maybe.
Another decade passed and after scrimping and saving and even more hard work the mortgages were paid off. In a rare perfect storm both children (now well into there 30’s with kids of their own) didn’t need something. The mother in law didn’t need a new appliance, or home repair, or another new car being long past her driving years. Yes, now, this was the time. Mike now 64, proudly strode into the Harley dealership and filled out a custom order sheet. In 8 weeks a shiny new Harley would arrive and he would get to ride it. He would finally take a vacation, his first real vacation since college. Sure his wife and kids had gone on many many vacations over the years but he always had stayed behind – to work. Something always came up. One time it was that there just wasn’t money or neighbors to take care of – of all things – the dogs! 3 Lassa’s that Mike never wanted yipping and shitting all over the place. Ugh… still at least his wife would get a vacation – she deserved it after all didn’t she? There was even that one time (he hoped it was just the one time) where he found out his wife had hooked up with an old boyfriend when she said she was going to visit her mother. He forgave her of course a divorce would have devastated his kids (he knew they were his – or at least he hoped) and of course he’d have lost everything with the divorce laws – besides wasn’t he a Christian? Shouldn’t he just forgive and forget? What does his pride or even himself matter? He had never cheated on her or even been with another woman – not even once – but that was normal and he knew that she appreciated that didn’t she?
The last big push before new years came at work and Mike was tired. His wife as always spent Christmas and new years with her mother – and he knew this time she really was with her mother – she was too old to cheat on him now wasn’t she? When she got back he would be free of dog sitting and he would take his new Harley on the road for the first time. Shiny and red, he hadn’t even ridden it yet. He read the owner’s manual 100 times and knew everything about it, he couldn’t wait and it was all he talked about at work! It was brand new and kept in the garage but he stripped the engine and cleaned and oiled everything just to make sure! It was polished, waxed, and hospital clean. All was ready. His first ride on his HIS!! brand new Harley to see the Northern lights. It was the culmination of his life’s work and now it was really going to happen. Mike was so excited.
On December 29th his daughter called and left an angry message on the tape machine. She wanted to visit but the snow was blocking the drive-way and she had her daughter and no snow shovel! Why the f**k hadn’t Mike shoveled the driveway? He knew she was coming to visit that lazy good for nothing piece of crap. NOTE: the words she used were in reality more caustic than this – I have lightened them considerably.
On January 3rd his son came to visit and found his father cold and lifeless surrounded by a ring of dog shit. He’d had a massive stroke, likely from the diabetes, and the paramedics said they thought that he didn’t suffer for long – but it was hard to tell. When Mike’s wife returned later on she immediately made plans to sell the house. She raged that Mike hadn’t left her enough life insurance and no instructions on what to do – what a irresponsible man what the hell was he thinking? He should have provided better for her especially since he knew she was too old to work! She was 62!!! Insurance was so expensive for someone in his condition but if he hadn’t squandered *their* money on that stupid bike he could have afforded it. Her old boyfriend George was so much more successful – oh how she regretted not marrying him! The bike was listed on Ebay that week. "Never ridden Harley – brand new! $17,000 or best offer".
By every PC measure Mike’s life was a success. He worked his whole life for someone else and doubtless made millions for his bosses over the course of his career. He took care of 3 people and two grandchildren that would have been on the dole if not for his efforts, and paid punitive taxes to take care of many more along the way. He never collected a dime of social security or unemployment even when he was laid off – he was just too proud to file. He never took Medicare and he made lots of profit for 2 large banks, 2 colleges, and never once thought of himself. He died cold and alone, surrounded by shit, never once having done anything for himself. His epitaph was a bike on Ebay – his life’s dream – sold to a dealer for $15,500 – the best offer his widow could get several years ago. She took a cruise with the money. America thanks you Mike. You were a real success, and moreover a blueprint for what we expect a modern man to be. R.I.P.