The One Thing I Know About Card Games

I don’t know any card games. Poker never made sense to me. But I do know this much: a lot has to do with the hand you’re dealt. Such is the same with life.

Back in days when it was bros before homework – hoes hadn’t figured into the equation yet – we snuck into Adam Sandler movies and ate so much sugary shit our teeth hurt. Going to the movies with Henry was a blast. He threw popcorn at the screen and made lewd comments at people as they walked by looking for seats.

At school, the same shenanigans continued. His brother owned a porn shop, so when we were a few years older – and when hoes did start to matter – he’d come in with a backpack filled with Penthouse and sell them for a few dollars each. He got thrown out of health class for yelling, “hey, give me a kiss!” when the teacher explained that a labia looked like a pair of lips.

He was a clown. He was my friend.

Henry and I shared a sense of humor, a taste in music, and an attitude towards authority figures. Our home lives though, no matter how much we thought the same and felt the same, our home lives were different, and that’s what mattered. My family had its share of screaming matches and bouts of mental illness, but my father never held my mother’s face to the stove and turned on the burner. I was never sent to a foster home. My brother never made me perform sexual favors.

My room at home had a door, a cheap one that I punched a hole in at some point, but a door nonetheless. Henry’s room had a plastic divider that child services told his mother she had to put up in order for it to qualify as a bedroom. It was really just a closet.

I went to college. Henry’s mother threw him out of the house when we were in high school for a reason I never knew forcing him to drop out at age 17. When I was worrying about the first semester’s final exams, he was worrying about finding a place to sleep. Eventually he would find an abandoned strip mall. This is where he contracted meningitis and died.

That’s Henry’s story. He was my friend.

When people talk to me about self-made men and about how everybody’s got a chance, I tell them about Henry, and the hand he was dealt, and how he never had no fucking chance.


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