Admissions of Excuse Boy

The smell of the burning chicken feathers was less pronounced as it usually was. Apparently the chicken plant on Rutherford Road had burned off the day’s supply that morning. It’s a horrible smell and one I’m glad doesn’t waft toward my home unless the winds are blowing the wrong way.

I was in the middle of a complimentary tale of a friend’s law school success. She was smart, got out of the news business, and went to law school in Boston. She’s doing quite well.

Maybe it was the fresh air, free from chicken feathers. Maybe I was just feeling day-dreamy at night. Whatever it was, I launched into another if-only story.

“I think if there were a law school here in town, I’d do the same thing as Susannah did. It if it weren’t for the geography…” Yada, freakin’, yada.

If my brother or father had been sitting in the car with me at the time, I would’ve received the standard Willis response to if-only stories.

“…and if you’re aunt had balls, she’d be your uncle.”

Willis folk don’t take kindly to if-only stories. Willis folk do or don’t and don’t worry about what’s in between.

I’d like to say my wife–who happened to be the unfortunate sounding board for my bi-monthly blathering about the future–was nicer than my brother or father would’ve been. However, she again hit below the belt.

Instead of responding in-kind with day-dreamy stories of a life less ordinary, she waited a few seconds, waited for me to turn off Rutherford Road and hit me with her best shot.

“You know what you should be doing with the rest of your life, don’t you?”

My fragile pschye wanted to ignore the question or respond with an absurdity: Professional poker player, island bar singer, network news correspondent. Sadly, though, the foundation of her question has been a long-running war of attrition on Mt. Willis.

My wife wants me to write for a living.

The same morning we were eating brunch as I scanned the local weekly (more a society rag than actual newspaper). A local doctor had written a column about his recent trip to Las Vegas. The column was about as average as you would imagine. He even went as far as to admit this about three paragraphs into the missive: He was writing the column so he could write off the trip as a business expense.

Fucking, great.

I have a long list of excuses that I whip out any time my wife gets on this kick. I begin with the simple fact that I don’t have much to write about. She generally responds by pointing a finger directly at Rapid Eye Reality. I continue with the fact that most the people who read this thing are people who know me. She rarely has a good answer for that one, but jumps into a quiet rant about what great fodder my daily work provide for material.

So here we go. Here’s my excuse.

I’m afraid of failing at something I don’t believe I’m that good at when I’m already doing moderately well at something I’m moderately good at.

Thereya go.

Tonight on the way home from my jobby-job, I’ll drive by the chicken plant and test the air for burned check feathers. If the air is again clean, I’ll consider it the mark of a good day and reaffirmation that in the absence of something to write about today, there is at least the possibility that one day I’ll be able to write about the renewed burning of feathers on Rutherford Road. I’m sure there’s a story in there somewhere.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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