Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fiction: Whatever doesn't kill you

This story was delightfully easy to write.

Whatever doesn't kill you

makes you stronger.  This is what my friend said when he took me out to dinner not long after she left me.  I sat back, chewed it over, and realized that my friend didn't mean whatever doesn't kill you; he meant whatever hurts you.  So when he reached for another piece of calamari, I stabbed the back of his hand with my fork.  He grimaced in surprise, sucking in his breath and hissing out his pain, and when I asked him if he felt any stronger, he threw his beer at me and called me a fucking asshole and left.

A fucking asshole.  That was rich, coming from him.  Yet, as I watched him rush out of the restaurant with one hand cradled by the other, I had to admit that his stride did look more forceful, more purposeful.  Stronger, one might say.  And that was when I realized I might just be the strongest man in the whole wide world.

Back in college, some of my friends were waaaay into working out.  Which was cool and all, but it always took me aback when one of them started screaming in pain, and another screamed back, "Yeah dude!  Whatever doesn't kill you make you stronger!"

Being the contrarian that I am, I mulled this claim over in my mind, and one day I asked, "Hey, what if, you know, a lion ate your hand or leg or something?  Or what if the lion left you like that dude in Monty Python, the one with no arms or legs?  Would that really make you stronger?"

My friends were forced to concede that, yes, I had a point, and from them on they qualified their statement: "Yeah dude!  Whatever doesn't kill you or irreparably maim you makes you stronger!"

This story is both an homage to their original statement, and an apology for being such a stickler for details.  Sorry guys, and thanks for putting up with me!

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