I don’t know what scares me about it. Maybe it’s because there is something so unsettling about the title of mentor. It’s a lot of pressure. A mentor isn’t just a person you hang out with. A mentor is a person you hang out with so they can impart their wisdom and bestow upon you valuable life lessons that accelerate your personal growth. So maybe I’m afraid that the criplet will hang out with me expecting to receive valuable life lessons, only to realize that I’m just another schlump. But then again, I suppose when a kid who looks up to you figures out that you’re just another schlump, you’ve taught that kid a valuable life lesson. But I don’t think that’s how the mentor thing is supposed to work.
Or maybe I’m afraid the kid’s parents will find out that I’m mentoring him and that surely won’t turn out well. I think I know me pretty well, or at least well enough to know that if I had a kid I’d be pretty suspicious about him being mentored by a degenerate like me. Really, if there was a law requiring everybody who shouldn’t be mentoring your kids to register with the police, you’d see my mug front and center.
Or maybe I’m afraid that the kid they send for me to mentor will be pretty much like I was as a teenager. Back in those days, I was an inmate at a state-operated boarding school for cripples. They sent an older guy in a wheelchair to mentor me. He was a graduate of the school. (We inmates referred to graduates as parolees). We hung out a couple times but my reception of him was lukewarm. It wasn’t his fault. It’s just that it was like a dud blind date or an arranged marriage. No spark.
This mentor was sent to me so I could ask him all of my burning questions. But as a teenager I only had one burning question: How do I get laid? It’s the same burning question every teenager has. It’s no different when you’re crippled. One of my quad friends became a quad as a teenager. She got run over by a car. And she says after she woke up in the ICU with a halo screwed into her skull and tubes coming out of every orifice, she realized the magnitude of what happened and her first thought was, “Will I ever get laid again?”
I didn’t feel like asking my one burning question of the guy who was dispatched to mentor me. I guess I didn’t think he had the answer, or at least not the answer I wanted to hear. I’ll tell you who I wanted to be my mentor. I wanted Hawkins, one of the inmates. He was just a couple years older than me, but I figured that guy really knew how to get laid. First, he was one of those jock paraplegic wheelchair basketball player types, and those guys were at the top of the cripple food chain when it came to getting laid. They were the alphas. He also gave off a kind of badass Jesse Jackson vibe and the ladies ate up that stuff, too. I never brought myself to ask Hawkins to kindly reveal unto me the secret of getting laid. I’m sure I feared he would either laugh or tell me if I want to get laid all I have to do is become a jock paraplegic wheelchair basketball player who gives off a kind of badass Jesse Jackson vibe.
But that’s really what it comes down to. I don’t want to be a mentor because I know that once we get past the small talk, my criplet mentee will ask me for tips on getting laid. What will I say? “Well, kid, you wanna know the key word? Volume. I approach getting laid like telemarketing. That’s my strategy. I figure if I make my sales pitch enough times over and over, sooner or later someone will buy what I’m selling.”
And then I’ll pat my criplet on the back, wish him well and send him out into the jungle.