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Second chances

Commentary by Mike Fleming

October 9th, 1996. One day left. I've known about this paper since July, and I just started it two days ago. It's due tomorrow, my 12-15 page paper for Dr. Scholtzhauer's Contemporary History class. Why do I do this to myself? Do I not like sleeping or am I insane? I'll take option a, I don't like sleeping. I'm not quite ready to call myself insane. Yet.

This has been a pattern of mine for about a year now. I had two semesters (basically) to do my feasibility report for Business Communications, but I kept putting it off, rationalizing my procrastination with excuses. Excuses like "I don't have to work next weekend, so I'll get started on it then." This was one of my favorites. But when the weekend rolled around, I would usually find something more fun to do, or something else that I had put off had to be done. I ended up starting the feasibility report three days before it was due. I got a 92 on it...not bad for having written most of it while watching the Super Bowl.

I lost an old high school friend not too long ago. Drunk driver crossed the center line and hit his car head on. The End. He died before he got to the hospital, and several weeks before I could get up there to see him. Another friend, gone. I never got the chance to tell him a lot of things. Never thanked him for being there when I needed to bitch and complain. Never got to thank him for being there when I needed advice or help with my algebra homework. Never got to tell him I was gay. (I really was going to....this month actually.)

I remember one of the last times we hung out, us and a few others from our graduating class. May 27, 1994. We had just finished the graduation rehearsal and were sitting around the sun dial outside the school. We were high school graduates (well, almost). I felt really close to them all and wanted to tell them. Wanted to tell them that they were great friends. Wanted to tell them if they ever needed someone to talk to, that even though I was leaving for Phoenix in 3 weeks, they could always come to me to talk. But I didn't. I didn't want them to laugh at me, call me a chicken or something. The day was already pretty emotional for me, I could just see myself bursting into tears as I told them. Not a good thing, at least that's what I though. Besides, I could always tell them later. Now I see two of that group gone, and I realize I should have done it then.

My eleventh grade English teacher Mr. Ross had said "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." I think he got it from a book, but I'm not totally sure. (If you know, please e-mail me). As young people, we are not always aware that although we might think we have plenty of time to tell those around us what they mean to us, all too often this is not the case. We might have the best plans to tell them their great friends, I know I did. Now, I'll never get the chance to tell them. Don't put things off until it's too late, you'll never get second chance.

Mike Fleming, 20, lives in Phoenix after moving there in June 1994. He can be reached online at mike@swlink.net and he has a webpage at http://www.swlink.net/~mike/.
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