Every Family Has One

Chapter 32, Blog 1

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang



When my thought process re-engaged, I tried to shake the hand of the guy who beat me. You know, sportsmanship – that horseshit. He would have none of it.

“Get away from me, you old fart.”


Harry led me off the track.

“Don’t mind him. Just another asshole. Ten more meters and you beat him, too.” said Harry. “He knows it.”

My coach never cussed without a good reason.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Nothing. Come, walk it off. You have what you came for,” he said. “Damn, that was fast.”

My over-the-top effort taxed every atom I owned. Now, I paid for it.

Lightheaded, I felt my noggin soar higher than the Goodyear blimp. The rest of my body trembled with exhausted blood veins still working off a record oxygen debt. My senses flickered in and out. My muscles sputtered. I had trouble lifting my arms.

Finally, my brain rebooted.

“The Mohawk! That was brilliant!” I exclaimed. “Where did you find that nut?”

“Just someone who needed $20,” said Harry. “Doggone, right?”

“Damn right! I needed that.”

“Let’s get the hell out of here,” said coach.

When we got home from Iowa, Melinda made me go to the Porter County Courthouse and pay the $3 to get a copy of my birth certificate. I needed it for our trip to New York City.

“Yes,” I told Regis Philbin during my three-and-a-half, frightening minutes on the “Regis and Kelly” show. “Yes, I am 49 years old. See.” I held up my birth certificate for the camera. “Born Feb. 23, 1959.”

I offered the document to Regis as he fumbled for his reading glasses. The audience giggled. Regis shrugged.

“You don’t look a day over 50,” said Regis, and the audience let loose.

Melinda and the girls took turns telling Kelly how proud they were of me. But poor Regis did look much older in person, Melinda noted.

Back in Valparaiso, my methodical agent plowed through a new wave of offers, mostly off-the-wall and screwball. Friends and relatives also were calling, especially Uncle Fred.

Who? Uncle Fred?

Who in the hell was Uncle Fred?  On the phone, he told Melinda he was dad’s half-brother.

“Funny, mom never mentioned any Uncle Fred that I remember,” I said.

I tossed his phone number in the trash.

“We ARE changing our number ASAP,” I said.

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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