A Random Image

Jett Superior laid this on you on || December 14, 2003 || 1:09 am

If you never read any of my other verbose blather, please read this.

“You may have noticed that I have big earlobes. They run in my family.”

And that, my friends, is the first sentence uttered to me by Trout after the initial introductions. We were in my car at the time, headed to see his brother at the Home For Children With Wayward Minds. [aside] I don’t know why I can never call it what it is –a Juvenile Mental Hospital– but I can’t, I just can’t. [/aside]

That sentence said so much to me about this thirteen-year-old boy. It conveyed a sense of humor, an underlying warmth (and willingness to connect), a stark matter-of-fact realism.

In short, I knew quickly and instinctively that he was an exception to every rule concerning displaced children.

Try as I might, I couldn’t resist making a connection with this kid, couldn’t leave him in his respective weekly time slot with regard to my headspace. Field workers, well– we spend lots of face time with clients, and sometimes they become more than numbers that flit in and out of our lives. And Trout, he’s far from being a string of numbers that I wag around and talk with and supervise visits for once a week.

I’ve mentioned before how, by all appearances, Trout was dropped into his family by aliens. Pale-skinned, dark-haired and -eyed, wan-faced and missing many teeth, they are sharp contrast to Trout’s robust appearance, peachy skin, lively (they don’t dance, they hop) blue eyes and full-toothed grin. There is no discernible intellect where his family is concerned, but Trout’s mind is far-reaching and amazing. He’s an excellent conversationalist, while his genetic fellows are so narrow and one-tracked that it’s nearly scary.

The first day I met him, Trout asked if I might take him to the library. It was the first time I’d ever received such a request. I’ve been asked by clients to stop for candy, to illicitly visit errant parents, for a burger and once –incredibly enough– for drugs (this one I turned down, even though I myself needed to be high after pushing them out of the car). Most requests I politely decline, because most of the time there’re an endless litany of ‘I wants’ thereafter, and I cannot afford them either time-wise or wallet-wise.

“So,” I said, “the library?” I was just a wee bit taken aback.

“Can you show me where it is?”

And we went to the library, where he selected several books. At one point he turned to me and asked for recommendations, which I excitedly gave. Madeline L’Engle. The Lemony Snicket Series. Trout checked out the maximum number of books the library would allow (twelve? fifteen?); I was jaw-dropped the next week when he told me he’d read them all. The thing is, I know he read them all, because we had discussions about them. I bring him books now: ‘Coraline‘ by Neil Gaiman and ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’ series by Douglas Adams (please, honey, if you don’t know by now, a little link ain’t gonna help) were my most recent offerings.

One week he excitedly showed me a dollar.

“This week when we go to the library, I can buy used books! They’re five for a dollar,” and later in the day he led me into a room overflowing with antique texts with library bindings. I gave him the last two dollars in my wallet and then watched later as he lined his purchases up across his headboard at the boys’ home. The books are shabby, but they are his.

So yeah, Trout is in a boys’ home with eight other adolescent boys. The place is located in a less-than-stellar part of town, and there is an eight-foot-tall chain link fence that surrounds it and gets locked at night. The fellas don’t spend a whole lot of time outside, as there is not much yard, and even if there were, the neighborhood is unsavory. Trout is the only white kid tossed in with a group of very “street” black kids and he is picked on because of this, because he came down off a mountain, because he is caucasian, because, because. I know this not because he whines about it, but because he’s just straightforward and frank. He gets picked on for being a smart kid, as well.

Trout’s family, to be quite blunt, gives no kind of fuck about him. In the five months I’ve had his case, Mom and Dad have only made two of the weekly visits, and they never call the boy. At first he was hopeful (heartbreaking, that) but now he is resigned: “To be honest, Miss Beth, I don’t think I ‘m ever going back home. My parents don’t do anything they’re supposed to so they can get me back.”

His brother, who by my inexpert estimation will never be suitable to be set free, views things from a different (deluded) angle, employing the phrase, “When we get home, Trout…” a whole bunch.

Trout eyes him evenly on these occasions, and with no trace of bitterness or sorrow, says, “Jonah, we aren’t ever going home.” Resolute, and it sends hot pop-rivets into my heart all the more for the fact that there is no whining or blubbering involved. [aside] I had a friend that went to Bosnia and wrote to me about an orphanage that was eerily quiet, even though there were rows upon rows of cribs; the babies had become so accustomed to their cries going unanswered because there were so many of them and so little staff that they eventually gave up doing so altogether. I am discomfitingly reminded of this by Trout’s response to his family situation…[/aside]

“I think I’ll go to Harvard,” he told me one day with decided conviction, “It’s an excellent school. I’d make a good attorney, and I want to help people.” We were, of course, driving down the road.

“Plus, I want to make lots of money.”

“You can’t make money and help people, Trout,” I told him wryly, eyeballing him sideways past the arm of my sunglasses. I turned to him, raising my eyebrows.

“You gotta pick one or the other.”

He just grinned three miles wide and said, “You watch me.” Holy cow, it’s me all over again. And you know, I half-believe him.

I do things for Trout where I can: a hamburger here, some lip balm there; these are the little things that nobody thinks much about, but that can make life easier in some way. Last week, he went to his first dance.

“Call me with her dress color, and we’ll see about flowers, Trout,” I told him the week prior. They went, twenty of Maxim’s dollars in hand, had some pizza, took some pictures.

We can’t do it all, though, because even though we truly hurt for nothing, sometimes we wonder how we will do for ourselves. That in mind, coupled with the fact that Trout’s parents give not a shit and love their new (well, if eighteen months is new) childless state, I set out to make sure he would have a super birthday (Monday, the day after Mathias’) and a most righteous Christmas.

I found a group of ladies willing to collect money for him, and I excitedly informed Trout that he and I would go shopping after his weekly visit.

That, on my part, was incredibly stupid; I should recall that good intentions will sometimes pull up short, stringing you up in them hard and leaving you to choke.

Yesterday morning the head fundraiserlady called; I foolishly thought it was to arrange a meeting and hand off the shopping money.

“Hey girl,” she said to me, “…look, three families that are going to be without have come to our attention, and we’ve decided to do something for them.” My heart plummeted to my ankles. I mean, I don’t begrudge this decision, because I understand the Utilitarian concept of doing the most good for the greatest number.

But I told this kid he’d be able to go Christmas shopping. I was planning to take him for something nice –the one “WHOA. WOW.” present all kids hold their breath for– a few little things, some decent clothes (he lusts a pair of name-brand sneaks with a phenomenal passion), brand-new books all his own, a good watch, a wallet (for the beloved liberry card).

And shit, it eats me up, because I simply don’t have the resources. So I’m going to do something that I don’t often do here in this forum, and I’m gonna poke my hand out to see if you guys will fill it in order to give this child a Christmas to remember, as he’s never really been in a position of being a receiver before. There are those of you that have remarked on how I should put up a tip jar, how I should ask in times of need (The Great Textbook Crisis of ‘03, and GMAC still awaits part of their money, YAY! >:o) ), how I should be paid for what I write because it is well and truly worthy. Okay, I’m taking you up on it. I’m asking now. The money will have to get here relatively quick, and I have a PayPal account that I use for my eBay transactions; it’s not set up for credit cards, because I firmly object to their three-and-a-half percent fees but I would upgrade for this situation. There is express mail, too, if you had faith enough in me to send a check. Something, anything. Hell, if you don’t feel comfortable sending money, there are a couple of things that I know for sure he wants and you could just send those if that settles better on you.

I’m tired of feeling impotent in the face of the world’s ills, and this kid is so worth it, y’all. He’s so very worth it. That’s a compliment I don’t bestow lightly, no matter the age or circumstance.

I’m asking for something that I don’t often beg: Your help. Please lend it to this situation.

16 worked it out »

  1. unmute 12.14.2003

    throw up that paypal link, shug. maybe an amazon wishlist? i’m tryin’ to help here. how about a dog-eared copy of catcher in the rye? leather-bound journal with one page ripped out?

    kids should be loved. such a shame that something so simple is so often overlooked.

  2. Jennifer 12.14.2003

    Yes, do put up that link. I don’t have much, but I’ll give you something for that amazing kid.

  3. Jettomatika 12.14.2003

    Hey guys….for obvious reasons, I don’t want to put up the link here. If you will e-mail me directly ( amazingjettgrrrlAThotmailDOTcom ), then I’ll send all the pertinent information.

    Thanks so much!

  4. Anonymous 12.14.2003

    HOKAY, I changed my mind. Button shortly.

  5. Jettomatika 12.14.2003

    I’m anonymous today, btw.

  6. Teresa 12.14.2003

    I hit your paypal (under one of my other email addy’s from work) I hope my little bit helps. I wish I could do more, I’ve already sent out about 5 other presents to people who are having a hard year this year, so my available funds are a bit less than in years past. Anyway, Merry Christmas to you, your family and Trout.

  7. peter 12.15.2003

    Done and done.

  8. unmute 12.15.2003

    i squeaked out a little something fer yer itty fish friend. give him our regards.

  9. JaxVenus 12.16.2003

    I went ahead and sent mine a little earlier. I hope my little bit helps, and he is able to have a Merry Christmas. : O)

  10. Skillzy 12.16.2003

    Sent you an e-mail…holla back.

  11. Jett 12.16.2003

    YAYAYAY for all you people!

  12. MaC 12.17.2003

    I put in mine, hope it’s not too late.

    Wow, I can remember myself covetously clutching that wonderfully icky green covered compendium of douglas adam’s “trilogy”.

    Sometimes I think reality is way too much for me now. I can’t imagine seeing life in all it’s stark, unfeeling truth at that age. If there’s anything else an airman can do, let me know, I’ll do what I can.

  13. John 12.17.2003

    I usually get a blowjob when I give money to women…


  14. Jettomatika 12.17.2003

    Well, fuckknuckle, seems that would be a non-issue since you are giving it to a little boy.

  15. Skillzy 12.17.2003

    John’s comment kinda explains why he has to pay for em, huh?

  16. Tell Trout to be the first to put BREAKING NIGHT by Liz Murray on hold when it’s published (Amazon has incorrect title as Breaking Unit), and that it is not unprecedented to go from abandonment and poverty to — even President. What he can dream he can become. (Abraham Lincoln biographies would be good too; there are so many old and new inspirational biographies along these lines.)

    He is in my deliberate prayers, the “best” I can do today as, unfortunately, poverty is currently my middle name. I know you’ll do wonderful things with what comes.

    Holiday blessings to all,

    Relevant or Irrelevant


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