Barry J. Boddiker was a born winner. He was handsome. He was smart. He had all the qualities of a winner, yet for some reason life just wasn’t working out for him. For some reason, he just couldn’t seem to catch a break.
For the life of him, he just couldn’t understand why. He had striking features and a full head of hair. He was tall, muscular, and resembled a young Harrison Ford.
He was smart. Brilliant, in fact. He spoke several languages, was well-versed in the art of etiquette and decorum. Somehow though, success had eluded him.
Then one day he was talking to his brain, as he often did, when his brain explained to him the reason why. It seems the whole thing was based on denial.
Yes, that part of the brain that processes denial. Anosognosia, to be exact. You see, it appears that Barry was suffering from a deficit of self-awareness. In short, he could not see what was right in front of him: that he was a winner, through and through. It seems damage to his parietal lobe (perhaps as a child) was causing him not to see things as they really were.
“So, what can I do about it?” he asked his brain.
Believe in yourself, his brain told him. Believe that you can do it, and you will.
“I don’t know,” said Barry. “What if I just turn that part of my brain off? The denial part.”
Oh no, said his brain, You don’t want to do that.
“Why not? If it’s that part of my brain that’s holding me back, then why not just shut it down?”
Because you need it.
“Need it? Need it for what?”
For the same reason a car needs brakes, or a skydiver needs a parachute, said his brain. His brain always seemed to have the answer.
But to Barry, this was all just a bunch of double talk, designed by his brain to once again get exactly what it wanted.
“I don’t believe a word you say,” said Barry. “After all, aren’t you the one who told me I could do anything I want to do?”
“Aren’t you the one who told me I can be anyone I want to be?”
“So, what about the time I tried out for the track team? The football team?”
You didn’t give it your all.
“Didn’t give it my all? What about the time I asked out Mary Ellen Masry? Susan Brooke Davis?
You didn’t have the confidence?
“Didn’t have the confidence? And who’s fault was that?”
“I’ll tell you who’s fault it was,” said Barry, as he whacked himself in the head.
Now, now, said Barry’s brain, there’s no call for that.
“I’ll tell you what’s called for,” said Barry, and he proceeded to go into deep thought.
No, said his brain, You don’t want to do that.
Deep, deep thought.
Holding his breath.
Despite the superior intellect of Barry’s brain, Barry himself was still able to turn off that part of his brain that processes denial. Finally, he was free to accomplish anything, which at this point in time just so happened to be asking out Marianne Tomson, the beautiful, curvaceous new girl at the office.
With that in mind, Barry proceeded to prepare himself. He showered up, picked out his best suit, dowsed himself in cologne, then moseyed on over to the mirror. That’s when it hit him.
Standing there in the mirror was not the handsome man with striking features and a full head of hair. It was not the tall, muscular man who resembled a young Harrison Ford. Instead, it was a hideous, balding, short, fat man with a bowling ball where his belly button was supposed to be. Harrison Ford? More like Archie Bunker.
No more denial. Indeed.
Philip Loyd has been published in more than 100 print magazines in 12 countries, and in hundreds of online publications as well. Included in his many awards is the Hemingway Center Short Story Prize. He is represented by New York Literary Agent Jan Kardys. Loyd lives in Houston, Texas. http://PhilipLoyd.com