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Monday, January 28, 2013

I Am Invisible

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered something:

I am invisible.

Now, I know you’re thinking I went off the deep end.  I can assure you, I don’t think I can walk around nude, breaking into people’s houses and spying on them without them knowing I’m in the same room with them.  Not invisible like that.  Invisible like…well…let me step back for a moment.

I have often said that the closest thing I will ever know to jail was the years I spent in high school.  Don’t get me wrong…I dated and made a few friends, like Churchill, Renee, Kevin and my ole buddy Steve (who I haven’t really had much contact with in recent years, other than birthday and Christmas cards, but I think he knows that, if he ever needed me for something, I’d be there, and I think he’d do the same for me).  But for the vast majority of the time, high school was just…painful.  And even 30 years later, I carry a lot of baggage with me from those four years.

Now what does all this have to do with being invisible?

Every once in a great while, I get a bit nostalgic.  I start to look up people on the internet that I knew back then, to see how they are doing.  Not being on Facebook, this can be difficult, so I try to find pictures from reunions.

I found the 30 year reunion pictures recently.  I thought, “Funny, I never got an invitation…not that I ever do or anything…weird.”  Then I noticed a section that said “List.”  I clicked on it and there was a document that said something to the effect that “We don’t know how to get in touch with these people, if you know where to contact them, please let us know.”  And, lo and behold, my name was not on the list.

“Maybe they think I’m dead,” I thought, so I went to that page.  Nope, not on that list.  I went back and looked at the original list.  I must have stared at it for 5 minutes…my name was not there.

The only conclusion I can come to is that, apparently, I was a complete non-entity for much of my high school years.  Wow…I mean…I KNOW I was bullied a lot.  But some people must have seen me, right?  Maybe not.  Maybe those years were really a dream…no…that can’t be it.  I guess except for a handful of friends, and a whole bunch of bullies, I was invisible.

So why am I writing this?  Well, my first blog posting said one of the reasons I was doing this was as a form of therapy.  And now I have a couple things to say.

First, to my friends mentioned above, although we don’t stay in close touch, I really do love you all.  I wish you all nothing but the best.

As for the rest of you, who apparently either chose to bully me or pretend I didn’t exist, I want to tell you a few things about myself.  I’ve been married almost 24 years to a wonderful woman.  I live in a really cool place.  I make a good living.  I have really good friends like Cynthia, Mary and David, Phil and Liora, and of course Leslie and Jan.  I like to cook.  I’m funny.  I love animals.  Yes, I am still short, I still wear glasses, and I still like the Beatles. 

You may have chosen not to get to know me, to see who I really am, but you know what?  That’s your loss, because I’m a nice guy.  Yes, I have faults like everyone else.  But I’m a really nice guy.  And I truly feel sorry for you, because you’ll never know what you missed in not taking a few moments out of your lives to get to know me.

And now, maybe, just maybe, I can start let go of that baggage.

Now, about that mushroom ragout…


  1. You're not invisible as much as you are invincible, my friend.

    I often read your Twitter page and see all of the anti-bullying postings, and wondered what place those came from. Sure, no one likes bullys (at least I hope they don't!) and believe in anti-bullying messages (at least I hope they do!), but I was curious to know the connection to your gluten-free message. I'm not saying that there has to be a connection (*although I did hear of a recent study that linked kids with gluten allergies/issues to also being bullied), but I was hoping that along with your progress in the kitchen, that there would be a therapeutic mention of the bullying. Here's to you for that---three cheers as it takes a big person to be as blunt as you have been in this posting in "public" and to complete strangers.

    You can be short, tall, glasses, braces, bald, green, like the Beatles (who was bullying you for the Beatles? Mick Jagger?!?) and whatever it is that you are and that you want to be. The bottom line is, you are you and clearly you have many people who love you (and whom you love in return) and that's all that will ever matter.


    Keep on going off topic, keep on thinking like a chef, keep on singing along to the Beatles, and Keep on cooking!

  2. Thanks for the kind words. I had been trying to think of a way to write about these experiences, and the episode described above sort of gave me a gateway.

    As for cooking, I should re-start the series soon. Between work, travel, and a series of colds shared between my wife and me, things have been put off. I should start again in February.

    Again, thanks for the support. I truly do appreciate it.


  3. You're a good man, Mike. It's obvious to anyone who reads your stuff.

    The bullying issues of the past may still sting---but it sounds like today you have far more people who care about you than the number of bullies you have do your best to always remember the friends, family, loved ones, and others who support you---and how that love can conquer any bully past or present.

    In fact, the strength of only one loved one can overpower the "strength" of a dozen bullies.

    I hope you and your wife get over those colds soon! Feel better...about everything---and Keep on...keepin' on.

  4. I've known your wife for over 40 years, and if she's put up with you for 24 years then you must be a wonderful guy - she has high standards!
    WHen I met you for the first time a couple of years ago, you impressed me with your friendliness. That, and the fact that you 'get' British humour. So you're definitely one of Life's good guys. And if your high school contemporaries have overlooked you, that's totally their loss. I have kept in contact with one - yes, just one - person that I knew in high school. We weren't 'best buds' in school, but we met up on the periphery of various classes and she's the only one that I actually wanted to keep in contact with. It required no effort on either of our parts to keep up the acquaintance - it was just a completely natural thing to exchange cards/phone calls/meet up once every few months. No pressure. No "why haven't you called?" But every time we get in touch with each other, it's like we've never been apart. I don't care about anyone else I went to school with, I don't care about reunions (most people, I'm sure, only attend reunions to boast about how well they've done, etc,etc).
    You're a good guy. Your wife is a class act. Nothing else matters.

  5. Hi Annie,

    Thanks so much for the kind words. They are much appreciated!