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by Jeffrey Zable

If I had been conceived in the back of a black Cadillac I certainly would have been a different person. I wouldn’t have been as depressed and overly sensitive most of the time.

And if I’d been conceived in a barn on a farm in the Midwest I wouldn’t have become an elementary school teacher because I thought most adults were unreasonable and only concerned with satisfying their own needs. I certainly would have been different if I’d been born in a rural hospital instead of in a big city, and instead of being born caesarian, I came out like most people and wasn’t spanked to create some initial emotion. I would have been mostly quiet, except when I felt that there was cause to make a genuine point that might sway someone from jumping off a bridge to going back to school and studying psychology as a way of helping others cope with circumstances beyond their control. And I certainly wouldn’t have traveled to places that were mostly on the beaten path, and swam in hotel pools in which people peed because they were too lazy to go to the bathroom in the lobby. And I undoubtedly would have been smarter if I hadn’t gone through the public school system with children whose parents saw them as extensions of themselves, which were beings who should know right from wrong through osmosis; became lawyers, accountants, or business people, and make a lot of money regardless of whether it was through ethical means.

And I certainly would have been a different person if I’d been mentored along the way by people who believed in a higher being, one who forgave us for everything from adjusting our underwear to picking our teeth while standing in line at the supermarket. I would have been a completely different person, better able to accept life on its own terms, and not complain all the time without doing anything about it.

Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro-Cuban folkloric music for dance classes and rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. Recent writing is in MockingHeart Review, Awkward Mermaid, Ink In Thirds, Third WednesdayUppagus, After the Pause, Rosette Maleficarum, Chrome Baby, formercactus, and many others. In 2017 he was nominated for both The Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Contact: rumbatumba@hotmail.com.