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Being Stalked by the Metamorphosis of Life at age 17

Updated on November 1, 2017
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth has been a member of HubPages for five years. He is retired from a 23-year career in the weekly newspaper business.

Gal Gadot, star of current film, Wonder Woman.
Gal Gadot, star of current film, Wonder Woman. | Source

This painful narrative tried to take off toward the middle--but then somehow fizzles at the end. Kinda like life. (Kenneth.)

Be forewarned: This is a pretty much, sad account in narrative form about me, age 17, driving my first brand-new car right off the lot, (Dewel Emerson Auto Sales--Hamilton Ala., no longer there)a gem of a ride: my 1974 Plymouth Duster, two doors; vinyl rolled seats, a vinyl top and a 318 cubic inch engine which is dedicated to all gear heads: eat it up, man! I loved that car. I did. In 1974, church congregation, mine, mostly old folks but good at heart, would always caution me about two things when I would meet them on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m., These, (I will not publicize the denomination) folks were sticklers for being punctual.

These well-doing folks would tell me the evils of "worldly things" and how I should not love the world or the evil elements therein and while that was settling in my young mind, I was told that my age, 17, was a definite "walk in a land mine course," and with that, I just had to ask: "Is it me and my age, 17, headed for a walk in a land mine course," or do you think that all seventeen-year old's are headed toward destruction?" I wasn't being respectful. Not one big, but very truthful. I was preoccupied about it being only one year away from signing what life that I had for the Selective Service and The Draft, so why not be honest--old or whatever age? The man who asked about my age got his feelings hurt. I knew that he felt this way for he never offered to shake hands with me from that Sunday forward.

What, pray tell, more sensible readers, was I supposed to say? "Yes, sir. I know that me being 17 means trouble with a capital "T" and that stands for trips up and down the highway with a lovely young girl beside me with the wind whistling in her hair," but I couldn't. I just let the truth be told and let the waves of hatred start breaking on my life. On the downside, if I "had" told this man about the lovely girls whom I wanted to date and ride with me in my car, I guess that would have been the same as the church giving me a One-Way Ticket to The Lake of Fire. Punctual and strict.

My 1974 Plymouth Duster, I forgot to say, was black in color with factory-trimmed gold stripes. I felt like I had an "in" when it came to getting the girls, but you know something? At this time in my chaotic seventeen-year-old life, getting girls was not my primary goal. Actually I had no goals to speak of. That is why God made mom's. I could always count on my sainted mother to always keep me reminded that I was in need to be employed. Yes, mom. I am aware of the need to work. I will find a job soon and pay for my new ride, I would say often. Listen. In 1974, I was using the slang, "ride" before the Hip Hop section of Los Angeles, Compton to be exact, started using it. I am not lying.

Being 17, honestly, was very monotonous. Maybe not for you, but it was for me. Get up at 6 a.m., drink black coffee, watch WBRC, Channel 6, Birmingham, to watch Country Boy Eddie (no longer there) get to work before 7 a.m., punch the timeclock, slave around 8 hours at less than the Federally-based Minimum Wage and head home to start it all over again. The guinea pig running on a wheel now pops into my mind. This was the best metaphor in describing me, the 17-year-old version of me.

Ever now and then, one of "those" girls whom all 17-year-old guys dream about would appear as if someone in a secret lab near my town had summoned her. Imagine this. She looked in every way like Gal Gadot, the girl who broke box office records as "Wonder Woman," and I for one, do not have any problem with her, the film, or her acting whatsoever. Sometimes I wonder why girls like Gadot did not exist in my hometown? Not a complex question. Einstein would grow bored quickly if he were challenged to answer this question. I would ask you, dear readers, do you think when I meet God in Eternity, He would mind me asking why He didn't send Gadot to Hamilton, where I lived and was very lonely for a girlfriend like her?

Here is my point: in about the time from being 17 and then 21, something happens to people of all races, tongues, and national origin. I wish that I had Sally Jesse Raphael here with me to discuss this thing that I named: The Metaphormosis of Life, so she could enlighten me and I could publish (this) candidate for being an award winner. I miss Sally so much. Her show had what people in the 30s called "Pizz-azz" and if you are in the entertainment field and have pizz-azz, you have better than a decent chance to taste success by the trainloads. Your face in every magazine color, your name on the lips of employees who still use a break room for a needed 10 a.m. cup of black coffee. Pizz-azz has to be the key to all areas of success.

When my Metamorphosis of Life began, I was 20 years old--still riding around on weekend nights, talking to my (few) high school friends, burning gasoline, and trying hard to find a working network to help me meet a girl like Gal Gadot, but in my day, she was not even born. Rats! But I would have loved to met her even before she became a "Cinema Darling" for most heterosexual males across the world. Can you blame her?

The moment, the exact moment that I recall being absorbed by the Metamorphosis of Life was on (a) Friday, at 4 p.m., June 14, as my time card clicked in the timeclock signalling me that it was now the weekend! No overtime to work. Time to ride with the wind--talk with buddies, talk about girls, money, and jobs. There it was. The chemical/chromosome make-up of my physical body was changing as the topics of money and jobs came into view when I met Gary Childers who was now out of high school and following along with the Dumb Sheep like me growing deeper and deeper into a annoying, life-sucking routine that spelled: Adulthood.

Oh, how right my chemical make-up was. I almost wept. But if I had wept, my friend, Gary, a World-Class Prankster, would have it all over town in mere minutes about me crying about something sensitive. Sensitive? Us? The Ruralites of The South? May be. I didn't find any other clever answer. Adulthood: the proverbial Black Wolf in Sheep's Clothing had bit me and taken a chunk of my youth that almost disabled me.

Now instead of talking about how hot a new waitress was at some teen hang-out, I began getting interested in things like: saving money for the future and rainy days, things like that to make matters even more chaotic, our jobs became like obsessions with us. It was why certain things the management did certain things with certain methods and why didn't we, although we were of seniority status, were paid the same as a newbie fresh out of high school--things like this. In fact, I can remember a certain Saturday afternoon in late July 1974, when Gary, his brother, James, his buddy, Allan and myself, were parked peacefully at the courtsquare in our hometown--just yakking our lives away and the job (and some Military talk) was so intense that we witnessed two hot girls in their early 20s, one a Golden Blond and her friend, an Auburn Redhead both with long flowing hair flying in the July wind in the driver's 1969 Chevelle and with a twist: it ran Thrust glass pipes that made the car sound like the twister on the film, "Twister," with Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton. We guys loved that sound.

But even the blond and redhead weren't near enough to cause us to check them out because our mindset was, and I now feel so ashamed to say this, our future and what we were headed on doing for a 20 or 30-year stretch. Adulthood. What a volatile mistress. One night she loved us and the next night kicked out butt of of her apartment with no breakfast.

My buddies and I didn't see the change from teen to adulthood all at once. No. I know that it was not all due to us being slow learners, stubborn maybe, not to suddenly throw our arms into the free air and shout, "We have arrived, World!" We did in our time, do a lot of things that can be considered then and now to be stupid. Lasting things that bear bringing up at every opportunity when we meet somewhere with our wives with shopping list in hand and one eye looking at us for these girls knew us. We confessed most (but not all) of our teenage shenanigans. We had to leave something on the cob for us to dream about.

With the progression of change from youth into maturity, there went chasing hot girls, playing our music loud as technologically-possible, talking and laughing at full-speed with no worry if the sun were going to rise again in the east in this day and time. We were young, alive, and full of youthful ambition. Much like and compared to ambition being fresh water poured to the brim of a 55-gallon barrel and day by day, that drum which represented our lives, was, without out noticing, was drained out every so slow--never to be gained again.

With that fact came children, mortgages, receding hairlines, spreading midriff's, being fired for no reason, going to college (the first time) when we knew that just working was not enough. And watching our children grow slowly into those carved ruts that we carved and now stumbling along to fit into our tracks.

Adulthood: The First Cousin of Depression. Maybe next time.

Purity and Peace for young guys personified.
Purity and Peace for young guys personified. | Source

© 2017 Kenneth Avery

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    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 2 weeks ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Greetings, RoadMonkey,

      Agreed on both points--the older people "thinking" that they had the right (and space) to give orders and to a 17-year-old, that is gasoline on a burning fire.

      And our security, mom and dad, did start to diminish at the first sign of us wanting a car and a job, or job first , then car.

      That is when the "beast" of Adulthood started stalking.

      Thanks for the comment. Write anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 2 weeks ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, Robert,

      I gotta tell you. The part of your comment about the '58 Chevy was spot-on. Loved every description--so much so, I was riding along with you.

      What a great way to get girls, right?

      You were and such a cool friend.

      Thanks for your warm comments and keep writing.

    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 2 weeks ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, Kari,

      You and your having a daughter at 28 is absolutely COOL!

      No sweat. And I love it that you had an extended childhood.

      Love your comments.

      Write anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 2 weeks ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, MizBejabbers,

      You nailed it. Life in the South Lane. And as for wages for teens, talk about resentful! We, the early members of America's Workforce, paid the price, as it were.

      And I have the sweat marks to prove it.

      Thank God for wiser Legislators who helped to bump up the Mini Wage. Get it? I am hip at 63.

      Write soon.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 weeks ago

      Life sounds pretty much the same in small Southern towns. Start working at age 14 or 15, then after graduation move to the big town for a "real" job. Except that I did get to go to college before I had to settle down into an adult routine of married with children.

      You brought up something that has always been a sore spot with me. Back then employers who hired teenagers were not required to pay minimum wage. I was paid half minimum wage, but it wasn't enough to keep me in college. That's one big reason I dropped out and got an Mrs. degree first. Then came college again when they had to pay me adult wages. Can you believe it? Today they even count teenagers among the unemployment figures.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 2 weeks ago from Ohio

      To me it seems that you and your friends were pretty responsible. I had worked since I was 15, but life was pretty much a joke to me until my daughter was born. I was a late bloomer you could say. I had her when I was 28. LOL, guess I had an extended childhood.

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      Fiddleman 2 weeks ago

      Lots from the memory bank Kenneth. Your first car reminds me of riding the big yellow taxi from our high school. We loaded infront of the circular driveway that also served as parking spaces for some of the students fortunate enough to have their own cars that their daddy bought them. I couldn’t believe the two identical canary yellow Corvettes a business man in our town had bought his two son proudly parked for everyone to see. It would be my senior year that I bought and paid for my first car. It was a mint green rust eaten 58 Chevrolet Impala which eventually spotted a discarded 2X4 under the drivers seat to keep my but from falling out. I bought the car from a cotton mill worker for $250 working for 75 cents an hour at a summer camp. I put recap tires on it and paid for my own insurance and gas. I drove it everyday to school for the next year. Sadly it died the last day of school June 1967. The girls didn’t seem to mind or at least didn’t say anything about my ride. You and I and our generation were blessed with the wisdom of our elders yet some of that teaching was only fruitful much to our hurt later in life. Thanks for your article, some of us can relate because we have metamorphized! Wishing you the best!

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 weeks ago

      I forgot to add that older people often feel they have a right to comment on younger people's lives but don't seem to realize how hurtful and damaging that can be. Then they take offence because their "kindly" advice is misunderstood or resented.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 weeks ago

      Yes, the growing realization that the peace and security of childhood is provided (or not) by our parents and that we have to do it for ourselves and then our offspring.