Sunday, June 21, 2015

What If...

What if my grandmother had not thrown away my dad’s comic book collection in the 1950s? As I detail in my personal narrative, Echoes From An Unexamined Life, my dad’s uncle owned and operated a corner drugstore in New York City, and often would give him comic books. But then, as happened to many boys of that era, the most dreaded of youthful incidents occurred and the comic book collection was no more. Often, I have thought about “what if” that collection had been intact upon the passing of my dad. Of course, I would have saved some special ones, but, undoubtedly, I would have sold off most for an astronomical sum. In other words, I - and my immediate family, of course - would have been financially set for life knowing what I know now about what undoubtedly was in his collection. What path(s) would that situation have taken and/or altered?

At the time of my dad’s passing, I was in high school. For the most part, those friendships were cemented which, for arguments sake, lends me to believe very little might have changed on that front. I simply would have been the teenager now with more money, who did not have to rely on allowance or part-time employment. Perhaps, buoyed and consoled by the financial windfall, I even would not have grieved so much for my late dad; money is funny that way some times. But would I have been more responsible and grasped opportunities more, or even more reckless and shortsighted than I actually was in my youth? Naturally, little things probably would have turned out different, but, again for argument sake, nothing on a catastrophic level, right?


There is no question that I would have graduated from high school alongside those same friends. Unlike a lot of people, and despite certain aspects, I actually had an enjoyable experience. That said, now is where the story gets murky. Would I then have attended the University of Missouri-Columbia (“Mizzou”), or would I have taken another path that maybe would not have even involved college? Again, for reasons described in my book and for argument sake, lets believe that I still would have attended Mizzou upon acceptance. Being financially secure, though, I probably would not have had the need for a job during those four years. Thus, I never would have become a delivery driver that ultimately led to the demise of my 1970 Ford Mustang (the repairs simply became too costly). In this alternate universe, however, my Mustang would live because, given my financial circumstances, I would have had it properly restored rather than piecemeal repaired.

That caveat, though, is a minor aspect of this “what if” exercise, because there is a larger issue than the memory of an old car now long since gone. There are the memories of the friendships rooted and cultivated over that same period of time. At Mizzou, would I have met those few souls I now count among my best friends? For argument sake, probably not or, at least, not under the same circumstances. For starters, having no need of student housing given my financial circumstances, I definitely would not have lived on campus and in the dorms where we met. Having the means, I undoubtedly would have either rented or bought a nice, somewhat secluded off-campus house; I know this because I hated people even back then. So, that one little change of residence could alter everything. Then there are the summer months, in which, again, I probably would not have had an urgent need for a part-time job given further money-making investments of my comic book money. Thus, I probably never would have worked, or at the very least maintained my longevity, at Riverport Amphitheatre, where, by my unscientific estimate, it seems half my life was spent and one-third of my current friendships were gained.

And all of this “what if” because my grandmother never threw away my dad’s comic books that I eventually would have sold for millions upon his death! So maybe it is time that I forgive her for throwing them away? Nah, I still hate her for it! Happy Father’s Day!

©2015 Steve Sagarra

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