“Jim” and I started working at Countrywide Home Loans together in 2005. It was the first job for the both of us right out of college. $15/hr was a lot of money back then! Hell, that’s good money now! Anyway, Jim and I were the same age, 23 at the time. He was Taiwanese, extremely funny, smart, happy-go-lucky, and generous. He’d give you the shirt off of his back, except that he probably wore a medium (Asian, remember) and I wore a *cough*
3X slightly larger shirt. We became good friends and Jim would take me to real Chinese restaurants and we would go shoot pool.
Jim was a pool player. Not casually, but like really good. He wanted to play pool professionally. BUT, his parents were traditional, and they wanted him to go to school to be a doctor like his
goddamned goody two-shoes older sister.
Jim had graduated college with a 3.9 GPA, but he explained to me that a 3.9 was really low for an Asian – BWWONNGG – so he had to take grad classes to improve his chances of getting into medical school. He hated it. It wasn’t that he couldn’t do the work, he just didn’t have a passion for it. And he consistently received poor grades in his coursework. By now, Jim had married (booo!) and moved away. We lost touch for a while.
A couple weeks ago, while sitting outside of a friend’s condo building, I saw a guy that looked like Jim walk past. He had that Jim/Asian shuffle. I called out his name and it was him, but it wasn’t. The joyful, fun Jim was gone. The guy that greeted me was sullen, aged, and dry. He barely smiled. Jim had achieved his goal…kind of. He was now a
plug pharmacist. He had gotten a divorce, moved back to town, and had recently been in a car accident that left him with back problems and unemployed. We chatted a while, said goodbye and parted ways.
As I started my car, I wondered if Jim would have experienced all that he had if he were traveling the country playing pool like he wanted to. I didn’t want to judge it and I don’t now. But I do wonder.
Follow YOUR dreams.