Wishing competency upon my enemies


This may sound strange, but I wish my enemies were more competent. A statement like this, of course, raises a couple of perfectly valid questions.

First, how do I know my enemies are not competent? If they were, don’t you think I’d be dead by now? I’m not talking people who simply don’t like me. Over the years I’ve accumulated plenty of those through school, work, family reunions, etc. But those people, at worst, simply have a passing interest in my personal failings—not an active role. Real enemies should want to personally see to my destruction, and frankly, they’re slacking on the job.

I’m perfectly healthy, minus that whole blind issue. Oh, and the heart murmur. And lately I’ve had some pain in my lower back. My career is fantastic! I’m thirty-years-old and a college professor teaching English—something I originally changed my major from because I saw it as a dead end. My creative work has earned a rabid fan following online where one can barely find room to squeeze in between the legion of Facebook fans who hang on every word out of a cartoon clown, cat, or gator’s mouth. 122 strong, baby!

So, if my enemies were competent I wouldn’t be nearly as successful and I’d probably be doing something far less stable, like hosting the Tonight Show.

Second, why would I wish for competent enemies? Intrigue. Look, in the spice rack of life, variety is like cumin. A little goes a long way, but would you really want Mexican food without it? If I get up every day and make it safely back and forth to work with few encounters with freeze rays, or weather modulators, or even trained ninja assassins—how am I to know how good I’ve got it? When I’m strolling back from the mailbox admiring the huge pile of Professor Hobo royalty checks I sent myself as hopeful affirmation, I want to be there in the moment wondering if that black GMC van is really plotting to run me down, or just my neighbor Carl’s A-Team fetish taken to its logical conclusion.

There’s supposedly an ancient Chinese curse that says, “May you live in interesting times.” In reality, no Chinese person has probably ever said this, but instead it was some poor schmuck wishing for a few days of unrest. I suspect Gary Larson.


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