There's No Problem I Can Handle

T. Eric Mayhew
T. Eric Mayhew

My life has been a series of problems, and I've handled each one the same way.

As an only child in a privileged home, I had what you would call an idyllic childhood. Everything was always handed to me. When I was 9, my father pulled some strings and got me a paper route. Well, I quickly discovered that tossing the papers while riding a bike was next to impossible, and the weight of the papers exhausted my arms. My first big opportunity in life had presented me with one of my first big problems. How did I handle it? I hid the papers in a gutter and spent the morning crying behind a bush.


Some people look at adversity as a challenge. I'm not one of them. I see adversity like this: menacing, cold-hearted adversity. When life gives me lemons, I wish desperately for lemonade. But as I lack the sugar and ice necessary to make it, the lemons instead rot away in the drawer of the refrigerator until several months later, when I eventually throw them away.

When you're in a bind, I'm precisely the guy you shouldn't count on. When people seek guidance, they look to anyone else but me. Need a shoulder to cry on? I'm nowhere to be found. And when the chips are down, well sir, so am I.

Everybody faces difficulties in life that seem overwhelming, but it is only the rare few—like me, for example—who simply can't do anything about them, no matter how hard they try, until the hopelessness and despair becomes so overwhelming they can't stop themselves from contemplating suicide. Everybody has problems, and there's nothing to be done but to buck up, pull yourself together, curl up into a ball, and give up. For the surrendering you do today only lessens the pain and humiliation of the defeat you will face tomorrow!

Five years ago, my mother gave me the "nudge out of the nest," hoping that, at 35, with a sizeable savings, an apartment in my name, a weekly allowance, a strong back, a set of fine clothes, and my father's connections in the world of business, I might find my way in the world. No sirree. Not me. Like a helpless, flightless baby bird, I sat beak-open on the sidewalk outside of our home crying desperately for my mommy night and day until such time as the authorities were called and I was taken into a group home, where I received the care I need.

As I struggle through my day-to-day existence, which mostly involves lying in bed, I am constantly reminded that no matter what life dishes out, I know deep in my soul that I can't face it. And if you're anything like me, you need to just keep telling yourself that you can't either! Sometimes, when everything seems to be going wrong, I repeat to myself of the old saying, "God doesn't make any bad days, just bad people who are good for nothing, like myself."

Nobody said it was going to be easy, and for me, it's not only not easy, it's impossible. I look in my heart and I ask myself this question: "Why try?" Sure, I know I've been through worse than this before, but everything that doesn't kill me makes me gradually more and more injured over time, until I'm eventually completely debilitated and can do nothing but ineffectually quiver in pain.


When life gets me down, I stay down, hoping to avoid another gut-wrenching blow to the solar plexus. And, when the going gets tough, I bring my knees to my chin and wrap my arms around my head to avoid being trampled to death by all the go-getters who have gotten going!