Timothy L. Pagaard
15 September 2010
“Who Is That Skinny Boy?”
“You can be what you are or you can be what you ought to be” (Javier Mora). There was a time when I did not know who I was or where I was going with my life. I was seven years old, with only one amazing friend: a twenty inch television named Toshiba. Then one day my lifechanged, it was a Saturday morning, and I was enjoying time with my friend “the T.V.” when the door of my wooden house made a knocking sound. I went to open the door, but my mom was already there. My mom opened the door, and a really thin, weak boy, about thirteen years of age, was standing there. I asked my mom, “Who is that skinny boy?” I didn’t realize it then, but that boy would show me who I wasand who I could become. That boy is my cousin Javier, and he has influenced my life from that day until now.
One of the ways my cousin Javier has influenced my life is in the way I deal with tragedy. Javier lost his father when he was five years old, and his mother abandoned him two years later. He was being raised by his grandmother, who got sick with breast cancer two months before he went tolive with my family. In those two months, he took care of his grandmother until the day she died. At her funeral, Javier spoke about how tragedy was always present in people’s lives, and in his life, he saw tragedy as a bridge that we need to cross to better our lives. Tragedy made Javier stronger and made him see what was important in his life. He faced tragedy many times in his life, but henever lost his personality, he adapted and overcame the sorrows that come with tragedy.
In my life, I had dealt with tragedy in a similar way as my cousin Javier. I joined the U.S. Marines when I was seventeen. One year later, I was deployed to Iraq, where in the first two weeks, I lost eleven of my friends to enemy fire, and I was shot in my left knee. One of my friend’s body was recovered a weekafter he was killed, and somebody needed to go to the morgue and identify his body. I volunteered and went to identify my friend’s body. I needed to cross my bridge and face my tragedy. That tragedy made me appreciate life and the people I care about the most.
Another way my cousin Javier influenced my life is that he taught me that we need to help people no matter what. Javier always helpedeven though the person he was helping didn’t deserve his help. One time, Javier invited me to eat at a fancy restaurant, which was located around the corner from my house. It was my first time eating out, so we put on our best clothing, we took some cologne from my dad’s cabinet, and we went to the restaurant. When we got there, a blond guy dressed as a penguin told us in a really nasty voice, “Getthe hell out of here.” I did not know what we did wrong, but Javier knew. Javier took my hand, and we left. Two days later I was looking out through the window of my house when I saw the same guy who didn’t let us in to the restaurant with two flat tires. I started laughing, and I called Javier to come and see. Javier got very serious, took his tool box, and told me, “Let’s go”. We went out, andJavier changed the man’s tires. The guy was amazed because Javier had helped him, then he told us his name was Henry and asked us where we lived, we told him, and a week later he came to my house and took us to eat at the fancy restaurant.
Now in my adult life I have faced and encountered many Henrys. When I was in high school, it was this lonely guy who used to bully everybody in the class.Nobody liked him, and one day while playing basketball in the school yard he fell and broke his right ankle. Everybody looked at each other, but nobody moved to help him. For a second, I thought about what I should do; I got to my feet and gave him some help. I took him to the nurse’s office and left him there. The next day he started talking to me, and we became friends. Time passed, and the bully...