Growing up is hard.
It’s been especially hard for me, considering I was left far, far behind–or rather below–by all of my friends around my third birthday. That is when I stopped growing.
My name is Mac Samson. I am the smallest man in the world.
I was born in a small town in New Hampshire, the 5th smallest but 1st freest of the states. My Papa was a shoe cobbler and loosely Jewish. He was Jew-ish. My Mama was a baker. She made mini chocolate chip cookies, or as we always called them, pretty big chocolate chip cookies. I don’t remember much else of my parents, for they lost me when I was but a boy. Actually I lost them. Well, it’s a two way street of loss. None of us are together anymore. Here, just:
We were out for a family walk along a beautiful stream on a pristine granite day. That’s what we New Hampshireians call good days, cause there’s a lot of granite in our state and we like that. As we rounded a bend, Papa carrying me on his shoulders while Mama rode Trotty, our family miniature pony, we came upon a pack of owls. It was daytime, so the owls were very angry because they were not asleep. Papa set me down and stepped in front of Trotty. He puffed up his shoulders as big as some Kraft Jet-Puffed Miniature Marshmallows and said, “We yon’ wan’ no yrouble here, ya Go’ ‘yamned Owls!” (Papa spoke like all older New Hampshireians, sometimes replacing D’s and T’s with Y’s and sometimes just not saying D’s and T’s at all).
The owls, drunk with rage from owl insomnia, looked down at my Papa and said, “Who?”
Knowing the danger these barn-loving birds of prey posed, Papa stood strong, like the tiny Christmas tree from A Charlie Brown Christmas. “Dis is Papa Lenny Samson, the mos’ fearsome cobbler in all of–”
Papa’s head was gone. The owls had heard enough, so they ate his head.
They did eat his body, too, but they ate his head first.
Mama screamed. “Run away little Mac, run as fast and far as your very small legs will allow you to run!”
Mama gave Trotty a smack and charged at the owls. The owls were quite quick, though, so they easily dodged the slowly-accelerating pony. Trotty’s heart exploded from the minor hyper-exertion. His body dropped, flinging Mama from her custom-designed little saddle. She flew through the air like a butterfly, or maybe more like a baby bird, or like a bit of lint in the wind. I’ll never forget how beautiful she was in that final moment, free and magical, just as the queen of Tinker Bell’s people should look.
Yes, Mama was queen of the fairies.
As she soared higher and higher into the sky, inch by gigantic inch, the owls took flight. They snatched her up into their talented talons and flew away. “I’m sorry Mac! By fairy law I live with the owls now! I am their queen!” I squinted to try and see as the owls vanished into the horizon. “I’ll probably never forget you, my son! I’ll try not to anyway!”
A feather gently fell to the ground. It moved exactly like that feather fromForrest Gump, except different because there was no music and also because my mama was gone and my papa was eaten by owls and my pony was dead thanks to pony heart failure.
I picked up the feather and walked to the stream, for some reason unable to cry. Why me? Why owls? Why now? The feather was soft like the dress sock I used as a sleeping bag. Maybe some things are just too big to understand. I dropped the feather into the stream and watched it float away, acting like I was thinking about where the feather would go next on its journey but actually starting to realize how insane everything that just happened was.
I cried. I am so small, so young. I am all one. “Alone,” I said out loud, correcting my thoughts. My tears fell into the water and pattered like abnormally small rain. I shivered. Maybe I’ll just cut open Trotty and sleep inside him like in Star Wars, I did not think then but have since added for detail.
A soft touch brushed my cheek. I looked up. It was the feather. A very cool looking otter wearing a bandana held the feather. “What’s wrong, big guy?” the otter asked.
“Big guy?” I choked a sob.
“Yes, you are a big guy. For sure one standard deviation above your average male otter.”
Two other otters stood behind him in the middle of the stream. One was wearing a monocle and a top hat. He smoked a cigar and had a grey curly mustache. The other otter was a girl. She had long golden hair and otter boobs. Just like my Mama.
“My dad was eaten by a pack of owls who then took my mom to be the owl queen,” I said.
“Holy shit!” said the otter.
“Leave him to die, we have financial investments to make in the spirit of otter capitalism,” the monocled otter said.
“No,” said the female otter. “He shall be one of our own.”
The cool otter with the headband gave me a thumbs up then we high fived. He helped me down into the stream with his strong paw.
“Well, if you’re going to live with us, then you have much to learn,” said the monocled otter. He had Alan Rickman’s voice. “First thing’s first, breathe underwater.”
“I can’t do it. It’s impossible. No mammal can,” I said. It was late June, by the way.
“No. No mammal’s tried,” said the female otter. She had Julie Andrew’s voice. “Except otters. And now, you.”
The headband otter put his hand on my shoulder and winked. He was by far the coolest otter, and no doubt would be in the top 5 coolest people in the world. I’ve never met Jeff Bridges or Eddie Murphy so I can’t say where the otter officially ranks.
As my favorite rapping male duck (who’s also Jew-ish) says, “Started from the bottom now we’re here.”
Where are we? Who are we? Where was the bottom? These are questions we all ask are selves. “Ourselves,” I said out loud, correcting my thoughts.
As the smallest man in the world, I am still at the bottom. I started at the bottom and expect to some day die at the bottom. But until then, I will do my best to live at the bottom, the biggest bottom I can.
My name is Mac Samson, and I am hear. “Here,” I said out loud, correcting my thoughts but also verbally affirming myself.