Thursday, July 19, 2012

Life Lessons From Giorgio

            Giorgio (not his real name) is happier than anyone I have ever met.  His story is one of courage, perseverance, and overcoming adversity.  Shortly after Giorgio was born he found himself wrapped in a plastic bag in a dumpster.  Because Giorgio was a baby, he cried.  If he had known another way to communicate, I’m sure he would have sent an email, a text message, or set off some explosives.  But crying was his alarm.  Gloria heard his cries, found him, and took him to a nearby fire station.  Because Giorgio was not ablaze, Gloria was told to “Take that screaming kid somewhere else!”                 
            So, Gloria took him back to the dumpster near her home, the cardboard box.  She took care of Giorgio, fed him, found clothes for him in other dumpsters, and raised him to be a healthy, caring, little boy.  Soon, Giorgio began wondering why none of his friends lived in cardboard boxes like his.  The other kids’ cardboard boxes were much nicer and some were even lined with butcher paper, rat fur, or underpants.  Gloria always did her best to explain but Giorgio understood she had nothing to give him except her love.                                 
            When Giorgio was eight-years-old, Gloria died from a rare toenail disease. Giorgio missed his mother deeply and sank into a dark, troubling depression.  He hated the world for taking Gloria away from him.  She was the reason he was alive, the reason he was a nice kid, the reason he had a pet cockroach.  Giorgio began drinking.  Day after day, glass after glass of chocolate milk drowned his pain until he went to sleep, each night, with a bellyache; a bellyache that was his heartache.       
            With only his pet cockroach Scrunchy to keep him company, Giorgio ran away. He found his way to Rico’s Boxing Gym in Baldspot, Wisconsin where he became the sparring partner for up and coming fighters.  As you can imagine, Giorgio, being only eight years old, took quite a beating every day.  Most of his baby teeth were knocked out and his nose was broken several times.  At the age of nine he won Baldspot’s “Ugliest Man Contest” and cherished his prize,  a lifetime supply of Oil of Olay.                                                                                               
            But, through it all, Giorgio continued to look on the bright side.  Today he is a grown man with a wife and kids who have dreams, aspirations, and broken noses of their own.  Is he happy because he’s had such a great life?  Absolutely not.  Is he happy because all the concussions have damaged his brain to the point where he thinks everything is funny?  Maybe.  But the real reason he is happy is because he made a decision to be happy, regardless of his circumstances.  Oh, how much we could all learn from Giorgio.