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Author's note: I am 17 year old young man who lives in Tucson Arizona and loves writing and playing the drums.
The Life of Travy John Puckett
My life started like any other normal child. My mother gave birth to me at St. Joseph’s hospital on September 16, 1993 at approximately eight o’clock at night. I was born into a very involve family of the Christian faith. My mom was a very successful oncologist at St. Mary’s hospital and my dad was a preacher at the time. I was born on a Friday and went to church the following Sunday. I guess my parents very foolishly thought that if they take me to church at the earliest age possible maybe being a good boy will become a habitual factor of my young life. My mom says that was one of the happiest days of her life. She also says she has five great days in her life. The first one is the day she met my dad. I don’t remember what day it was but I know it was like a million years ago. The second one is when she gave birth to my oldest brother Lance Russell Puckett on April 23, 1989. I love my oldest brother so much and he was practically my favorite person till I was about 13. My mom says her third happiest moment in her life was when she gave birth to her second son Logan Paul Puckett. I love my brother Logan. He is so smart and so wise. Now there is me. My mom says the birth of me Travis John Puckett which is not a surprise to me because I was the cutest little kid you ever did see. Lastly, my mom’s fifth happiest moment in her life was giving birth to my little brother Tyler Scott Puckett. All these happy moments make up my family, a well put together bunch, yet just a little bit odd.
The earliest memory I have of my life was not particularly a good memory. It was when I was about three years old and me and brother were being brothers and arguing in the back yard at about nine o’clock at night. Nine o’clock was way past my scheduled “bed time” which means this incident could have all been gracefully avoided if I just would have listened to my parents like I was supposed to. So anyways, it was me and my older brother Logan in the backyard viciously arguing to each other who is faster. I learned how to read when I was one years old which means I had a very exceptional vocabulary for a three old child, so when I argued I always one and tried to throw as many big words at my enemy as possible. While we were arguing about who was the faster a small wager was raised to the surface.
My brother bet me fifty cents that he could beat me in a foot race across house from the backyard, through the living room, a cross the dining room through the computer room and into the kitchen. My house is covered in wood floors from top to bottom like a bamboo factory which made my floors extremely slippery, and what made this worse was that we went through the race wearing long socks. With a confident grin on my face I accepted my older brother’s challenge. We quickly began the race and I assumed the pull position while my sluggish brother with a very serious, slightly struggling face fell slowly behind. I reached the living room and saw the kitchen. I looked back very tauntingly at my older brother who was slightly behind me and his expression was priceless, he looked just like Mike from Recess trying his hardest to run after a huge sandwich. I sprinted towards the kitchen and I could feel my excitement creep up on me like an anxious monster as I reached the glowing kitchen. As I approached the kitchen (the finish line) I felt my right foot begin to slip on the slick floor. In my mind I was thinking oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, I’m going down! Right I was, suddenly being thrown off balance; my flailing arms couldn’t stop my huge forehead from smashing violently into the wooden rocking chair in the kitchen corner.
It took me a couple seconds for this tragic moment to stick into my tiny three year old brain. I just thought it was a small innocent fall, like all the rest of my clumsy falls I had come upon while running thoughtlessly through the house. Yet again I was poorly mistaken. I put my small white hand to my huge blonde covered head and felt an ooze of thick, red liquid. I knew what blood looked like but I’ve never seen this much so of course my three year old imagination told me that my head must have been decapitated or something. I instantly started screaming at the top of my lungs and tears were flowing out of my eyes like a million rainy days. I sounded like the crying little kid at Toys r’ Us with a megaphone. This deafening scream of course woke my parents immediately. They quickly sprang out of bed to critically examine their child that was desperately screaming his brains out for someone to take the stabbing pain away. They reached me and couldn’t help but see the huge gash that has been unwillingly thrust upon my innocent forehead. This whole time I was asking myself where the hell my older brother went. Was he also hurt and in trouble? Later that night I discovered that he got tired and went to his room to sleep. My father being the loving father he his swooped me up in his arms like a bag of potato chips and carried me to the car. I had presumed that we were going to the hospital.
Once we got to St. Mary’s hospital they took me in immediately. The only reason why were able to get help so wickedly fast is because my mom was the floor manager at St. Mary’s which meant that she basically ran the place. We arrived in the small room where the doctor carefully examined my busted forehead. He asked me what happened and I spilled out all my guts telling him the truth about this whole situation. He listened to my case and said,
“Well Travis that is a very interesting story to say the absolute least but it appears to me that the best action to do now was give you a couple of stitches to close up that huge gash on your forehead. My mom quickly reacted and said
“Yes, that will be most appropriate doctor”.
Now I had no idea what stitches were but they sounded nothing short of terrifying. I visualized in my mind a very sinister doctor sewing me up like a rag doll with a crazy look in his eye and loud vicious, visually terrifying thunder and lightning illuminating the torcher chamber which this man called the operating room.
He took my parents to this horrible, terrifying chamber of death and told me that he would be right back. I talked to my mom and discussed my inner fear of hospitals, needles, death people, and stitches. Basically everything the hospital willingly inhabited. She said,
“Son, everything will be alright it will be over before you know it”. This statement wasn’t very assuring to me what so ever.
The doctor finally arrived and carried in with him a table containing which looked to me like dangerous, killing machines. He lifted one of the torture devices in his left hand. Which already made this a sketchy situation, because in my mind anyone who was left handed couldn’t do anything right. He told me in a very grey voice,
“Ok, this is a small shot (which was huge in my eyes) and will just be used to numb the pain and allow this whole procedure to go a lot smoother”. I told him in a very non convinced, extremely scared voice,
“Um, ok”. He put the pointy syringe carefully into my receiving forehead and I felt every single millimeter of that syringe enter my head and painfully leak itself out as my forehead begin to feel numb and the feeling slowly began to overthrow my head. This mystery substance made me feel a million times better, it felt like the catastrophe had never happened and the brutal memory was clawing its way out of my mind. This amazing liquid just became my new kryptonite and I desperately wished that this new feeling would never have to leave my needful forehead.
The doctor told me to put my head back and this is when the ugly procedure very unwillingly begun, and because of the wonderful pain relieving shot I could feel absolutely nothing. I imagined the Rock punching me in the forehead as hard as he could and me having no real reaction at all, feeling not one bit of it. I thought because of this magical numbing shot that I was unstoppable. Before I knew it the doctor told me the most satisfying six words of my life so far.
“Well, I think were done here”. Suddenly I felt as if a humongous boulder has been lifted from my shoulders and that I could now resume my careless, reckless, three year old lifestyle. All I could think of now was wow I better get a freakin’ huge lollipop for this courageous act. I guess I failed to realize that this whole big shenanigan was one hundred my fault. Oh well, I was still ecstatic about showing all my friends around the neighborhood my sweet new battle would from hell. That very abruptly concludes my first childhood memory. Five years later I recall having my second significant memory of my childhood. One that isn’t too far different from this one.
My second memory of my pathetic childhood was me being baptized at age eight on May 18, 2001. At this time in my life I knew everything an eight year old could now about the bible and Jesus’ teachings. Although I knew a lot more about the bible then most people I didn’t quite comprehend the whole concept behind being “baptized”. I had already accepted Christ so why would I need to recommit myself to the lord at age eight. I mean really, how many “deadly” sins have I committed at this very young age? Despite my confusion about the whole subject my dad thought it was a good idea. So I went along with the whole religious charade and had fun while doing it. Perhaps a little too much fun I would say. That same day I recommitted my life to the lord I decided to try a back flip into the very same pool just a couple hours after my baptismal.
I thought this one out before I did it though. I told my mom I was going to try a back flip and she said very surprisingly to me,
“Go for it”! So I did. I cleared the runway of vibrant colored towels and pool toys to prepare myself for my launch. I jogged to the pool’s edge and it felt like slow motion and every step felt like it was minutes apart from the previous one. I reached the pool and performed a quick jump turn of one hundred and eighty degrees and thrust myself backwards in the air desperately attempting the dangerous back flip. I came up just a tiny bit short and smacked the back of my head against the not very generous edge of the pool. The blood started to flow like Kool-Aid from a busted pitcher. This is exactly when I thought oh not this again! I exited the pool with my right hand very tightly grasping the back of my head. The blood slipped and squeezed itself through the small crevices of my fingers. I approached my mom and she responded with,
“Oh my goodness Travis what have I done, I’m so sorry”. I told her,
“Mom don’t worry about it I’ll be ok, and besides I was the idiot who thought I could do a full back flip at the age of 8”. She laughed. Her laugh was very assuring and she said,
“Alright, well I guess were gonna have to go to the hospital. So we did and I again very unwillingly but more willing than last time had to undergo the whole stitches routine again. That was my second memory of my life, and five years later my life changed for the worst and it still has affected me to this day. When I was thirteen I started experimenting with various drugs that my older friends were using such as marijuana, vikodin, somas and percaset. This began a period of my life where I would go over to my friends house do a lot of various drugs and come home and fall asleep for about 12 hours. My excuse for doing these non life satisfying substances was that I was deeply depressed and that these drugs lessened my feelings of depression, which of course was a huge lie.
My parents being the naïve people they are still thought I was the most innocent child. They noticed my weird behavior and told themselves that I was just sick to ease their unready minds. This cycle of my reckless early teenage years continued for a very forgetful three years. Once I got to high school I was still hanging out with the shady people that had first introduced me to these deadly poisons. I went through my freshmen year getting high after school and getting really drunk on the weekend eventually pushing all my family put of the picture to get high and slowly lose my mind as I could feel my unwilling brain cells deteriorate as my mind slowly slipped into no vacancy. My sophomore year emerged from the smoke and I was still dedicated to drug use and alcohol filled weekends. I was literally high every single day of school my sophomore year continuing the same pathetic cycle as my previous year of high school.
Being high all day and doing pills on a regular basis became a very crucial part of my life and essentially was my life for a very long period of time. My life was stripped of my family and all I could focus on was getting high with my friends and popping as many pills as I could without going to the hospital. My life became a spiral of mindless indulgences, all I thought about was when I was gonna’ get high and how high I was going to get.
My friend Brittan and I would dedicate days to seeing how high we could get without totally having our small pathetic minds wonder aimlessly into other dimensions not describable with words. These days are huge black holes in my brain and all I know is that some crazy s*** went down in my head as I unwillingly contradicted my own self while staring at the ceiling thinking I’m staring at the stars. I can very acutely recall one instance where Brittan and I had two eights of some very potent marijuana and ten muscle relaxers (somas) and we played with our minds for a whole night. I can barely remember this night but small memories slowly leak themselves into my mind like sand filtering through your fingers.
I can remember Brittan and I having a very serious conversation about religion and very slowly the room began to shrink leaving Brittan and I at the same size. My mind told myself that I’m gonna’ die if I don’t get out of this torture chamber known as Brittan’s living room. I pictured a Venus fly trap with a small defenseless fly in the middle with nothing to do but accept the harsh realities of life and the inevitabilities of what we can and can’t do to get out of the problems we face every day. I faced these problems of the thing called life but getting as high as I can on Mary Jane, Somas, and the demon drink. While I was high my mind tricked my brain into thinking that all my problems have dissolved like the fizz in your freshly poured Root Beer, but they haven’t gone anywhere, they have merely been magnified by drug use.
I was a drug addict, alcoholic at age sixteen and despite everything I felt on top of the world. I was popular, I had a girlfriend, I was snare section leader in my drum line, I partied every weekend, and didn’t have a care I the world. In reality I was a miserable excuse for a human being and wasn’t exactly sure what my purpose in life was so I filled that hole in my heart with worldly substances to try to fill the gaping black hole in my heart. I eventually got caught by my Sheriff Department Detective dad who told me he knew the whole time of my “second life” but didn’t tell my mom because she knew how crushed she would be to know that her previously thought perfect, innocent child was doing drugs and partying every weekend. She told me in a very disappointed voice,
“Travis, you are my son, my baby, and I love you. But when your father told me about what you’ve been doing I felt like I lost my son and would never get him back”. I interrupted her by saying,
“Mom, I’m so sorry. Before I could finish she cut me off and said,
“I don’t care how sorry you are son; you’ve made a lot of very poor decisions and saying sorry will not fix anything at this point. Drugs are stupid and a waste of time. They will either leave you homeless, or in prison. Do you want that for your life Travis”?
This is where it all made sense, my mind opened up to something that took me three extremely long years to realize. That life is good enough sober that I don’t need all these pathetic excuses to make life what I want it to be. This realization convinced me to stop smoking, stop drinking, and stop pill popping all together. I know what you’re probably thinking. There is no way that you could just quit cold turkey, and you’re right. My parents drug tested me once a month to keep me accountable of this new life decision, and it really did help me to stay clean. To this day I’ve been sober for seven months. I haven’t consumed any alcohol, popped any pills, or smoked any Mary Jane and to be honest I fell like a man that has just stepped into the light and now knows life for what it truly is. I know now that life is what you make of it and your parents can raise you as perfect as possible but in the end all the big decisions of life rest on your shoulders.
I guess the conclusion of the story is that no matter what a parent does right it is not at all their fault when the child chooses to deviate from their parent’s plans for them. Life is one big decision and it is up to you and nobody else to make the right decision and I realized that my parents raised me to be the perfect child but I still very carelessly chose to make all the wrong decisions for three whole years. Life is one big decision and it is one hundred percent your full responsibility to make your own decisions and create your own road map for your life, so do the right thing and think before you act and ask yourself how is this decision going to affect my future. Life is one decision for the better or for the worse, you decide.