The more ideas I claimed to be mine, the more I wanted,
no,
needed people to know it and praise me for it.
Unfortunately, in the valleys of central Pennsylvania, I
really had no media outlets available to me for conveying
such news outside of our local newspaper,
The Daily
Item
—and the only chance for my photograph to be
featured in that would be if I were posing proudly beside
a recent hunting kill. I had to devise another plan.

For my eleventh birthday, I asked my parents for a label
maker. By this time, my laundry list of pre-pubescent
ingenuity had ballooned to include hundreds of
enthralling technological gadgets such as universal
remote controls to structures like the Leaning Tower of
Pisa—I didn’t build it, but I sure as hell made it tilt. I
desired the label maker because I secretly envisioned a
world in which everything below my reach of five and a
half feet would be blanketed with tasteful but prominent
narrow black “Creative Property of” stickers exclaiming
my singular ownership.
There were a few classmates who dismissed me, saying
that my claims were exaggerations while a couple of
teachers had remarked that such declarations were
wildly unfounded, much like referring to everyone from
the blinkered town of Shamokin as being racist and
inbred. Of course, I discovered that such harsh blanket
statements are never fundamentally true since both
people I’ve met from Shamokin had parents of distinct
bloodlines.

There was even one girl who was so bold as to refer to
my claims as deliberate fantasies.
Can you imagine? I
suppose it was within her right, but I believed she and
the others were simply jealous of me and my remarkable
accomplishments. Besides, she had lice the previous
September.