Sufferer of rare disease speaks out

If you read the Thu., Nov. 27 issue of the Gauntlet, you may recall a particularly libelous letter directed at me. The whole fiasco began a few weeks ago, when I was given a CD by White Cowbell Oklahoma to review. Try as I might, I just could not find any redeeming value to this album whatsoever, so naturally I ripped it to shreds.

Well, thanks to the wonders of the internet, a staff member of the White Cowbell website happened upon my review and had a few rather hilarious things to say. In an attempt to slander my lack of grammatical prowess, S. Patterson made the remark, “even the most ill-studied, sub-retard ESL student would see the faults in this grammar.”

This remark struck a chord with me, and I would like to issue my eternal gratitude to Patterson. You see, I have a secret, something I have been hiding my entire life. I don’t know why I’ve never told anyone, I suppose I was too embarrassed; I guess I thought the social backlash would be too great.

But after reading Patterson’s letter I knew what I had to do–I had to tell the truth and let people hear my amazing story.

I am a “sub-retard.” Yes, it’s true, hard as it is to believe. Throughout my entire life I have struggled with this truth. I cannot even begin to describe the mental torment I have undergone. I would, however, like to say I prefer the term “below mentally disabled” as opposed to “sub-retard” but both are equally accurate.

I guess the first thing I would like to do now that I am out of the metaphorical closet is thank my parents. I can only imagine how terrible it must have been for them, cradling their newborn child, hearing the doctor utter those unimaginable words.

“I’m sorry Mr. and Mrs. Paulson but… your son… he’s–this is never easy. He’s a sub-retard.”

I’m still amazed I wasn’t smothered or dropped in a river right then and there.

I don’t remember much of my early childhood. From what I hear, I was happy. At that point, I didn’t know there was anything different about me.

I spent elementary school playing Ninja Turtles and trying as best I could to hide my crippling disability.

Junior high was awkward, how else could it be? I may be a sub-retard but I’m still human.

In high school, I had to come to grips with who I was. My evenings were spent wrestling with the equally weighty issues of why I was different from everyone else and why that girl I sat next to in English class wouldn’t go out with me.

After three years of shenanigans and chasing girls, my proudest moment to date occurred: I became the first sub-retard to graduate from an Alberta high school with an honours bilingual diploma. I had surpassed everyone’s expectations.

My parents were so proud they hung it on the fridge right next to my drawing of the mailman petting a kitty with wings.

It would have been completely acceptable at this point if I simply resigned myself to being supported by others for the rest of my life but no, I had a taste of success and I wanted more. I decided I would live out the dream of all male sub-retards, which, of course, is getting drunk and having sex with university girls.

So, after a summer of working, I was off to the University of Calgary and the mayhem that is Residence life. I admit I was intimidated. I thought university students would be intelligent enough to notice my affliction.

I quickly realized what a crass overestimation that was.

I managed to make some new friends, I even found myself with an amazing girl. My first year ended and I was shocked to find I had set a new sub-retard GPA record. My 3.5 narrowly bested the previous mark of 0.4.

One would think my life was just about perfect, but I felt something was missing. I was still haunted by my secret and was constantly seeking new experiences that would somehow rid me of my eternal pain.

One day, while leafing through the Gauntlet, I was struck by an epiphany. I don’t know why exactly, but the section I was reading seemed to be speaking directly to me. It was an advertisement that, besides displaying the ugly mug of Gauntlet Entertainment Editor Jeff Kubik, seemed to be a beacon of light from heaven.

It read: “wanted: one sub-retard to piss off whiny little shit bands that don’t have the maturity to accept the criticism that is an inherent aspect of their profession.”

A few minutes later, I was a Gauntlet Entertainment writer.

That, humble readers, is my inspiring story. I have fought my entire life against a society that does not want my kind and doesn’t want me. So I thank you once again S. Patterson, you have allowed me the opportunity to finally remove the weight of the world from my scrawny little sub-retard shoulders.

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