Gerard chews gum like a cow. Or at least that’s what his mother always told him, and every time she did it made him chew louder and cuddier. He snaps it, he blows big bubbles that POP loudly while he chuckles. At any time a piece of white rubber can be seen rolling around his mouth where it’ll live for hours.
“Gum helps me deal with my stress,” Gerard says while snapping it multiple times in a row.
And Gerard has a lot to be stressed about.
“Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. People always want to know about the bad stuff. Let’s see. When I was born, I had a congenital defect in my heart, and they had to give me an injection to get it pumping (I was too small for paddles). Oh did I mention that my mother was in labor for over 48 hours and my father decided two days before I was born that he ‘couldn’t handle this’ and walked out?
“When I was three, I stepped on a rusty pitch fork and my foot was poisoned. I still walk with a limp. I had my first kiss at ten, and found out later when everyone started laughing that it was a trick and they had paid her to do it. I was caught cheating on a test and held back a year, until they learned I was dyslexic and thus learning was difficult for me.
“My sophomore year in high school, my older cousin, Vincent, was killed by a drunk driver on the night of his senior prom. That was my first real taste of death. It seems to have followed me ever since then.”
Gerard’s beloved grandfather died the following year, followed closely by his heartbroken grandmother. When Gerard left for OSU, he got a frantic call from the Dean’s office where they broke the news that his mother had been involved in an accident in the factory where she worked and was not expected to live. Gerard made it time in home to say goodbye before they unplugged the life support.
Loves died too. From his first disastrous foray into love where the girl had to be paid to be with him, a string of bad relationships became part of Gerard’s legacy.
When he was 25, he decided that enough was enough. Gerard’s life was not going to be a total mess of agony and sorrow. He moved away to Los Angeles, where he began working for a security guard. The firm was often called upon to protect celebrities, and Gerard got a glimpse of beautiful people leading charmed lives. He became bitter and spiraled into a hole of self pity and loathing.
“Drinking, drugs, whatever. I figured that my end was already written as a lame punch line to life, so what the heck!”
Gerard was arrested five times - two DUI’s, a drunk & disorderly, possession of illegal narcotics and one breaking and entering. Interestingly, it was the B&E charge that put him on the right path.
“I was supposed to be providing security at the back entrance at some rich Hollywood guy’s house. People had found out about it and they were trying to sneak in. I had to keep turning them away - and some of them were relentless! Climbing the walls, crawling under the bushes, these people were unbelievable. Crazy.”
“A girl stood apart from her friends [who were] were trying to flirt and distract Gerard so that the loner girl could sneak in. He’d seen this trick dozens of times (and sometimes it actually worked!)”
There was a girl who stood apart from her friends. She didn’t look like the typical “LA girl” and was swaying back and forth, uncomfortable. Her friends were trying to flirt and distract Gerard so that the loner girl could sneak in. He’d seen this trick dozens of times (and sometimes it actually worked!)
A lovely little blonde thing started cooing into his ear and he chuckled, looking over at the girl by herself. But she was gone! He quickly called on the radio and the other security team came running around the corner. The girl had vanished.
They searched the house and the perimeter, but she couldn’t be found. Dejected, knowing he’d be blamed for the breach and possibly fired, he wandered around out front, trying to appear useful. He watched people getting in and out of limos, and suddenly he saw her! She was in the back of a limo. He ran over and pounded on the glass. The driver was nowhere to be found. He couldn’t really see inside, but saw the figure in there moving around.
He started yelling and pounding on the window. She wouldn’t respond nor open the windows. So Gerard did what he had to do and broke the window with his flashlight, sticking his arm inside, fishing around to feel her. He grabbed her and pulled her out through the window, screaming and kicking.
The guests and staff came running outside and the girl was crying and insisting that Gerard had attacked her when he was trying to break into the car. The police were called and Gerard sat with his head down.
The charges were eventually dropped, but Gerard was fired. He was out job hunting when suddenly he saw HER walking down the street. He couldn’t believe it. HER! He slowed down and rolled down the window. The girl didn’t even look at him but gave him the finger. He pulled the car over the curb and jumped out to confront her. The girl backed away from him in fear and suddenly he realized that he was frightening her and how crazy he must appear. He backed away and apologized, explaining that he was the guard from the night at that party.
The girl nodded and explained that she’d gone out with her “friends” that evening and they’d totally left her there, catching all the trouble, denying they knew her. They had all been there to meet celebrities.
Gerard and the girl talked more, and found out they had a lot in common. He offered her a ride to wherever she was going and she accepted, saying she was going to meet her sister. Dropping her off in front of the café, he spotted them hugging and his eyes practically bulged out of his eyes as he set his eyes on “the most beautiful girl in the world.” The girl, Lisa, introduced Gerard to her sister, Melanie, who invited him to eat lunch with them.
Melanie and Gerard were married last year. And Gerard figures that even if his life was preordained to be a tragedy, he has broken the cycle. Melanie doesn’t even mind his cud-chewing-gum habit.
Thank you Gerard, for sharing your Story with us.
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© 2009 by Kristen Kuhns and Story of My Life®