The Night My Stepfather Tried to Drown Me…
[Part 1 The Importance of Doing What You Love] It was November in 1974. I was only 14 years old and was sat across the desk speaking to the ‘Career Guidance Officer’ at my high school.
Him: “So tell me, Chris, what kind of job do you want to do when you leave school?”
Me: “Actually Sir, I don’t want a job. I’m going to work for myself.”
The look on his face was UTTERLY priceless.
Him: “This is a serious interview lad – not a joke – now tell me what job you want to have? And don’t worry – there are several you can choose from… you could be a welder, plumber, carpenter, cook…”
Me: “Please Sir. I am unemployable.”
Him: “Why? are you and imbecile? lazy? stupid? This is NOT a joke boy!”
Me: “No sir it was just that I read a book and the man owned a business and he explained that in general, poor people work for wages but business owners work for profits.”
“And he said he knew when he was a kid that he was totally unemployable. Well Sir, now I know that too.”
SIDEBAR: The poor guy tried his very best to persuade me of all the risks involved in starting a business – how most of them go broke and very few survive.
I pointed out that it made even less sense for me to rely on someone else as an employee.
His closing words to me were:
“Unless you wake up and smell the roses you will never get anywhere in life. Don’t be an idiot – get a job!”
====> Fast Forward to December 24th [a Tuesday night] I was stood feeling terrified as my Stepfather started laying into my Mum.
It got to the point where he was dragging across the floor by her hair and stopping on her stomach and something snapped inside me.
I grabbed a vase and smashed it as hard as I could on his shoulder.
And talk about jumping out of the frying pan into the fire…
He was absolutely furious with rage – knocked me senseless and yelled: “I’m going to drown you!”
He dragged me into the car and drove to the local river.
I was feeling numb both from the punch in the head that he had given me and from the abject terror that came with the realization that I was about to die by drowning.
Anyway, he dragged me out of the car and out into the river until the water was about 3 feet deep.
And then he shoved me under the water.
If I live to be 100 I will never forget the feeling of absolute determination to live that flooded my heart, mind and body at that moment.
I struggled as hard as I could but it was useless.
He was much stronger than me.
And then it happened…
My feet struck up against a rock in the water and I immediately pushed against it with all my might and he had to let go.
Then I had another problem.
I couldn’t swim… [Continued in Part 2]