copyright © 2006 Jeff Goode

September 21st Changed Everything

by Jeff Goode

copyright © 2006

(clears his throat)


(with great gravity)

September 21st… changed everything.


Not September 21st. September 11th.

September 21st is my birthday.

September 21st changed everything for me personally.

If it weren’t for September 21st I wouldn’t be here.

There is no more important day, in history, than September 21st.

September 21st means so much to me that every year I throw it a birthday party, just to celebrate.

But if there was one day I could throw a birthday party for -

Other than September 21st -

(serious again)

It would be September 11th… 2000-something.

Maybe not a "clowns & balloons" birthday party.

But, like, a serious birthday party.


Like a national holiday. Because September 11th…


Changed everything.

I will never forget that day. 2001, I think.

(catches himself)

Is that right?

Cuz it was after Y2K.

But then I got married in 2004, so it was before that.

But not right before.

So maybe 2002.

(becoming frustrated with himself)

But that’s not the point.

The point is… that before September 11th, in whatever year it was,

Things were different.

My new boss at work is a jerk.

Not everyone knows this, but…

He’s embezzling money from the company.

The way he does it is with travel expenses.

Because sometimes he doesn’t even have a receipt.

He’ll just write "50 dollars" on a bar napkin and then I have to reimburse him for it.

And sometimes I recognize the name on the napkin, and it’s, like, the Mexican restaurant at the Denver Airport or the Starbucks at Chicago O’Hare.

So, basically, he’s grabbing a couple napkins at the airport on the way home and claiming it was dinner with a client.

And I’m the one who has to sign off on his expenses

So if he ever gets caught, I’m going down with him!

So I joined a gym.

Before September 11th, I probably would have filed a report.

I would have turned him in

And he would be doing time right now.

And I don’t care if that makes me look like a bad guy, I would have turned him in, I would have testified against him, and problem solved, end of story. Let the chips fall where they may.

But on September 11th

A bunch of Saudis and Yemenis hijacked a bunch of planes and flew them into the World Trade Center.

And I don’t know about you,

But me and the rest of America were pissed off.

And there was nothing we could do about it

Because the guys who did it were dead

And the guy who planned it was living in a cave in Abu Ghraib or some shit.

So I borrowed my girlfriend’s card

And I went down to the gym

And I beat the hell out of the punching bag

For about 2 hours.

Just to blow off some steam.

And I felt better

I’d picture those Yemeni terrorists every time I punched the bag

Or one of the Saudi terrorists

And then every half hour I’d switch over

And speedbag it on Osama bin Laden for awhile.

And then back to the big bag to do the Saudis and Yemeni’s again.

By the time I got done

My fists were bloody

But I felt good.

It felt like I was doing something.

Even if it was just in my girlfriend’s gym.

So after that I got my own card.

And now any time my boss does something to piss me off

I go down to the gym and take it out on the bag. Blow off steam.

And I know I’m not fighting corruption or corporate malfeasance.

But it feels like I am.

And some days - when my boss isn’t being such a prick. Or he’s out of town — I go down to the gym and fight terrorism instead.

Next week I think I’m going to start doing boxing.

I bet it’ll feel good to punch a real person for a change.

If they pair me with somebody who happens to look like my boss

That guy is in for a world of hurt.

And if he looks like some kind of Arab…

That fucker is dead.


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