midland n. the middle part of a country
“It’s middle earth, you dumb ass…not midland earth,” she said with a mocking grin.
“But technically shouldn’t Tolkien have called it Midland Earth since it was in the middle of the country? Isn’t that really what he meant?,” I said trying to sound intelligent having never read any Tolkien.
“No, not at all. Tolkien used the term Middle Earth as a reflection of time in the earths history, not a physical place on the earth. If he meant the midland of earth it would have been somewhere in the Atlantic…the nearest country being Ghana”, she said matter-of-factly. “To clarify, the midland of North America would be Nebraska or Kansas, roughly.”
“Also the “midland” of nowhere,” I laughed. She smirked and giggled slightly with her face quickly returning to a serious expression underneath her horn rimmed glasses and ruddy face. We went on pulling out the lawn and staring down.
It was an unusual March. I say unusual because the seasons seemed to have mixed themselves up and instead of Lion marching in, the Lamb lounged in the unseasonable 70 degree heat. Short sleeves and flip flops abounded as we enjoyed the uncanny weather that hinted at the splendor the Spring and Summer had in store. School was out early for conferences and we sat on my front lawn tearing out the grass my father had toiled so hard to cultivate yet remained patchy nonetheless.
I never pretended to be smart nor did I want to be. If I could really be anything it would have been athletic or popular, by no means smart. Smart was for people like Agnes with her library of dog eared Tolkien stories and coke bottle glasses. I could have been smart. I had the genes…I just always strove for the unattainable…the intangible quality that I had no chance of attaining. So at the age of 12, I achieved a profound level of mediocrity striving to be something special. If mediocrity was a country, I most certainly would have been it’s midland…