My First Big Fork in the Road

Who would I be today if I’d said “yes”?

Mitch Teemley


Have you ever wondered who you’d be if at some point you’d taken a different fork in the road? Pursued a different career. Married a different person. Chosen not to pet that baby alligator.

My first big fork came in Fifth Grade. Mr. Taketa was a politely obsessive Japanese-born teacher who wasn’t much taller than we were. He kept a clerk’s bell on his desk and made us memorize a series of Pavlovian dings: One bell = nap time, two bells = announcements (accompaniment by Mr. T’s strident, “’tension, please, ‘tension!”), three bells = Math, etc.

But four bells meant Art, and this was when Mr. Taketa’s clerkish demeanor wilted and his passion bloomed. Art had clearly been his fork in the road, the path imagehe regretted not having taken. Perhaps he wasn’t talented enough. Or perhaps his parents had insisted he pursue something sensible, like teaching rude American fifth graders how to…

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About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Story Power and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to My First Big Fork in the Road

  1. smzang says:

    Michi Timori,

    You had really awesome parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. landl30 says:

    Ah, “the road less traveled” as Robert Frost said. (This also reminds me of the very first Muppets movie where Fonzi bear comments on “a bear in his natural habitat… a Studebaker”, then comes upon a similarly literal fork.. in the road.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The first big fork I remember is being invited up to Alaska by my uncle in the summer when I was in high school. He said I could work on a fishing boat and make lots of money. I then read about the dangers of working on fishing boats and I politely declined. Years later I visited Alaska and fell in love with it listening to the stories of many who had shown up to work for the summer “years ago” and never left. SO…what could have been…I might have been one of the residents of the Last Great Frontier. 🙂 Good post! Has me thinking today 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Had I married my childhood sweetheart, I’d probably still be a lapsed Catholic, maybe with 5 kids, instead of one. Had I wed the Navajo divorcee who was into me, we would have had maybe two kids, in addition to her two from Hubby # 1. Had I jumped right into romance, after my wife of 29 years passed, I’d have felt like a fraud and would likely be divorced now. As it is, I’m quite content with my life, as it is currently.

    Liked by 2 people

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