The entire group chorused the same words all at once.
Robert wasn’t sure what to say, he had never been to a support group before. There were just so many people.
“Don’t be scared to speak your mind Robert. There’s no judgement here. Everyone here is in the same boat. Hell, even I used to be in the same boat, but groups exactly like this one helped me get through it.”
The group manager smiled encouragingly at Robert, inviting him to speak.
He took a deep breath, and made up his mind.
“This past week was… hard.”
“Do you care to elaborate?”
Robert took another deep breath.
“Everywhere I go, people make fun of me. On the streets, at stoplights, everywhere. They mock me about Ice Ice Baby, and it’s continuous. And I have a confession to make.” Robert looked down at his shoes before he spoke again, showing the shame he felt to the rest of the group.
“Robert? What happened? Remember, no judgement.”
“I did it. I bought another two snap-back caps and a supreme jacket yesterday. I just could’t help myself. I passed the store yesterday, and they were just sitting there in the window. I don’t even have space anymore on my hat-rack, but I still did it.”
He had tears in his eyes. He didn’t want to be this way, but he just couldn’t help it. He continued to stare at his shows, all the while feeling the judgement that the group was silently giving him.
“Robert, everyone here in the DA have had setbacks before. You’re not the first, and you definitely won’t be the last. The good thing is that you are trying to better yourself, and that’s always the first step.”
Robert looked back up at the manager, a weight lifted off his chest.
“Well everybody, I think we’ll cut it there for today. Same time next week?”
There was a general murmur of agreement as everybody got up from their chairs and huddled into a close-knit group at the center of the circle. They all put their hands on top of each others, and said: “Douche-bags Anonymous!”
The group split and headed for the door, and over the head of the crowd, the group manager said: “Robert, please stay behind a second, I want to give you the 12 step program since it’s your first meeting.”
Two minutes later, Robert was back on the street, a weight off his chest.
He had parked his car a few blocks away, and had just began walking in the direction of his car when three teenagers walked past and shouted “Yo, VIP, Let’s kick it!” and burst into laughter. They carried on walking, but tears had come to Roberts eyes. He didn’t want to be Vanilla Ice anymore. People only seemed to make fun of him for it now. Everyone back in the 90’s loved it, it was only now people pretended they didn’t like it anymore.
He was sick of it.
On the walk back to his car, passed another cap shop, right then and there made a decision that he wasn’t going to hide anymore who he was. Why should he change for anybody else? He was a 51 year old Vanilla Ice and proud to be it. He walked in the cap shop, and walked out with a grin on his face.
‘What should I do now?’ Was his next thought, and he smiled even more when the thought came to him.
He, Vanilla Ice, needed another hat-rack.