16 July 2007

The Tough Guys on the Block

That's right. I moved to Brooklyn. Now I hang out like this and be tough and intimidating. What are you lookin' at buddy? I'm gonna punch your face with a knuckle sandwich!

14 July 2007

Let's get this house in order

Okay, so I confess. I made this blog to write semi-fictional stories about growing up. I was going to create a whole new character for myself, but I haven't really been able to keep up with it (on top of my other work climbing mountains to save babies who get lost skiing). And since I also had intended to start a 'serious' blog someday and I've never gotten around to that either, I've decided to just roll the two into one.

So consider yourself informed. This blog will now have two meanings, you figure out which posts belong where I'm not a friggin doctor or whatever.

09 February 2007

Circle of rage

Recess was easily my favorite hour of the day. I mean come on, an hour to run around outside after polishing off lunch. Just TRY not to vomit with excitement! And the games we had! Oh, the games we had. We had your recess staples: your various tags; freeze, zombie, prison and regular. We had imaginary guns for military play and imaginary proton-packs for Ghost Buster play. We also had a large assortment of school provided whiffle ball pats for 'bee killing' which was a game as creative as it's name: we smacked bees with whiffle ball bats.

But there was one game that, in retrospect, I'm not sure why we ever played. Actually, it wasn't a game so much as it was just an activity. Maybe a ritual. Whatever it was it usually didn't turn out to be much fun for me.

There was this kid in our school named Justin. I guess he was sorta our friend. Most of the time he was normal, if a little hyper-active. He was the kind of kid that dumped Pixie Sticks onto his peanut butter sandwich. You know. He liked to go into "rages" as we called them. He would get, or act, insanely fly-off-the-handle hyper. This was facilitated by us, of course. We would encircle him at recess and chant "Rage! Rage! Rage!" until he would 'snap' and go off on one of his rages. His rages usually climaxed with him smacking me or tackling me to the ground. Most likely because I was the smallest kid, or because of my big nerd glasses. There was one instance in particular that I remember that ended with me crying to the teacher and her saying, "I saw you guys taunting him..." Now you see why, in retrospect, I don't know why I participated.

Well that was going to change! I wasn't going to partake, no, I wasn't going to allow it anymore! I would stop the circle of rage. It was cruel. And sure Justin may have been obnoxious but we didn't need to ostracize him like we did. I bet if we treated him as one of us he would mellow out and relax.

Well, that theory lasted for about three days before he 'raged' again and knocked my glasses into a slushy puddle of melting snow and mud and who knows what else!

Fuck that kid! Next time it happens I'm just gonna 'rage' back and knock him on his ass!

Cut to four days later and me in a headlock squeezing my face until my ears hurt.


Well, wait a minute. Why doesn't that lazy, alcoholic recess teacher ever do anything about this?! I bet if i told the principal about what was happening on his playground he'd want to know and maybe actually do something to stop it...like lock Justin in leg irons against the wall they use for handball. THAT'S what I'd do!

As it turns out the principal was interested in hearing about what happened on the playground. Very interested. Naturally, I had to embellish a little. You know, "spice things up." I just had to be sure that he would see the seriousness of the situation. So I said Justin was selling drugs for the recess teacher. I said she would slip him the drugs and he would go stand near the fence and sell them to teenagers. I said when I told Justin that I was going to tell on him that he beat me up. I had the bruises to back that up. I also had some marijuana I bought from some high schoolers with four weeks allowance that I split up and put in the teacher's purse while she was talking on the phone and a little inside a pack a gum that I gave to Justin, no questions asked. I also said that Justin had anger problems and about the 'rage' issues and how the druggie teacher never did anything, but he didn't seem as concerned. So I was right to dramatize a little.

Justin got in pretty big trouble. He came back to school after the summer and by then was kind of out of our circle of friends. The teacher I never saw again. But who cares?

25 January 2007

Evil Master of Odors

When I was growing up there was one toy that I really wanted but never got. It was not an expensive toy, or a rare toy, or anything dangerous or weird or anything like that. It was simply a He-Man action figure. Stinkor to be exact. I wanted Stinkor. I was not allowed to have Stinkor for one reason: he stunk. Which, incidentally, is exactly why I wanted Stinkor.

Stinkor was the skunk. He was one of the bad guys and so naturally he stunk. I don’t know how exactly, since I was never allowed to bring the toy into my parent’s oh-so stink free house, but it said right there on the package “Evil master of odors.” And he really, really stunk! Or so I’m told. For after my mother got wind (not literally) that Stinkor was the toy that smelled like skunk she refused to let me have him. Flat out REFUSED. I was devastated. I felt like Ralphie from A Christmas Story. I felt like a kid dying of cancer who just was told he couldn’t have his legs back that were also removed by a ruthless surgeon.

And the thing of it is I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if I never got Stinkor. There were hundreds of toys I never got that I would have wanted. But when I was told that there was no way I would EVER be allowed to own him under any conditions, well you can imagine how much more that would make me want him. It basically became a struggle against oppression. I felt hopeless and defeated and crushed and I needed to do something to overcome. Lucky for me I was a clever kid.

At first I let my temper get the better of me. I exploded. I stomped my feet and waved my hands and got sent to my room. That’s when I decided it would be best to just lay low sort of; to let the “Stinkor panic” subdue. I got by playing with my friend Alex’s Stinkor. He and He-Man had some mighty battles, but I always saved the ultimate showdown for when I would inevitably posses my very own Stinkor. And to tell the truth it didn’t really smell that much. I don’t see what my mom’s big fucking deal was.

Well the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months and finally, one chilly February in a Kay-Bee Toys at the mall, I gave it a go. My mom was looking over the Barbie toys in the retarded girl section with my sister.

“Mom, can I get a He-Man?” I asked politely. I made sure to not sound too whiny. If she said “no” I didn’t really care, I was just asking, I tried to show in my voice.

“Just one,” she said still pointing out stupid Barbie hats and shoes with my little sister. I had the go! I turned and got out of the lame girl aisle and made my way to the He-Men. There were plenty of Stinkors just waiting for me. I grabbed one whose packaging looked in good shape and casually made my way back to my mom and sister. Now I just had to get by unnoticed, and not draw attention to the fact that I had the forbidden Stinkor. My mom was near the checkout area and I quietly fell into place behind her.

“All set?” she asked.

“Yep,” I answered. When my mom put down the Barbie stuff for my sister I, as care free as I could, placed my Stinkor down on the counter. Face down of course. This is working. It was so simple. I just had to wait but this would make the Stinkor even better!

“So who’d you get?” my mom then asked. Fuck. This could blow it all. I had to play it cool. I just shrugged and flipped the packaged figure over.

“Wait. Isn’t this the one that stinks?” my mom said almost instantly. FUCK. “I thought I told you, you can’t have this one.” She was taking it away! She was getting us out of line and going to put it back! I had to go to plan B.

As my mom marched over to the He-Man section, assuming I was behind her because I could hear her carrying on about something, I went the other way. I went out of the store and into the mall and began to shriek and wail like a child possessed. It wasn’t long before a white-uniformed mall security guard came over.

“What’s the problem son?” He asked with both a hint of worry and annoyance in his voice. My mom was coming out of the store now as well. This better work, I thought.

“That-lady's-not-my-mommy!” I shrieked, running the words into one and trying to sound as panicked as I could. Anger seized upon my mother's face as I shouted those words again and wrapped my arms tightly around the security guards waist.

"You are in BIG trouble!" my mom horsed out as she reached for me, but the security officer held her back. I had rolled up my sleeves a few moments ago and now the security guard was staring down at my little arm around his waist, which was tattooed up and down in fresh cigarette-shaped burns I had made earlier that day with a hot spoon.

"I think you better wait right there, ma'am," said my saviour, holding out his hand to stop my mother's advancement while his other arm reached for his walkie-talkie.

Twenty minutes later I was in a small room with a friendly female police officer. She stooped when she talked to me and always had the most pleasant tone in her voice. She asked me where I got the burns, I lied. She asked me if 'the mean lady' did anything else to me. I lied again. I said "yes." I said to my privates and butt.

Another twenty minutes and I was in the same room behind a curtain, naked, with a doctor. Again, I was prepared for this. I told you I was a clever kid. I knew where they would look, so after I had made the cigarette burns that morning I did one other thing. I snuck one of my dad's beer bottles from the fridge and ducked into the bathroom. After I poured it all out down the sink, I dropped my drawers and clenched my teeth and edged the narrow 'drinking end' of the bottle into my rectum. It only went about an inch deep, just enough so that the bottle didn't fall out when I let go. Then I swung it like a tail, and smashed it into the base of the bathroom sink. After the burns on my arms it didn't hurt too bad actually. I cleaned up the mess and waddled out, knowing we'd be at the mall in three hours or so.

I'm thankful that the security guard was observant enough to spot the ugly burns on my arm, but under the trained eyes of a doctor it wasn't chance but certainty that he'd spot what I wanted him to find. It didn't take long. He gently inserted some slim, lubricated tweezers into my anus and with a smooth, dull pluck pulled out a broken, half-circular ring of green glass. He held it up and looked at it in the light for a moment. Anger vaguely showing behind his professional demeanor. He exited the curtain and I heard him talking softly with the female cop who was waiting on the other side. Then I heard her exit the room and the door shut hard. The doctor peaked back in and said quietly, "you can get dressed now son."

I didn't get Stinkor that day, and I didn't see my mom again until about eight months later at her trial, but after living with my court appointed guardians for only two weeks they bought me the Stinkor I asked for without question or complaint. I guess I never played with him much though, by then I was just getting into the brand new Ninja Turtles and I had kinda moved on to GI Joes a few months back as my main action figure playthings, but I kept the Stinkor. I kept him so every time I looked at him I could think of my victory and be proud.