Saturday, August 27, 2011

August 26, 2011

I'm walking back into Mrs. O'Katy's English class in 7th grade.  I'm wearing a black t-shirt with nothing on it.  Or so I thought. 

My friend Nick Ralls, who had been my best friend earlier for many years, had something to say to me.  He said, "You have a grape on your shirt." 

I looked down, and sure enough there was something on my shirt that didn't belong, only it wasn't a grape.  I imagine he was thinking about the middle portion of a grape; that part that sometimes is connected to the stem when you yank it off. 

I immediately wished it was a grape, realizing it was a rather large booger from my nose.  I have no clue as to how long it was there, and I wondered how many people had seen it and how many people had heard of it. 

To this day, I question Nick's intention in identifying the object as a "grape."  I have two thoughts, though there are likely myriad possibilities. 

First, he knew it was a booger.  He, possibly in light of his increased acceptance in social circles, and combined with my relative social stagnancy, decided to break it to me in a way that would make me feel less embarrassed.  While this seems somewhat unlikely, I've always appreciated his kindness and caring towards me in struggling times. 

Second, he thought it was a grape. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

February 7, 2011

There was a PTA meeting.  PTA stands for Parent Teacher Association.  This meeting was at my elementary school, Northwood Elementary.  It was an elementary school like one you might see in a movie. 

I was at the meeting, which is to say I was at the school where the meeting was happening.  More specifically, I was out on the playground, a place with which I was well familiar.  I was there with my big brother and some other kids whose parents were in attendance.  One such child was Adam Wheeless.  He was a nice fella, and I always got along with him, which is more than I can say for some of the other dudes he ran with.  I harbor no hard feelings about this, for you see, I was a wanksta from time to time.

Anyway, back to the fucking action, right?  So, we (somewhat as a group) make our way out to the dugout, whose intended purpose was to facilitate baseball, kickball, or softball (in no particular order).  We arrived and decided that some of us should climb onto the top of the dugout.  It follows then that we decided to huck things at the people on top of the dugout with hopes of knocking them off.  Naturally, we didn't really anticipate accomplishing this, and had we really thought about it, we'd have realized that our intention wasn't actually to be successful in this endeavor.  In fact, the thought of it, in hindsight, 17 years later, is quite violent. 

Of course, on this fateful day, I was unlucky enough to realize this goal.  Wheeless was my victim.  The tool?  We had earlier discovered a dirty sock and filled it with pebbles and dirt.  It was this which pelted Adam in the forehead, causing him to fall off the dugout.  He was upset, naturally, and I was terrified, naturally.  I ran to into the meeting to seek shelter from a pending attack.  Running like a mama's boy.  It worked.  Adam chased me until the door of the meeting, yet the pomp of the meeting clearly was sufficient to shut him down.  I was saved by pomp. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

February 4, 2011

I had a friend named Brian.  He was a little bit of a strange kid, and I don't think he had lots of buddies.  We played on the same basketball team, and I imagine (in hindsight) that he was really quite smart.  Anyway, his parents owned a fancy restaurant outside of San Antonio.  I was invited by him to spend the night one night, which is to say that his mother invited my mother to request that I spend the night out there with her son.

It wasn't altogether a bad experience.  Brian had money and therefore, game genie, and he also lived outside of the city, which meant exploring, spelunking, fire-lighting.  We were exploring an old, broken-down building, and we were chased by a large mongrel of a dog.  It was rainy and damp, which dampened our outdoor time.

In the evening, we were to have dinner, obviously eating the food of the restaurant.  So, we're sitting in the back room, eating what was perhaps the nicest dinner I'd ever had.  In the middle of dinner, Brian, who would later perhaps be diagnosed as affected by hyperactivity or attention deficit.  Regardless, his attention was easily distracted, and this night was no different.

I sat, eating some sort of chicken thing that I didn't understand, though I unimaginably was very excited about.  During our dinner, which also involved playing some ancient computer games (at the time not so ancient), and some horseplay.  During the horseplay, two very memorable events happened.

First, Brian, in performing some act we might call "play," bumped me from behind, spilling my cherry soda all over my food.  Being that we were in the room alone, I wasn't ever offered, nor did I have the guts to ask for, more food.  Later in the same dinner, as I choke down my chicken a la cherry soda, Brian (who clearly doesn't have the same level of food appreciation as his humble guest), fires a rubber band at me from across the room.  Brian's aim in basketball was atrocious.  Seems he was more talented at firing rubber bands.  He hit me square in the eyeball, causing me to cry.  It wasn't an emotional or body-cry, rather a physiological reaction to an uninvited stimulus.

At the end of the dinner, I was sick of being Brian's friend.  I asked my mother never to acquiesce to such a proposal.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 11, 2011

I was playing basketball on Riverside with Matt and Rich, and maybe my brother.  We were terrible, and had beer in our stomachs and brains.  It was really hot and I imagine I was sweating.  The sport court seemed to make the heat less bearable. 

I jumped to rebound the ball.  My right hand, my dominant hand, made contact with the ball first.  There was a pop.  I looked at my finger.  My middle finger.  My 'fuck you' finger.  The longest one.  The segment from the tip of the finger to the first knuckle, approximately 2 centimeters was bent forward.  The crease between the inside of this finger segment and the continuation of my middle, 'fuck off' finger, formed an obtuse angle.  I'd estimate 132 degrees if I were to estimate. 

The finger didn't want to return to factory quality.  It wanted to stay doing just what it was doing.  I, also, wanted to continue just what I was doing.  I was, you remember, playing basketball.  I continued playing after a fit of tugging, squeezing, twisting, shaking, bopping it, etc...

Later that afternoon, when the game ended (very likely a zero-zero tie, considering our propensity to miss our target), I went up to UT to see a nurse.  You see, at this point, I was enrolled in, and getting ready to return to, the University of Texas at Austin, where I would be making a lifetime of memories and forging lifelong relationships, both with people and abstractions. 

Upon arrival, the nurse asked how long the issue had been in existence.  She was understandably baffled when I answered honestly that it had been a number of hours.  She built for me a padded splint, but made no promises.  Good on her, cause the splint did nothing.  Here I sit, years later, with a permanent 132 degree angle measurement tool.  Naturally, I could also use the thing to measure its supplement, a 48 degree angle, as well. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

January 9, 2011

I was in BaƱos, Ecuador, with a group of friends that I had met there.  We planned on taking a 22 km bike ride to the threshold of the Amazon rainforest.  On the way, we were to see natural waterfalls amongst the hills and mountains near Tungurahua Volcano.  We were about 100 meters out of town, on rented bikes, when, suddenly, my chain popped off the gear and lodged itself in between the gear and the frame.  The bike locked up and stopped.  I kept going.  I slid safely into home plate, which is to say slid for about 8 feet on the concrete.  My knee was immediately bleeding bad, and the tire melted my polyester pants.  As expected, my hands and elbows received ample scrapes as well.  I hobbled, as much as is possible on a bike, to catch up with my crew, who had in the meantime made a few hundred meters progress.  I finally caught up to them, as I passed from the darkness of a tunnel into the light.  The mystery of my having gone missing slowly came to light, literally, as I departed from the darkness.  My crew was empathetic, yet we all decided to go on, and had a lovely time swimming and sipping on Pilsener and sangria out of a box. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

January 7, 2011

I was playing hockey.  I was playing with my friends in front of Yolanda's yard.  One of us had skates.  We would rotate skates.  The others ran.  It was quite cold.  We were young and playing with a ball.  The ball was plastic, a very hard plastic.  Given the hardness of the plastic and the cold weather, conditions were just right for what happened next.

I was in Yolanda's yard fetching the ball after a wayward shot.  I chipped the ball from the tall grass.  It hit my friend Nick square in the nose.  It was seemingly painful for him, and his blood dripped from the nostril.  He was upset and the tears in his eyes could have been a mixture of pain, anger, and physiological reaction to being bopped in the honker. 

I felt bad, but only after I stopped feeling competitive towards everybody.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January 4, 2011

I worked at Embassy Skate Center when I was in eighth grade.  I played hockey there, and was offered a job behind the counter by Beverly, the proprietor, though her husband Gene might have something to say about that.

I sold (and consumed) Icees, nachos, pizza, sodas, airheads, and other shit to kids and adults alike.  I wore a 100 percent nylon referees jersey which, when I was promoted to floor manager, would cause me to sweat, which would cause me embarrassment, which would cause me to, well, sweat.

Needless to say, this was my embarrassment period, wherein I was bashful like it was going out of style.  A terrible time, really, though in all likelihood beneficial in the end and indeed unavoidable, I surmise.

With that in mind, picture the following true events.  It's my first day of working, both at the Skate Center and in general.  I'm given the taxing job of restocking the oversized, red Icee straws, which come in 6" x 6" x 12" pressed cardboard boxes, the boxes whose upper portions rip off in such a way that one can use the box as a display.  Said portion removed, if you care to imagine, is a triangular prism, which allows for more of the front face of the box to be removed, the brink of each adjacent wall climbing up to our original back face adjacent corners, which has lost none of its original height.  From the side, it looks like a stadium wherein the tallest-people-in-the-front-rows' heads equal exactly the height of those sitting in the topmost rows.  These sad sacks, of course, are altitudinally challenged to the extreme.

Even though we had purchased these boxes of straws, we cared not for their packaging.  Perhaps the pressed cardboard was less apetICEEing than a large, red Coca-Cola cup, which was the domain for our tubulars.  Anyway, I prepared to refill the Coca-Cola display, which couldn't have been more than 8% empty, given its size relative to customer flow.  I removed the aforementioned prism, trashed it (recycling wasn't much on the minds of this 14 year old nor the minds of the proprietors, who were quite dear and lovely people, as it turns out).  As I walked towards the Icee machine, something must have caught my attention, startled my nerves, or something of the like, for I allowed the box to slip out of my hands, its collision with the floor sending a veritable pipeline-in-pieces scattering all over the alternating black and white chess or checker-style floor.  Of course, this got a rouse out of the coworkers who, in their later teens, jumped all over the occurrance largely becuase they just wanted so animalistically to jump on something.

On that day, friends, you would have thought the color of those straws, the cherry Icee sticking to the inside of the drip reservoir, or indeed the (probably trademarked) Coca-Cola receptacle into which said straws were intended to end up, that red, would have been a dull, somewhat muted pink in comparison to the raging hue that screamed off my face, lighting the place, putting the neon to shame.

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 3, 2011

I was walking into work at American YouthWorks.  I was having trouble with my bag.  It was being unwieldy with me.  I grabbed it by the top handle with my right hand, left hand lugging a bag full of fruit.  I tossed the bag directly upwards, and attempted to slip my right arm, my free arm, my heretofore coordinated arm, through the shoulder strap.  I missed.  The bag fell, inside of it my laptop computer, slr camera, and some books.  I was shaken and stirred.  I was red as a hornet. 

Everything worked out just fine that morning.