Friday, August 19

Okay, That Was Me, Part One: The Early Years

Standard legal disclaimer applies.

• If you're the guy who thirty some years ago was innocently working underneath his car one summer night using light provided by another car's headlights, and three long-haired maniacs screeched to a halt in the middle of the street and rushed you, then looked confused when you crawled out from underneath to see what the hell was going on, I was the tall one.

Explanation: Well, the cars were parked just off the road, at an angle, and the driver's side door of the one the guy was lying under was bashed. As we drove up we thought there'd been an accident and he was bleeding to death under there. Good thing he started moving before we grabbed his ankles and pulled. In our defense, in those days Midwestern high school boys typically did not score weed anywhere near that potent.

• Assuming you are one of three young women in my high school who received an identical letter revealing my secret admiration for you and my desire to father your child before the recently-discovered inoperable brain tumor snuffed me out, I made all that up.

Note: I'm pretty sure this was understood at the time.

• If you were a first year art teacher in the early 70s and came home one day to find the pencil sharpener had been emptied in your purse, I think I know who did it.

Cross exam: Just what was your purse doing just sitting there next to the pencil sharpener, anyway?

•  If, on the other hand, you were the rabid right-wing history teacher who sponsored the passing out of little paper flag badges on the first Vietnam Moratorium Day, and then was cowardly enough to claim it had been scheduled "long before" you knew about the Moratorium, I'm not apologizing for the three-year barrage of magazine subscriptions, and I can only hope the FBI showed up to ask you about your continuing interest in Soviet Life.

• If by chance you were in north-central Indiana in the spring of 1971 and saw a train hauling a pig which was standing up on a flatcar, it's probably one I helped put there. I've always wondered where that pig wound up.

Clarification: It was dead when we found it.

• And I'll never know for sure, but there is at least the possibility that I was the source for one of the goofiest urban legends of all time: the idea that Frank Zappa was the son of Teevee's Mr. Greenjeans. One of the hippier-than-thou types who used to hang around my girlfriend told me he was "into" Zappa. I hated people who were "into" things, so I said, "You know that song "Son of Mr. Green Genes"? Well, he really is the son of Mr. Greenjeans."

Don't expect later installments to maintain this level of excitement.


D. Sidhe said...

I trust the previously-alluded-to Seattle story becomes a part of this confessionary tale at some point?

I'd say you're not surprising me at all, but the pig thing did. And made me laugh.

doghouse riley said...

Ixnay on the eattle-say, there.

We were camping out near a pig farm on the mighty Wabash, and everywhere we went there were dead things: dogs, cats, rabbits, a two-foot high pile of bluegills. The pig was quite near the railroad tracks, and not too large--maybe sixty pounds. A train came by, moving slow, and we managed to wrestle him onto an empty flatcar and get him up on his trotters. It just seemed like a teenaged stunt, but as I watched him pull away I was struck by the poetry of the thing.

Idyllopus said...

It took me a once-through read on the pig, then a read of the rest of the page, and then a return to the pig paragraph, before I started cackling. I knew this was good and my resistance to laughter was a failure on my part. I had troubles envisioning the pig "standing up" on a flatbed car. My mind kept wanting to see it "standing up" on two legs, and I couldn't grasp this. What was holding it up. The pig didn't look right. Wasn't fitting with the horizon. Then, returning, I realized "standing up" simply meant standing and I saw the pig finally and I cackled, and I was able to pan around it and cackled more, and I watched it from some dirt road, in my car, and began to laugh.