I watched the marching band form patterns and spell out words during halftime.
Oh, I wanted to be in the marching band so much, but I couldn’t play a musical instrument. Nor could I twirl a baton worth a damn.
“Play the triangle,” suggested my mother.
So, I did. And I tried out for band.
Along with every other kid who couldn’t play an instrument worth a damn. Which was every other kid.
We were a marching band that consisted solely of triangles.
By the end of the football season, everyone was either deaf or had severe ringing in their ears.
I haven’t bowled for years.
I can’t remember the last time I bowled.
I remember the first time I was at a bowling alley. I was in the day care room while my mom was bowling. They had coloring books and blocks and games and connect the dots.
But I don’t remember playing games with other kids. Just one connect the dots. It was of a cowboy. My mom may still have it.
The company is having a bowling night tonight.
Will I bowl?
Put me in the day care room. With coloring book, blocks, and connect the dots.
Billy was always getting into trouble with the other kids.
Trouble, as in things you don’t talk about.
Inappropriate touches. Things you can’t chalk up to youthful curiosity.
Things you lock up in the basement or the attic, and you try to forget about.
His parents were always telling him to keep his hands to himself.
So, he did. And for a while, things calmed down to the point where they thought they could send him back to school.
But when you use a branding iron, nobody needs a doll to show where the bad man touched them.
The teacher said on the report card that Bobby doesn’t play well with otters.
Otters? Doesn’t she mean others?
I scheduled a parent-teacher conference for the following Tuesday, and I was horrified to find the classroom covered with blood and hair and gristle.
“What kind of slaughterhouse do you run here?” I exclaimed.
“It’s your son Bobby!” answered the teacher. “Didn’t you read my note? Your little monster doesn’t play well with otters.”
“Otters?” I looked around. “These are dead otters?”
The teacher nodded.
I apologized to the teacher, grounded Bobby for a week, and suspended his annual zoo membership.
I never liked green beans. They always made me feel sick.
“I made them, and you’ll goddamned well them!” my mother would shout at me. “They’re good for you.”
“No they’re not!” I’d shout back, and throw up.
Things got nasty as I got older. Then one day, I couldn’t take it anymore. The cops came and found me standing over Mom’s body, screaming and still holding the knife.
The doctors checked me out, head to toe.
“You’re allergic to green beans,” they said. “Clearly a case of child abuse.”
Insanity, schmanity. I was not guilty by reason of allergy.
Kids tell each other that if you drop a penny from the top of the Empire State Building, it will reach terminal velocity and kill someone on the ground if it hits them.
But the truth is, wind and air resistance greatly slow a penny’s descent so that it’s only going 20 to 30 miles per hour, and it doesn’t have much mass or momentum, so it’ll just sting a bit.
Now, if you drop a kid holding a penny off of the top of the Empire State Building, it’ll kill someone on the ground.
In addition to the kid.
Buddy’s Buddies is a charity camp that Hall Of Fame second baseman Buddy Bunker runs for underprivileged handicapped kids.
They canoe, fish, play games, and have cookouts. It’s fun for everybody.
They also have a computer class there for the nerds who don’t like canoes, fishing, games, or normal kid stuff.
The other kids taunt and bully the nerds, which really boosts their self-esteem. Because the kids are usually picked on for being poor and crippled and funny-looking.
Oh, they also make arts and crafts, with some fancy woodworking, but they just use that junk to beat the nerds with.