The Rock Climbing Tree

 That summer we also made rock climbing history, well we may have at least. I would love to have been able to run up the canyon anytime that I wanted to climb but there were two bottle necks there. Neck the first was a little case of time and distance for travel and set up I was looking at a minimum of thirty minutes to get started let alone finished. The second neck was that sport climbing required a willing accomplice and not every one had the same schedule as I. So my idea was to put eye-bolts into our massive weeping willow tree in our front yard and climb up the bark. That didn't work too well because the bark was a little fragile for the forces involved in this type of tree climbing. So my brother and I started making climbing holds out of wood and rocks that we had drilled a hole through the center of. The wood worked okay but got really slick after just a little wear and natural rocks were a bit brittle so many of them snapped in half around its new middle hole. We were given a few proper rock climbing holds from friends and them by the process of natural selection and replenishment ended up with three routes that we could climb about 20' without having to drive up the canyon. There were two that went mostly strait up that were pretty boring and one that curved back along a long graceful branch that was pitched back at at forty-five degree angle. It was hard and cool looking and we could climb it in the night with some lights we brought out for the purpose. Most importantly we could show off our skill at climbing to anyone who visited our house without having to drag them up the canyon to spectate. I thought it was a brilliant idea and I thought that I would get some praise and respect from fellow climbers but the most interest I got was a lukewarm, 'That's cool bro.' It was cool and we had a lot of fun on that over the years until I got to fat and too weak to do it and then the tree got diseased and it was eventually cut into firewood with the twenty year-old rock climbing holds still bolted to the limbs.

This Shopping Crap Ain't Worth It

 Back to talking about Monucha. Towards the end of summer Monucha and I still had been keeping a lukewarm long distance relationship but hadn't gone anywhere together until we worked out a school clothes shopping trip to the mall with just us and one of her good friends. I was not a enthusiastic mall shopper because I didn't have the money, or more accurately I didn't want to spend my hard earned money on some expensive t-shirts and jeans especially when I could make funnier shirts then were on offer and I could get all of my school clothes and shoes for under a hundred bones at the local Deseret Industries thrift shop. When I was young I was ashamed of the stigma of buying second hand clothes but my personal attachment to my money prevented my shame from compelling my wallet hand to pay outrageous prices for new clothing. 25 dollars for a pair of Levi Silver Tabs? Yeah, if I was made of money. I would be happier in five dollar pants. I would show up for a little window shopping, goofing off, loitering and looking for girls to flirt with but on this day the last bit was taken care of so I was down to just some milling about and wandering. That is what I thought because I had never been shopping, proper shopping, with a girl, a proper girl. She was really into shopping and trying stuff on and looking at every flipping-gosh-dang stupid item of clothing in every store in the who blessed mall. I am a shopping laser beam. Pants 28-30 – whoosh – got them. Try them on? Why? I am wearing a pair right now and they fit like a dream. There, shopping done – what was my time? Girls have no idea what size they are wearing and if that number relates to the numbers that are on other clothes because every brand and style of clothes is a little different and plus the ladies have more curves and bumps that they need to settle the clothes around and that takes some trying on and some more trying on and then some more just for good measure. I had set up this shop-date in the hopes that it was like a one or two our deal that would adjourn to a private spot for some kissey time but wearing on my fifth hour I was beginning to wonder if I even liked this girl any more. I was actually starting to thing that I didn't by the eighth hour I was tired bored and sore and had decided that no amount of slap and tickle was worth this misery and I excused myself because she had indicated that there were still a few more stores she wanted to go to. I left drove home and never really hung out with much less talked to Monucha again. I mean I am a man willing to pay the price for the chance to score some loving but at some price point demand dries up and a full day at the mall is more then I can afford on a product I hadn't even sampled.

Everything is Gay and Everyone is a Homo

 I got my notes out of order and forgot about writing the rest about my last camp. Whoops. When we were young we used to call everything gay and imply that everyone was a homo. Which is frowned upon these days but is still rampant especially in the anonymous world of the internet. Back in the day it was the best way to start a fight and that is what we were in the mood for. As a carry over from our previous camps and activities instead of neckerchiefs our troop wore hangman's nooses to show what massive bad A's we were so of course we were always looking to start some static. The boys in the camp leadership got hot showers, flushing toilets and we did not so on the second night we decided to bring some justice to their braggart hot showered world. We knew that they showered after dark and where the building was so we made a plan to block the door and throw sand in through the vent windows. We snuck over and hid in the bushes and waited for them to come in and gave them some time to disrobe and turn on the shower. Once they had we ran up and tied the door with a cord and then started mocking them. We were singing 'Puff the Magic Dragon' as a rather obtuse reference to homosexual oral sex I guess. One of the boys in our raiding party knew a song with 'Vaseline-y, Vaseline-y, Vaseline-y, Rah-Rah-Rah'. We didn't know the words to help him sing but the implied need for lubrication for an off-label use of an anus was enough to really irritate the trapped boys. They were yanking at the door and screaming out death and dismemberment threats. We were laughing and throwing in sand by way of the vents when the door yanking paid off for the entrapped boys and they boiled out a little on the pissed off side. They chased us down and gave most of us a fairly competent beating. We limped back to our camp a little tattered and worse for wear and our adult leaders were wondering who had done this to us and we declined to say because an objective jury might not see it as an unprovoked attack. As is the case many times when boys fight that was the end of it and we laid off the implications of homosexuality and they laid off the savage beatings.  

Letters and Notes and Phone Calls

 In the days before text messaging and cellphone world domination the only way you could communicate was via land line and the written word. Written on paper, you know? With a pen or pencil. After I got a little more comfortable talking to Monica on the phone and got over my anxiety we actually hit it off pretty good but there was that problem of having to coordinate phone calls and leave messages with her mom or dad. She could have called and left me messages but I would have never known because my family is constitutionally incapable of answering the phone or taking messages. Sometimes I would give her a call and ask why she hadn't been in touch and she would claim to have called six times and never gotten through. Sounds plausible. In addition to our phone calls we also would employ that quaint 19th century convention, the letter. There is still, for me at least, no comparison in the level of excitement between reviving an actual paper letter hand delivered by the post-person. She would write all kinds of flirty things and send pictures which legitimized my long distance love interest in the eyes of my skeptical friends. What older trick is there in the nerd playbook then having a hot sexually insatiable girl friend who lives just beyond the verifiability of his, hopefully, deeply impressed friends? I had written documentation and photographic evidence to back my claims of a reasonably attractive girl who was interested in me. The best thing about having a other town love interest is that she didn't come up on the radar of my more parochial potential paramours. Displacement in either temporal and physical terms is essential to an effective war on two fronts. Girls tend to get a very narrow definition of love in their minds and assume that a young man can only feel genuine lust affection for one lady at a time. Sure that is probably true most of the time but if anything I was the exception that ruled the proof. I had seen the tragic consequences for boys less diligent in the separation of spheres and had taken great pains to ensure such a unfortunate fate and subsequent naming and shaming would not befall me.

A Little Love On Referral

 A comedian I like once asked rhetorically why you should worry about what women thought of you because how much loving do you get on referral anyway? I'll admit I did laugh but then it occurred to me that I had received referrals for new girlfriends from old girlfriends. I say girlfriend but what I mean was this girl who kissed me once, specifically first. She called me up out of boredom one day that summer and asked what I was up to I gave her a rundown and then she said she had a girlfriend who was interested in meeting me because she had, quite correctly, informed her about my good looks and amazing kissing skill. We had evidently had quite different experiences there with our foray into kissy-time. I had spent years humorously retelling the trauma of my first kiss. I was always on the lookout for new angles on the girl front so I agreed to work out a meet up after I had talked with her friend on a three way call. I drove over to my friends house and discovered that by some cruel turn of fate that knowing that a girl was in to me paralyzed my natural outgoing friendliness and made me a nervous wreck. I was quiet and reserved and weird my hands were sweaty and my mouth was dry which had not happened in a group of girls I was trying to impress since I was twelve. The night was a stilted and awkward mess that ended up fizzling out early when someone had to do something and I had to head home. Right as soon as I was away from the crippling effects of mutual attraction I started yelling at myself while I drove home, insulting myself for cowardice, and asking myself exactly what the hell was wrong with myself. As is the case with me many times I started thinking of what I should have said and done if my brain had not been locked up by social anxiety. I felt like I had blown my chance but the next day when I got back from climbing my brother gave me the message that 'Monucha' had called and wanted me to call her back. I assumed that Monucha was in fact Monica from the previous night and I had received my reprieve.   

Camping For The Last Time

 That summer I went camping with the scouts for the last time. With the new freedom of my car and my increased focus on the ladies I had all but lost interest in hanging out with a bunch of guys for a week doing arts and crafts. When we got to camp I was almost the oldest boy and I outlined that wee should get logs and build Ewocks like I had at camp the year before. Our leaders were not entirely excited by the idea of us hanging out and sleeping twelve feet off the ground but said we could if we would put up guard rails we could build them we promised, built them, and didn't. We spent much of the first day building our three platform sleeping area and then we turned our interest to trying to catch chipmunks. There were thousands of the little guys and we thought that it would be pretty fun to catch one and keep it in a box for a camp pet. You would not believe how crafty a career chipmunk can get when he lives full time by a camp for boy scouts. We tried all kinds of baits, traps and skills but the chipmunk was much quicker and smarter. When after a few hours we realized we were ot cut out for the capture of the mighty chipmunk we decided to play a little steal the flag. Steal the flag in the wood and in the dark is not a good idea because you cannot see, you don't know who is on your team and there is a lot of sticks, which are pointy. About ten minutes into our game several people had been hurt but we played on until two guys from my team both ran for the flag at the same time and crashed heads. One guy bit his lip all but off and the other lost a couple of teeth. They made it back to camp after the game was quickly called off. When the leaders saw the extent of the damage they decided that a trip to the emergency room that was an hour away was what was needed and they headed off. They didn't come back that night because the one kid's, the toothless one's, parents came and got him and the other guy was getting his lip sewn back on until four in the morning. When they came back the next day his lip looked like a mangled worm sewn to his face. It was a pretty good first twenty-four all in all but the second day is when we really started to get crazy.  

A Rock Climbing Competition

 I had been climbing for just over a year and was doing the best among my friends so I decided to try my skill in a proctored environment for prizes and glory. Some friends and I were having a little trouble sticking together the 15 dollar entry so I tried begging. We went to a few friends and girlfriends houses and asked for sponsorship and by the end of the night we had more then enough to cover the entry and the gas and food money we may need to get 20 miles north. I was very nervous on the day of the competition and had some bad poops in the run up. We arrived and were given our score cards and had the rules explained to us and we were free to pick the climbs and the rates at which we participated with the scores to be tallied at the end. I was in the beginners division and quickly climbed the routes designated for that group but so did the rest of my cohort. We moved onto the intermediate and then to advanced with decreasing success. At the end of the hour I new I had the highest score among my friends but I had no idea about the other roustabouts and hooligans in the place. They started off with third place for beginners and It wasn't me and then second was my friend Jordan and that meant that I had won first bu then they called out some other dude's name. I was mad and confused but still essentially a non-confrontational passive aggressive. I had made a plan to go up and complain with my score card in hand but I had to wait for the intermediate and advanced to be called. I was so agitated that I didn't notice that they had called my name for first place in intermediate. My friends were yelling at me to go up and that is when the judges told me that I had scored high enough to win the intermediate division where the prize was a climbing rope and not a 15$ gift certificate to a coffee spot. That seemed to me a lot more fair then cutting me our of the beginner standings on a misunderstanding and graciously accepted a free rope. I felt amazing and was convinced I would go onto greater and greater climbing achievements but that was about it after competing many more times I never placed first again. Now I am a fat washed-up has-been who hasn't climbed seriously in years and never mention it in conversation

Rock Climbing For Impressing The Ladies

 When I would take girls out rock climbing I invariably took them one of three places. The third choice was a little spot full of easy climbs in a canyon twenty miles to the north. The advantage there was that it gave me the air of vast knowledge of the all around. The disadvantage was that it was twenty miles away and all of the climbs were too easy so they could climb the same stuff I could so there was little room for showboating. The second place was a relatively easy climb by the name of 'Sportzanager' which flanked by some moderately more difficult climbs that I could show off on. This was a pretty good spot but someone broke off some of the easy starting holds and many young ladies quit before they got to the easy bits just a little higher up. The first choice climb was a set of three right off the right hand side of the road. The climbs started out very easy near the ground and were too hard for beginners after the first twenty feet. That way a novice could have the illusion of success for a bit and then get to the hard part and fail. That is when I would swing into action and powerfully climb to the top and hopefully impress the ladies, rawr. My friends and I had climbed the three routes there so much that I had the sequences down to muscle memory so I could sprint up to the top where it turned into almost impassable slab and when no one could see I would generally cheat the last move to the top and then come down the victorious and brave. It worked sometimes and sometimes the girls would just be frustrated that I took them to a climb that only I could do. When the plan worked to plan though it ended up with some oohs and ahhs and some muscle admiration.

Hanging Out With the Cool Kids and Making Jokes

 What we did end up doing that night was hanging out with the cool kids. My cousin was in the in crowd and I had always been on the outside imagining that the beautiful children of the beautiful people having amazing adventures while excluding me and the other roustabouts. I popped on my best looking clothes and prepared for a night in the hidden enclaves of the local high school royalty. It turned out to look an awful lot like a seedy bowling ally and arcade. I was not that excited about bowling or playing pool with strangers. Therefore I went and played some nice video games, actually video game – Gauntlet. The finest use of a quarter there at the time because there was no front scrolling plane/spaceship shooting baddies and trying to grab power-ups type game which to be honest was my preference. After our game room passing of time we adjourned to one of the kid's massive and parent-less house. I had figured out that I had no chance of impressing these kids and the girls were beyond not interested in me so I just loosened up and decided to have some fun amusing myself – not masturbation. I started joking about how really manly men would not participate in the silly games the girls were wanting to play and that real manly men would sit around with their pants of in their underwear playing video games while they farted and ate chips. I started miming and and joking with a broad and bawdy humor that I knew would amuse the boys and further alienate the already out of reach girls. The only shred of civility and restraint I ever showed in my humor was when I thought there was a chance that my best behavior might land me in the lap of a willing lady that check on my behavior gone I was free to two fist my assault on their upper middle class sensibilities. I got the boys rolling and when the girls tried to regain the room I just mocked them more with very funny exaggerations of their prudish motherly disapproval of my jokes.
'What you are saying is soooo inappropriate.'
'You are soooo immature.'
'That is not funny that is just lame.'
It was always my favorite part of any kind of exchange when a novice at smartassery tried to wade in to battle on my terms. I had spent my life with a facial scar and half the size of everyone else my only weapon was my smart ass. There was one young lady there that thought she had the skill to hang in with a little verbal sparring and it just made for amazing setups for jokes that were killing in the 15-17 year-old boy demographic. We were, the boys, laughing ourselves hoarse and causing abdominal strains by the time she abandoned ship and took the rest of the girls with her and went home. That was fine because then the boys got to sit around and fart and play video games, not in our underwear. I was not invited back.     

Staying With The Cousins and Trying to Get a Girl

 I was going to stay at what I thought were my rich cousins house while my parents went to Tahiti for 10 days to scuba dive. I somehow got the idea that they were rich because they had cool clothes and they used Tide detergent which I thought smelled amazing. The real kicker though was that they lived in a condominium and who but the super rich could afford that? I didn't put together that a ten day trip to Tahiti meant that my dad at least had money he was just not spending it on cool clothes for me or Tide. So with my stinky five gallon bucket washed clothes culled form discount and thrift stores I went to hang out with my cool cousins. They were always really cool to hang out with except for the fact that the two boy cousins were amazing athletes and we were not encouraged to participate so in all kinds of games of strength and skill they would out class us in skill. The second problem with their sports skill is that they were in high demand for club and best of state teams which meant half of the time, no matter when in the year we were staying over, they were at practice and games. Which meant I watched a lot of baseball and football when I visited. This trip my older cousin was playing on some all state team and the game was right across the street from a swimming pool with a slide and everything. After the game his mom, also my cousin, had us all head over for a dip which in my opinion was exactly completely better then watching the hit-ball-with-stick game unfold very slowly. We popped over and got to do something I was better then them at. I had been swimming for a long time and did it plenty so I was right at home but more importantly to me was that there were lots of cute girls dressing in their almost nakies. I started flirting with one girl which was making my athletic and much better looking cousin very uncomfortable. He kept asking why I was talking to some girl I didn't even know. I told him that was the point, I didn't know her but she was cute and I wanted to get to know her. He said I was weird and her went off with my little brother and his little brother while I continued to ply my trade. When we had to go my cousin was in a big hurry to get up and out but I hadn't gotten a phone number or anything so as we were walking out I ran back and waved the girl over to the side and asked her number she gave it to me and told me to call her later so we could hang out. We got back and my cousins tried to tease me about hitting on cute girls but I honestly was not embarrassed so much as nonplussed. I gave it two hours and then gave her a call she answered and was suddenly shy when she had been so flirtatious before. I asked if she still wanted to go out and she started hemming and hawing back and forth until she said she had to go and we never made a plan. My cousin was relived that we were not going to have to go out with people we didn't know, I was sad.  

Boyfriend-In-Law is Leaving and We Are Going to Make it in Time

 My sister's long-term boyfriend, you know? The cool one. Was going off for the summer to do something unspeakably cool. He and his friends were riding a bus up to Montana to work as loggers or firefighters or something else terribly manly for the summer and then when they were done they were going to ride their mountain bikes all the way home. Awesome right? My sister had been with him the night before but he was leaving from a town twenty miles to the north early in the morning and she got the bug to tell him goodbye at the bus stop. She asked me to come with her and I thought that would be a fun thing to do at 6 in the morning on a Saturday. The crux of the problem was that he was going to leave in 10 minutes and we were twenty miles to the South. Simple math will tell you we were going to need to haul 'A' haul some serious 'A' indeed. We hopped in the car like Bruce Wayne and his probably not pedophilic love interest, his young ward Dick Grayson on their way to stop a crime that only properly pajama-ed crime fighters could stop. We started going the required 120 miles per hour required by the laws of physics to get us to the point on time. I had never ridden in a car going at this stupid rate of speed and I was not really enjoying it. At 120 every bump and jostle is an adventure in existential terror. Thankfully, just over halfway,  the long arm of the law stopped to ask us just what exactly the hell we were up to going twice the speed limit. My sister started crying half because she was in deep trouble for he speeding transgression and half because the love of her life was just about to get on a bus and she was going to miss the last chance for a good-bye. This next part is sexism at its ugliest point. When the officer saw she was so sad and when he heard her excuse her let her off with a warning after telling her that if he did give her the ticket she would loose her license until she was an adult. I can only assume if I was crying about missing a rendezvous with my boyfriend as my excuse for speeding I would have been treated to a little stick-time and some extra thorough application of the law. She died her eyes and drove within the constraints of the law for the next six miles and still we made it to the bus stop and her boyfriend before he was off for good. It turned out she would only be without him for three weeks but that is a story for another day.  

I Stack Up My Debt to Society Too Quickly

 I was too ashamed of the actual reason that I was doing community service to tell the nice lady at the library why I needed to do some work for six hours and then have her sign me a note. I told her it was for a scout project and that I wanted to help out. The library had moved from the old city building on main street up to an abandoned wing of what we called the 'old school' . I was a building that had been deemed too dangerous for the kiddies so they put the library and the old folks in there instead. The library had just been put in boxes waiting to have the 12 years of neglect cleaned out of the old building and then to be re-shelved. I was going to serve my dad mandated duty on a day when the part time librarian was stacking the books onto the shelves of the old school library. She lined me out with some apple boxes full of books that probably had never been read in the old library and would probably go unread in this one and told me to stack them in alphabetical order. As with any task I undertake I am commuted to doing it as fast and as efficiently as possible as a matter of personality defect, perhaps it is my German heritage. I started systematically laying out the shelves with letters and then placing the books in each as quickly as I could. I had made the classic amateur librarian mistake of giving each letter a shelf when there are very few books that start with 'Q' and 'Z'. After a few systemic shifts I was really tearing through the books at a tremendous rate, I was trying to stack a box every ten minutes and I was getting really close. Our part time librarian was getting a little nervous that my pace to too rapid to be properly sorting the books so she told me to stop for a bit while she checked to make sure I was not just slopping them up. I was offended. I had a system and I was wicked good at putting books where they went. She scrutinized for a long couple of minutes and could find no defect in my work but admonished me to go slow, be careful and do it right. I was so irritated that she would tell me to slow down when I was doing it right at warp speed that I did no more meaningful work for the rest of the day until my six hours was up. She gave me a signed note skeptically and I was off to buy my freedom with a scrap of paper from a lady who preferred slow correct work to fast.   

Community Service Sentence

 I don't know if my parents had been reading some new age parenting book or if they had just suffered some head trauma but the next day when they were going to decide on my punishment for my intention to [possibly vandalize they said that they were going to wait until the end of the day when the whole family could get together and we would have a family council. Family councils in our house only went one way, we would all throw out ideas, my dad would tell us why they were all stupid or were not going to be acceptable and then we would go with his plan he had in mind before we started. This is how we choose to get a cow;
Family: 7 Against:
Dad: 1 For
Result: Got the cow
And how we choose where to go on vacation;
Family:The beach, Disney Land, Sea World, Lake Powell
Dad:Fish Lake
Result: Fish lake
He would always start out pretending that he was honestly seeking our opinions and then get really frustrated about 30 minutes in that we didn't pick his idea, start yelling and tell us what we had chosen as a group. After a few times dancing this parsimonious pas de duex my brother and I would just start out mocking him and asking what we were going to decide on as a family in the end so we could save the time and dignity of this farce. That would make him extra mad and he would skip to the part where he just told us what we were going to do faster. That, constant reader, is what we call a win-win in the business world. In this disciplinary council family meeting, the first of its kind and maybe the last if I remember right, my mom and dad explained what I had been up to; sneaking out and thinking about toilet papering. Then they asked what my punishment should be, the suggestions ranged from grounding to extra chores but when the peanut gallery had had its turn at sham democracy my dad said that because I was trying to destroy the community, (c'mon dad, destroy?) I should have to do community service as punishment. He said I had to get documentation that I had done 6 hours of community service signed by an adult before I could go play, drive the car or have any extra privileges. I have seen starlets get less for drunk driving.  

Toilet Papering and Getting a Spanking

 I have never gotten off on vandalism with the exception of some well rendered pieces by accomplished street artists. I mean Banksy. I personally was never a spray painter, except of livestock which I will cover later. I didn't break glass and I was much more likely to want to clean something up than to litter. A few nights in my teen years there would be some toilet papering going on and for the sake of the companionship I would go along for the harmless fun. One night my sister and her friends were going to go out but for some reason she was unable to go but they still invited me along for the fun. It wasn't. It was too cold and the wind was blowing and I was regretting ever sneaking out to participate in such joyless foofaraw. I called it a night after an hour or so and made my way all by my lonesome back across town to go home to my warm bed and some relaxation. I was walking back up our driveway when I was startled by my lurking mother who was tipped off to my absence and was waiting in the dark to catch me red handed. It was a funny thing about my mother. She wouldn't know where I was all day, all afternoon, and I could go out at night til 11 and 12 sometimes and she wouldn't even ask where I was but when it piqued her interest she would all of notion get really interested in my activities and decide it was time for some regulation and discipline. This was usually very short lived and I would just play along until she lost interest and then go back to the status quo. This night though she was going to work out a little swift justice like Clint Eastwood in the High Plains Drifter and whip me for my sins. I do not know where she got the idea because I had not been whipped in probably six years and that had been by my dad for trying to kill my brother in a vicious melee. Which punishment she had protested as barbaric. This night something snapped and she had a belt in hand waiting for me to come home. She grabbed and startled me and almost got herself punched for her troubles but when I realized it was my mom creeping in the dark I un-cocked my, honestly not very, deadly punch maker. She asked me in a riled up and wavering voice if I had fun destroyign the town. I told her honestly no that we had not even gone toilet papering and that I was just cold and miserable and I wanted to go inside. She told me it was tiem for a belt spanking to teach me a lesson and to keep my wailing from waking up the other children or the neighbors she was going to spank me in the unmounted cab-over camper. I humored her even though it would have taken exactly no effort to refuse and overpower my mom. She followed me into the narrow confines of the camper, a space honestly ill suited for arm swinging activity of any sort let alone to generate the force necessary to give a strapping young man a punitive belt beating. She told me that what I had been up to was unacceptable and that she was sorry but I had to be taught a lesson. She tried to give me some whacks with the belt but there was no angle, speed, or snap to it and it was really hard for me not to laugh at her. I did laugh at her and the made her really mad she was sputtering with rage while she tried to generate pain for my punishment. It just kept getting funnier as she hit the walls and fold out table with more sauce then she could muster for my bottom and she finally quit, storming off, saying that I was going to get some really big trouble in the morning when my dad was up. I did get some rather of odd trouble. Not bad trouble but definitely odd.  

Mom Blows Up The Van and I Have To Save Us From Murder

My mom is not a friend to the motor vehicle and she tried for years to out duel our
various modes of transportation in mortal combat. Given a year or two she
would invariably grind her mechanical nemesis into submission or send it right home to
Jesus and all the pretty angels. By this time in my life she had wrecked into a tow truck
rolled another truck and had blown engines and transmissions with reckless abandon.
Fender benders? Like most women indulge in chocolate. On this trip we had gone south a few
hundred miles to visit some of my dad's family and he had stayed home. On the trip back we
were all sleeping in the back and on the benches when arose such a clatter that we all
awoke to see why we were suddenly choking on noxious fumes. The reason was because
the engine had blown up as a result of driving up a very steep hill in the red part of the
tach-o-meter because we were in a hurry to get home before my mom succumbed to her
other weakness, napping while driving. A classic rock and a hard place to choose your own poison situation. We all scrambled out and away from the smoking van in case it was going to exploded more. We were still in the time before cell phone ubiquity and when the smoke had quite literally cleared my mom started to try and flag someone down. We were thirty miles from any town so even after she got a ride it was going to take hours to save us and she left the other children in my charge for all manner of roadside horrors to befall us. It was a new moon and very dark and lonely on the deserted road and my imagination started to run through all of my ethical and moral obligations in the event of a encounter with a drug crazed serial killing Nazi psychopath. I determined that my personal obligation unfortunately included defending my siblings even at the cost of my own life. Diddly-darn-dangit. Therefore, I spent the balance of the time regretting my fate and hoping no one, no evil-doer at least would stop and see that I was the only line of defense between them and rape and murder. . .or worse. Somehow, we didn't die that night on a dark stretch of I-15 by no fault of my mother who took five hours to organize a rescue. When the cavalry arrived my fear disappeared and I felt grownup and deputized into quasi adulthood. Maybe that is when I discovered the terror of stewardship.

Noah and Kyle Can Fly and Die

 That same summer Jordan's older brother Kyle got into climbing as well. Kyle is not a regular guy even his uniqueness is unique. What I mean is most of the time rebellion or deviance is framed in the context of the society as a protest to the mainstream and its values. Kyle just did, and just does his own thing with in his own way apropos to nothing. One day that summer after we had been climbing on a lower face Jordan and I decided to ride up to what was called the rappelling wall, because it was good and tall and strait, perfect for rappelling. Rock climbing had basically ruined the thrill of rappelling for us and now it just seemed like a lot of walking for very little excitement. So we were just going up to see what Kyle and his friend Noah were up to. What they were up to was the most crazy pastime I had ever seen in my life. They had run a three or four hundred foot rope to the top of the cliff through a carabiner and back down to the back bumper of some sort of micro-sub-compact car. Then they were taking turns putting on a climbing harness and tying into the loose end of the rope and then flying up to the top when the car pulled away. I am a naturally anxious person and right when I saw what they were getting up to I was sick with nerves. All I could imagine was the driver going too far and ripping the flier into the top of the cliff and breaking the rope off the carabiner and the flier come plummeting down to the ground. That I did not want to see no matter how cool a successful run looked. I made up and excuse about why I had to be somewhere else right lickety-split and I left Jordan with his brother and friend and their super-danger machinations. I don't know how the whole thing played out except for they were all alive and well the next day so maybe they didn't die.  

Hard Climbing Grabassery

 Besides being a good hand to have in the field Jordan was always down for some after work rock climbing which meant I always had a belay. If you are unfamiliar with sport rock climbing a belay is when a helper in the ground holds the end of the loose end of the rope and takes up and dishes out slack as it is needed to keep the lead climber from hitting the ground if he falls. That means that the belay has to pay really good attention the whole time and be good at their job or they could kill the guy on lead. So back to the climbing. I liked climbing for the challenge and for the exercise and the outdoorsy part but the real reason I liked rock climbing is that it made me sound cool and dangerous to the ladies. To that end whenever possible I would try to bring a lady or two along to see me climb and hopefully be impressed by my cavalier disregard for my personal safety. One day I made a tactical error though and on the way home from work Jordan and I picked up a girl that liked him instead of me. That had nothing to do with the sour grapes, it did have something to do with that. The main thing though was when we went climbing I had been working on my first 5.12 climb which was very hard for me and had been the location of more then a few falls in my quest to climb the old girl. TO that end I needed Jordan's undeviating attention on me and the climb and it was instead on his love interest and her flirty flirtations. When I was heading up I told him to watch me closely as I was about to try a difficult spot but when I went to make my move he was engaged in a little light grabassery with his lady friend and as I went to make my move instead of giving me slack he pulled me off of the rock causing me to fall about thirty feet and right into a rage. I had fallen to within about 15 feet of the ground from about 45 feet up and I was screaming at him to let me down so I could administer a little punitive beating on his almost killing me's butt. He, for some reason, declined to give me the slack necessary to allow me the desire of my screeching heart. He told me I needed to calm down before he would let me down. The girl was just really scared that I had fallen so far and the fact that I obviously wanted to kill her man because of something she had done. Like I have mentioned before I am not good at staying mad and after the enraging chemicals had a moment to metabolize to levels that my still forming frontal lobe could keep in check I calmly ask Jordan to lower me to the ledge where I could hold on again which he did and I resumed climbing up the route. I don't know exactly why but I was able to climb the whole route from then on without stopping and notch my first 5.12. So maybe his distracting flirtations were a blessing in disguise.  

Polyester Pete and That Girl is Too Young

 The summer that Jordan and I worked together we worked on retrofitting a home that time forgot from a much groovy-er era. The house was finished in 1968 and had remained frozen in time. The carpets were luxuriant and perfectly coiffed shag. The kitchen was bright yellow, all of it. The linoleum, the counter tops, the cupboards and appliances were a painful yellow that made one question the sanity of monochromatic styling when risking daily seizures. The roof was popcorn-ed and the walls were papered. The owner was a chiropractor who was also a relic from 25 years before his clothes were in perfect condition and dated. The collars were huge and he had brightly colored polyester pants that had faced to make him look like a real life technicolor time traveler. His slang was even strangely dated he would refer to us as 'cats' as in, 'How are you cats doing this morning'. We thought it was hilarious and would play along with the temporally displaced vernacular and call him 'daddy-o' and tell him that we can 'dig' and just other silly phrases that he never thought were weird but we thought were brilliantly funny on our part. We nicknamed him Polyester Pete even though his name was not Pete, strictly for the alliteration. Crazy sixties fashions notwithstanding the best part about Pete's house was his amazingly hot daughter. She was incredibly and painfully cute so we spent a good amount of time trying to creep a chance to talk to her. She was playing hard to get in that really devious manner of the femme fatale which employs the 'completely ignore' technique. She not only ignored us, but it was not the deliberate and contrived ignoring that a shy, but interested, girl might employ while stealing glances when she thought she was undetected. No, her type of ignoring was the type one might employ when considering a hat rack or a bookcase. As clever as it was crafty. We were talking about her and thinking of ways to talk to her in a natural way when we got to the part of the job where we were putting a duct into her bedroom. We thought this would be a great opportunity to break the ice so when we told her we needed to work in her room for a couple of hours she said, 'fine'; gathered her stuff and left. The flirty minx. While we were in her room Jordan was cutting to hole for the vent I was snooping around the stuff on her desk and happened to notice that most of the trophies and papers seemed to be focused on her accomplishments in middle school. I was confused because this girl looked our age not 12. I saw a paper that actually listed her birthday and she was in fact just barely twelve and four years is along way from 12 to sixteen, a very long way indeed. As soon as I found out how young the girl we had been creeping on was I started making fun of Jordan for being a pedophile but he wouldn't believe she was only twelve until I pointed out the school paper on her desk that proved the shocking news. For the next couple of weeks we would tease each other about being dirty perverts. We did not try and engage the young lady in conversation after that.  

The Elk Truck Has One Tape

 Like I mentioned earlier I drove the Elk Truck for work and pleasure but ti had some major flaws in its entertainment system, no radio. It had a broken receiver that would play tapes, or more specifically – tape. It did play tapes but sometime in the early summer I had inserted the Opiate album by tool and the ejection mechanism failed and left that tape as the only respite from the sound of my own thoughts and the multiple mechanical rattles that old truck had going on for my listening displeasure. Opiate was a competent album in the hard driving post-glam/hair rock of the early nineties and the angst-y themes appealed to my teenage sense of non-threatening vanilla rebellion. Also there were swears, which was naughty and awesome. The problem with the album was that it was really short, something like thirty minutes which meant a drive to anywhere would get you through the album and back again many times. Here is the best cut off the album: Warning – Contains the F-word as a modifier to “Bob Marley Wannabe Mother” so if you don't want to hear something like that then don't listen.

When I had listened for about four times through I would be done for the day and I would just sing songs that I knew, or ones that I thought that I knew close enough to reproduce the gist of. Jordan did not like me singing the lyrics badly and wrong to many of our shared favorite songs and after a few songs he would ask for a little more Tool. Many times the truck's lack of air conditioning and my loud and demonstrative singing would combine for a windows down a cappella concert for other drivers and pedestrians. Which at least once included my cousin and her family who thought it was really funny and they honked to try and get my attention but I was too enraptured by the sound of my own singing of some radical song as loud as I could to listen to some star stuck fans cheer for me.

Jordan Works for Me

 That summer between my sophomore and junior year I worked with my dad and my friend Jordan was looking for a job so he was also working with my dad and I. We rode to jobs in a truck with a crudely drawn picture of an elk on the door which we called the Elk Truck. You know? Because of the picture of the Elk. Our typical say would start with me going to pick up Jordan at his house across town in the truck that had no radio, heater or air conditioner. I would get to his house and he would not be ready or even be out of bed most days. I would have to roust him out and then wait for him to get dressed and then diddle-doodle around getting breakfast. When we finally hit the road thirty to forty-five minutes later I was stressed because we were late and my dad was going to yell at me. In these pre-cellphone days everyone had to make a plan and stick to it or else all was lost. A miss communication could cost us a days work as we would never be at the right place at the right time. So when I spent the morning trying to get Jordan to wok my dad would be at the job fidgeting himself to a ever increasing level of frustration rage. When we got there my dad would yell at me, not Jordan, about being late. I would apologize and explain that I was ready on time but I had to spend an hour or so getting the help on board. He would just keep complaining and fussing about our lost time. We would work on through the day and then head home and go rock climbing up the canyon by Jordan's house. Then the next morning I would go and try to get Jordan back out of bed. Wash, rinse and repeat – all summer long.   

Sum-Sum-Summer Time

 With a license it was not quite the uninhibited freedom that I imagined. It was much better. I did have to pay for gas which in the middle 90's was as cheep as free. It was still right at a dollar and I made six of those every hour. I worked for my dad all summer which was some long hours some days but really good money and I got two days off a week and never worked Sundays. So I could go rock climbing every day after work and all day on my days off. After rock climbing I would go and shower up and then head off on a date or to a shindig of some type or another type of soiree. I was not actually invited to many parties so it was mainly dates and hanging out with the boys. I was not invited to hang out with the boys to much so once again it was mainly dates. I liked dates best of all so it worked out all around. I dated local girls and girls from other towns and girls that I got on referral from other girls. I was a lead working maniac when it came to the barest chance of getting a little kissy-facing going on. It was the best of times because I was not yet expected to be making life plans about college and career and I was as free as I could be within the restraints of the rule of law, of course.    

My License is Awesome

 It is indeed a special time in a young man's life when he gets a little freedom and a license to operate a motor vehicle to prove his maturity. I wanted to go out and get my license the day I passed my test but my mom said no. One more day, that won't kill me, allegedly. The next day started early for me and I was introduced to what is known in the business as 'government hours'. 9 am start? Yeah okay if there was a funeral. No funeral? You lazy slobs no wonder this country is in debt. I went to the DOT and waited in virtual line with a ticket with a number that seemed really high for so early in the day. I waited 45 minutes and then took my vision test sign all the things that needed signing and handed over my fee. Got the picture and then found out that they didn't give you the license right then. Not even in a few hours. They told me it was going to be three to six weeks because they evidently needed to mine the plastic ore from the deepest bowels of the mountain and smelt it into a magical plastic document. They did however hand me a temporary that gave me the privilege to drive my mom home, legally for the first time. My mom graciously allowed me to borrow the car to drive around to all both of my friends house's to show off my new ability. They were both older than me and not impressed that I could drive. My friend Cole had been driving for almost 8 months and a driving license was underwhelming. I was still really excited and called a girl up and asked her out on a date for that very night and thought I might get a little smoochy face to cap off the most perfect day of my life. She decided that was not the plan and there were no dice on that, but still an awesome day.  

Driving Test Can Be Failed

 We had a friend that when he took his drivers test failed because he ran a stop sign. Being good friends we never brought it up or mocked him about that, except for constantly. He retook and passed but it left a little bit of terror in my own mind about failing my test after missing my test and then having to reschedule ad be mocked to boot. When it was my turn to go driving the instructor told me that he knew I was a really good driver already and that we would just go for a ride up the canyon then to a little big city nearby and then home and he would call it good. We drove up and then down a canyon near the high school for the first two hours of the required four hours and then headed up to the biggest city for miles. We drove around town and then I had to park which went fine. I was twenty minutes from finishing my test and going to get my driver's license that very day so started to daydream about what I would do that night to show off my new power and privilege. We were on a wooded side street that had no traffic so I really let my mind wander and my drivers ed teacher started saying 'stop sign' over and over which I heard but didn't register. He said it maybe five times and then hit his own back-up brakes to stop us in time. When I felt the front of the car sag downward with the force of the breaking I snapped out of my daze and woke up to a terrible realization - I had not run the stop sign but would have it he had not saved me. I was terrified that right then and there he was going to fail me and this would all have been for naught. But all he said was, 'You have to pay more attention, lets go home.' He was filling out paperwork on the drive back home and when we got there he handed me the finished certificate of completion. I never teased anyone about failing a test again because but for the grace of coach-drivers-ed go there I.  

Driving Test Missed Because Mom Forgot

 Range and paper test complete all I had to do was wait for my turn on the ride along car for a road test. I was signed up to take my test about three weeks before my birthday so when I was finished I just had to wait the time and then get my license on my birthday. The plan was sound, even brilliant. I made the mistake of many a plan-trustee and trusted in the plan. The day I was going to get my driving test at 5pm I figured that I could go rock climbing with some friends of mine and my mom would have plenty of time to come and get me and all would be well. I was nervous that my mom, a notorious forgetter of important things would play true to her nature and forget me so I drilled he on the fact that I would be rock climbing in Rock canyon and that she would come and pick me and my friends up at three and take me to my test. I told her at least a dozen times and then wrote the note on the white board that was near our front door. Then I asked her again where I would be and when. She was throwing me off the trail nicely by answering correctly every time and where I was getting lulled was into a sense of security, and not a true one, constant reader, not a true one. My friend's mom drove us up to the canyon that was twenty miles away and we were having a great time climbing and as three of the clock arrived I was in the parking lot looking down the road looking for my mom's car it was not that one, or that one but surely it would be the next. Anyone who has ever been stood up knows the process of denial and then realization and then pure furious rage. At four I knew that there was little chance that she had remembered and a smaller chance that I would get to my test on time. The meant that I was going to be bumped to the end of the list and not get my license for a month after my birthday instead of the day of. By 4:30 I was desperate because now she had not only forgotten me but the two friends with me who were now without rides home. There was a kid who lived nearby who was a friend of Rob's so I decided to walk the two miles to his house and use the phone and yell at my mom. We got there a little after five and he let us use the phone but my mom didn't answer, which at my house in no wise indicated that no one was home. Actually, it was probably more likely someone was home and ignoring the phone then no one was around. The psudo-brother's friend's mom saw my obvious distress and offered to drive may friends and I home and I accepted. When I got home at six my mom was nowhere to be found. I was absolutely seething with hate and rage when I decided to go to the root cellar for a jar of calming home canned peaches, When I was coming back to the house my mom pulled up, got out of the car and asked where I had been. That is when I lost it completely. I told her I had been f-wording climbing in Rock Canyon when I had told her twenty times I would be and that she had not picked me or my friends up and I had missed my driving test and had been bumped. She looked confused and said she didn't know that I was going to be in Rock Canyon so she had gone up Santaquin Canyon and didn't see me so she went shopping instead. I screamed at her that is why I had F-wording wrote it on the F-wording white board and then for emphasis I chucked the glass bottle of peaches into the wall of the house shattering glass and peaches everywhere. I went to my room for a little Pearl Jam therapy when my mom came to apologize. I am not a grudge keeper and I was already feeling bad for yelling at her. It was obvious she had been crying and that made me feel even worse. She told me she had just misread rock climbing in Rock Canyon as rock climbing, rock climbing. I forgave her and didn't point out that her reading made no sense and that I had told her verbally many times. I had to talk to the drivers ed teacher later that night when he got home and he sassed me about missing my driving test and told me I should have made sure I had a ride. Yeah, noted, thank-you a-hole. He told me I could drive two weeks after my birthday and that was better then I thought so I was not quite so mad or so sad anymore.  

There is a Faulty Question on Your Test

 After the driving course test we had to take a fifty question multiple choice law and safety test before we could take our road practice and test. I am always nervous about test so I over prepare a little bit just to make extra sure. We had to go to the cafeteria in the early morning and I finished the test in about 10 minutes because it was a lot easier then I had feared. I Was expecting some obscure transportation law errata. It was actually more focused on practical driving situations and stern leading questions about drinking and driving. I took my test up to get checked and the instructor congratulated me on getting the best score - a 98%. What the exact heck are you talking about 98%? What did I miss? He told me not to worry about it because I only needed 70% to pass. I kept pushing and he finally relented and let me check. I had missed a question about the minimum distance to park from a fire hydrant. I looked at the answers and then looked in the book convinced that if there was an error it was theirs not mine. It turned out that the conspiracy was deep, real deep. The dang hand book was in on it with the test in their little collusion to prevent me from getting a perfect score with my right, albeit admittedly not demonstrably so, answer. I gave in to the reality that I had missed a question and was a big enough man to admit that I had been wrong mistaken.  

Learning to Drive Early In The Morn'

 Back to my sophomore year. I was young for my grade and I was not going to turn 16 until the end of the year but I was able to start drivers education a few months before my birthday. Drivers education consisted of a class every morning from 6 to 7 for six weeks and then half way through we started driving out on the practice range. My class was taught by the Japanese teacher who was also the coach of golf I think but either way he had a niche in the regular day time school and had a couple of kids who he would hit it off with and the rest of us could piss off for all he cared. I was up every morning at 5 getting pretty for my day at school then I would have my mom drive me to class where I would learn less in a hour than I could have read in 15 minutes and then I had to go to regular school and then go for a hour of circle driving practice after school. It was awesome. The thrill of operating a motor vehicle made up for every single drop of tedium I had to endure. The practice lot had drills for going front-ways and stopping, it had ones for going backwards in a figure 8, going backwards in a 't' shape. We practiced parallel parking, diagonal parking and going in circles slowly. By the end of of practice I was going crazy with boredom and had mastered the skills to pass the test way before the troglodyte that was my alphabetically assigned in car partner had. He was a meat-head jock who was a little on the dim side with a arm slightly twisted by a birth defect which made any turns with a turn to the left extra tricky for him. I would have sympathized with him if he was less of a jerk but he was so arrogant and rude I decided to take the advice of those great philosophers the Beatles and live and let die. Until him dying was dragging me down. On the final day of range driving we had to all go through and prove our competency on each drill and I was absolutely cruising the field but my halfwit sidekick was doing them all wrong and I couldn't leave until he passed his test. So when the coach who watched the field from the booth thirty feet overhead called over the radios for a driver switch I told my slow-clip Robin to hold tight and I would drive his backing drills for him so we could get out of there. The coach was impressed by my partners new found skill in driving backwards. He passed and we got to leave second to last at the very low cost of a lifetime of public and personal property risk for anyone who was unfortunate enough to be around that cheater when he backed up a vehicle.  

I Bring Water Bugs and my Mom is Embarrassed

I will never be ashamed of you.

I was invited to that whole wheat cookies neighbor's house for a birthday party for the kid a year younger than me. I had just caught a whole lot of animals from the local irrigation pond so I was going to gift him a mason jar full of them because it was the coolest thing I could think to give a ten year old. It was pretty awesome, like a boat-man bug slash tadpole bouquet. It was a hit at the party and everyone wanted to look at them and hold the jar and I was feeling like the king of the neighborhood until I went home and my mom asked me what I had given the kid for his birthday because she had forgotten about the party and never bought a present. I told her I had given him a jar full of tadpoles and boatmen and that he had loved it. She was mortified that I had given a gift like that and she headed right out to get him a real legitimate non-shameful to her gift. She bought him a model of a car to build and ran it right over while I went to my room and had a cry. When she came home she told me that the neighbor kid's mom was surprised that she had brought him a gift because the jar of pond life had been his favorite present and had inspired an expedition to go explore which is where he was when my mom went to save face. I was so heartbroken that my mom had been ashamed of my gift that I didn't want to listen to her apology. I learned my lesson though and I have always given the gift I think the person would really appreciate and not something off the assembly line.  
I already gave him a model mom, of metamorphic perfection.

The Whole Wheat Cookie is a Bad Idea

 I keep remembering out of order stories that I will have to put back in order when I get the chance but I have to get them down or I will forget them again. Almost the whole time I lived in Santaquin we had some neighbors who had lots of kids. Lots and lots of kids. They had a daughter a little older than me And a son a little younger and then ten more from there to the ground. So twelve in total, maybe thirteen because they may have had more kids once I moved away. Their house was not large and they were not people of means so it was a really tight ship over there. They had a odd whole foods fascination long before it had become the fad and their mom made everything with lots of vegetable inclusions and everything was made of whole wheat. Long before Jerry Sienfield's wife was trying to convince mom's to smuggle nutrition into their kid's diets this lady was making zucchini shred whole wheat cookies and trying to pass them off as treats. No ma’am, that abomination is not a treat. If you consider that the thrust of western civilization was to provide cheap access to white flour and Angry Bird apps she was, with her nasty pseudo-cookies, slapping everyone from Galileo to Paula Dean in the face -metaphorically. I was over at their house once playing cars, which consisted of taking matchbox cars and smashing them into each other as hard as you could to see whose would flip, great game by the way, when cookies were announced. In my tragic naivete thought that that meant delicious cookies not horrible squash and bread dough lumps and I lead the charge up the stair to see what was in store for me. I gave the odd looking thing the benefit of the doubt because it was a cookie and I was burned. Adults lying about confections if one of the reasons I struggle with liking people. I tried to eat it but the nasty glob would not obey my commands and just be chewed and swallowed. After a fruits but valiant effort I tried to swallow and gagged the mess back into my hand and the lady of the house was incensed and her brainwashed kids were confused at why I retched up a perfectly good 'cookie'. I was throw out and told to go home. I was glad to, I have no need for nasty false cookies and no need for a lady who thinks whole wheat is good food.

Spaz Uno and Lunchtime Follies

When I wasn't riding with Cole down for a little quarter pound action I would hang out in the hall during lunch with a group of friends that were into much more goofy stuff. There was a pair of girlfriends who were virginal and fun in a little sisterly way. They were always cheerful bright and full of childish and harmless mischief. During lunch they would be playing games and laughing and just having a good time with effervescent bubbly giggles that were infectious and contagious. They had a game that They played using Uno cards and a group of kids in a circle called Spaz Uno. Everyone was seated around a circle and dealt an equal amount of cards then one by one each player puts down a card until a penalty card (skip, reverse, or draw two) is played and when it is all the players race to do an action associated with its color. For green you touch the ground for grass. For red you touch your heart. For yellow you touch your hair, the game favors blondes in that respect. For blue you reach for the sky. The slowest player to do the action inherits the whole pile of cards. If a wild is played all four actions must be completed. As is the case with any good game the most fun is in the process and not winning and it is very funny to watch people freak out trying to slap themselves to save themselves from getting cards. To win you get rid of all of your cards. I stayed friends with those girls through high school and had lots of good clean fun except for one time.

Cole Can Drive

Well, now if I finally have my stories strait I will go back to when I was a sophomore. My friend Cole had a birthday early on in the year and that was very important because he was able to drive way, way way before I could. Sometimes he would use his powers for good and drive when we were going out on the weekends and sometimes he would use his powers for evil, like taking a cute girl for a ride and not inviting me. Mostly he would dive me to or from school and every lunch take me with him to go eat at McDonalds. He would drive me down with him and whomever else could fit in the cab of his big green truck and he would order a Big Mac meal and then he would work the magic of a Payson Lions card and get me a free quarter pounder with cheese. The Payson Lions card was a fundraiser that the football team would sell every year that had year long promotional coupons printed on the front of a credit card sized card. When McDonalds signed on probably didn't expect that it would be giving away a hundred or so sandwiches on a buy one get a free sandwich with any combo purchase deal. The munge factor is pretty high among those Cole drove for so it was not only the food he was buying but gas to go out on weekends and to go rock climbing. He would always claim that one would have to pay him back for such trips in monetary remuneration, marijuana or sexual favors in a clever little aphorism that could be easily set in a real classy needle point; “Cash, grass, or ass; no one rides for free.” This was not a hard and fast rule and the exceptions far outpaced the collections. Cole loved that truck and he took exceptional care of it cleaning and detailing it and almost never almost killing us by sliding off the freeway in icy conditions. After the near slide off he told me that he had been more worried about damaging his dad's truck then coming to any personal harm.

You Don't Have Any PJ's

 I went to a job the other day that made me remember a story. When I was in third grade I got invited to my first non-family birthday party for a kid I didn't particularly like. The best part was that it was a drive-in movie/ sleepover party. I was willing to suck up a little personal animosity in deference to the first exciting friend party I had ever been invited to. I went to the kid's house at about 6 and in the basically lawless and safety oblivious 80's we all piled into the back of his dad's pickup truck and rode the 15 miles to the drive-in. I say his dad was not at all concerned with safety but that is not actually true he did tell us to sit flat on our butts in the bed or he would put his boot up our butts. For ostensibly heterosexual manly men these hillbilly types spend a inordinate amount of time threatening to insert objects violently into someone's rectum. Probably nothing to that, forget I wrote that. Anyway I was in the bed of a truck with some popcorn watching Karate Kid Two which has one of the best opening scenes ever in film as far as third grade boys were concerned. Behold:
If it is not abundantly self evident I will tell you what is cool about this scene. John Kreese of the Cobra Kai Dojo is awesomely douchey. "Second place is no place" is still my favorite thing to say when someone gets second place. If taking a teenager down a peg for losing, then breaking his trophy and chocking him has got to be one of the all time best motivational techniques. The second best part is that Mr. Miyagi bests that A-wipe without touching him and then when the defeated man begs for death he is denied the glory of death in battle and has his nose honked instead. We repeated that joke all night and all the next while. We stayed up late fooling around and then it was time for the PJ's and to my shame I had no cartoon character themed jam-jams like the other kids. They were al shocked that I was going to climb into my sleeping bag with just my clothes on like some kind of barbarian. I was so shamed that I was about to cry so I faked asleep and laid still so that they wouldn't mention my lack of officially licensed sleepwear. In the morning I woke up early and left before there could be any talk about me wearing the same clothes for two days. It was still worthwhile though I mean I did get to see an awesome quasi-martial arts movie with a really funny scene that I got to tell my brother about.