One Sunday during the spring of whichever year it was that I was in the eighth grade, a classmate and I decided to take the bus to the newly-opened Mapleview Mall. I wanted to buy the cassingle for Quincy Jones's Listen Up (because it featured Big Daddy Kane and Melle Mel). But even if there wasn't anything in particular that I wanted to buy, we still would have gone, because, to suburban middle school kids, the opening of a new mall is a cultural event as exciting as fortuitously finding a stack of your uncle's Playboys, or a presidential assassination. In fact, if the lunar landing had occurred -- pretending for a moment that it actually happened, instead of being filmed on a Hollywood soundstage by Stanley Kubrick, which any intelligent person knows is the truth -- on the day a new mall opened, I and everyone I knew at the time would have chosen to visit the mall. That kind of thing doesn't happen every day, you know.
Anyway, because Ontario has this stupid thing called the GST which automatically adds like 700 dollars to anything you purchase, I didn't have enough money left for the bus home. So we walked. As we neared my house, my classmate and I noticed a lot of blood near the curb of the road which runs adjacent to my street. Obviously there had been some kind of accident. Or a stabbing. I was seriously hoping for the latter.
That hope was dashed, however, when we entered my house and I found my brother, scraped and bloodied, sitting on the downstairs bathroom toilet, holding a facecloth to his mouth.
"Hi guys," he said, almost cheerfully. Needless to say, I was spooked. He looked worse than that dude from American History X whose face Ed Norton's character stomps against a curb.
Which is sort of what happened. After entering the kitchen and getting the full story from my mother, I learned that my brother, always the competitor, had taken up a challenge to see who of his friends could achieve the fastest downhill speed on a bicycle. See, a mutual friend of ours who lived up the street had gotten a bike speedometer for his birthday (every boy's dream present), and while I and my classmate were sipping Orange Juliuses in the mall food court, my bro and his pals were playing bicycle deathrace 2000. To my brother's credit, he won. But by the time he had reached the highest downhill speed, there wasn't much street left, so he slammed on the handbrakes, they locked, and he was thrown over the handlebars, smashing his face against the curb. The poor bastard is lucky he didn't break his neck or end up with brain damage (that last point is debatable, however).
His initial, amiable stupor soon wore off, and 5 minutes after I arrived home he began howling and screaming. I thought the stupid fucker was going to die.
You're probably wondering why he and my mother were still at home instead of on their way to the hospital. Good question. The reason is because my father had gone out grocery shopping, and our other car -- a certain 1984 Buick LeSabre that frequent Psychedelic Kimchi readers will remember -- was in the shop. If cell phones were as ubiquitous then as they are today, it wouldn't have been a problem, but at the time all my mother could do was wait for my father to return. I was hoping he'd get back pretty fast, too: my brother's howls were seriously starting to freak me out. Plus I was hungry, and hoped my father would hurry the fuck home already so I could have me some Pop-Tarts.
Fifteen or so minutes later my father was back. My moms admonished him, because obviously the old man had failed to hear her psychic call. Men are stupid that way.
My brother's list of injuries was as follows: broken collar bone, broken wrist, a couple of skin grafts, and a lot of dental surgery.
These days? The guy is as ugly as ever, but not due to that boneheaded accident. He's always looked that way. Mercifully I was saved from inheriting those genes.
What's really funny, at least to me, is that the artificial crowns he got are way smaller than his originals, so that now, whenever he smiles, his incisors are more pronounced and he looks like a vampire.
As usual, there is isn't really a point to all this. But since it was the guy's birthday last week, I figured I'd give him some shine. And that lengthy intro seems as good as any. Yep, you guessed it: time for some more meandering missives:
1) This afternoon I had some free time, so I thought to myself why not do a blog entry? Bad idea. For some reason, I just can't write during the day. For me, writing anything halfway interesting before sundown is like a 90-year-old man successfully getting a hard-on: you try, but eventually give up because you realize it's not going to happen, no matter how much you want it to.
I found that out the hard way. Here's the excrement my mind vomited:
I woke up and after breakfast took my daughter outside to wait for the bus. I didn't put her coat on. It was a little chilly, because it was morning, but I knew it would warm up later. She didn't complain.
The bus is supposed to arrive at 9:13, but it was 2 minutes late. As we waited we saw some magpies fly back and forth over our heads. The little girl hid behind my leg when a mother and her two children approached. I wanted a smoke.
After the bus came and took the little girl away, I made some coffee. I drank it. I lit up a cigarette and opened the windows.
What a pleasant morning. Not too cold, but not too warm, either. Just right. Like the baby bear's bed, chair, and porridge to Goldilocks.
I watched the Clippers play at Phoenix. The Suns got off to an early lead and it was never close. Boring game.
Sometimes I wish I had a vagina.
2) How many calories are there in a can of Spam? There was nothing else around to eat yesterday, so I decided to fry up a can of the meat-jello, which had probably been with our household longer than our daughter. I cut it into three slices, and it seemed a lot for one person to consume, but I didn't want to waste any. I sprinkled the slices with salt and topped them with ketchup.
I don't expect anyone besides myself would be foolish enough to make that their lunch, but on the small chance that you one day find yourself in a similar situation and it crosses your mind, do yourself a big favor and dead the notion before it has a chance to germinate. You know you're in for some gastrointestinal punishment when you start to get painful cramps while you're consuming something. And you know you're a class-A moron when you realize it and continue eating away regardless.
A day later and I still can't burp without tasting smoked pork bi-products.
It's enough to turn a man toward vegetarianism. Almost.
3) Yesterday, while on my way home from work (with Spam juice no doubt oozing from my pores), I came across an interesting scene. A bunch of kids in tae kwon do uniforms and an old woman were standing around a tree, looking up. It didn't take me long to figure out that one of the little rapscallions had in jest thrown his mate's book bag up there. The old woman, espying me approaching with a long umbrella resting under my right arm, beckoned me to rescue the out-of-reach bag.
I agreed, dextrously navigated an abutment of large stones, and with my umbrella pried free from amongst the branches the mislaid book bag. It fell, and I managed to artfully catch it with my unengaged left hand.
My favor was met with a chorus of cheers and thank-yous. Presently I stepped down, brushed my hands off, and replied that it was no trouble, no trouble at all.
With a long umbrella as my Excalibur, I will someday make this helpless nation my kingdom.
4) Last week our daughter began attending a new pre-school. My wife and I were keen on it because they offer English lessons twice a week. When, on Tuesday, I questioned the little angel about what she learned in English class, she said "stand up, sit down."
Obviously she's far more advanced than that, so, because I want her to get some enrichment, I wrote up some possible conversation starters which my wife and I will prepare the little one to ask her teacher, beginning next Monday. They are as follows:
- Have you forgotten the face of your father, gunslinger?
- Please explain the function of a cyclotron.
- Which rapper rocked the best jheri curl?
(If her teacher fails to respond 'MC Eiht,' I have instructed the little girl to bite with exteme prejudice.)
- I shit bigger'n you.
- Do the requirements of your E-2 visa explicitly state that you have to dress like such a douchebag?
- Head or gut. Hurry up and pick one before I pick for you.
- Please pronounce this word.
[little girl hands flashcard with the word calliope written on it]
Failure to do so correctly will lead to your immediate dismissal. I know people in high places, don't think that I don't.
If I don't take steps to ensure the quality of my daughter's English learning, who will?