When I was in third grade my parents took me to a sketchy, subterranean pet store off the food court in Hillcrest mall with no windows and a single, incongruous neon sign bearing some nondescript name like BJ’s Pet Emporium where I would be allowed to procure my first pet, a hamster.

Continue reading “Pearl”

Beaver damn

I posted a couple #throwbackthursday photos on Instagram the other day, that’s the only reason I can think of to explain why this memory reentered my consciousness.

Names have been changed.

One morning when I was in seventh grade, there was an influx of rumors that my friend Stacy got fingerbanged by another notoriously surly girl Agnes at Roller Palace over the weekend. It was seventh grade, Roller Palace was dark as shit and it had an abundance of 1970s plywood booths, so this seemed plausible.

Me, being the socially unaware dipshit that I am, decided to inquire about this the second I had an opportunity, which was at lunch over chicken nuggets and milk in front of a lunch table full of tweens.

Now, to the extreme credit of Stacy, I don’t remember her or anyone else saying a damn thing. I think we just moved on. Justifiably as soon as I booted up AOL at 3PM, I got greeted with an IM from Stacy who was pissed as shit.

Stacy threatened to send me to peer mediation for spreading rumors about her and Agnes.

I would cut a bitch for the chance to relive this experience as a 27 year old. You’re going to call our middle school guidance counselor, and divulge that you may or may not have engaged in lesbian finger banging in a roller rink?

At the time this was the most frightened of anything I had ever been. I thought our peer mediation session would somehow end up on my permanent record. I’d be doomed to spend life begging for change with a cardboard-scrap sign in Chinatown. So I just apologized profusely, probably in chat speak and begged for my freedom.

For years I felt awful about the situation, I blamed myself for spreading a rumor about my friend and for lowering myself to bullying. But mostly I was confused as to how I was tricked into bullying someone, not in the more comprehensible manner of following the crowd, but by a complete lack of understanding of social norms, as well as more than a bit angry I got strong-armed into recanting by a possible roller rink fingerbanger.

While trying to figure out why my emotional response to this memory was injured pride and a desire to fight a twelve year old, I realized:

I NEVER SPREAD A RUMOR ABOUT HER. In fact, I did the OPPOSITE of spread a rumor, which was ask her about it to her face without malice or prejudice. Was it tactless? Yes. But it most certainly wasn’t covert or even mean spirited. It was so much of a non-event to me that someone would be fingerbanged and/or gay I didn’t think twice about inquiring point-blank, and it didn’t even occur to me anyone else would think differently. Granted this is the key skill involved in not being a douchebag, but it is also the key lack of skill involved in being a child. A reported lesbian fingerbanging was somewhat exciting in the same way that the staff opening the “school store” (a storage closet) on Tuesdays and letting us buy pens was exciting,  it was a small departure from the everyday. The only parts I questioned were the location and the partner (and 15 years later, I still wonder.)

There is no moral in this. I am more amazed I felt bad for fifteen years for being a bully when I should have felt bad for being dumb as fuck. In another universe there could have been a learning opportunity here, where I realized I could not apply my own beliefs and levels of comfort en masse, to literally everyone around me. But, middle school. It only managed to be an experience full of anxiety and abject confusion that I learned nothing from for a decade and a half.

My Middle School Blog: 12/17/2002

Tuesday, December 17, 2002, 09:12 PM EST

but we all bleed the same way as you do… and we all have the same things to go through…. HOLD ON if you feel like letting go…. HOLD ON it gets better than you know. <— lyrics fromm good charlotte’s hold on. thats such an awesome song. everyone should download it. so anyways. yesterday i tried to get onto my blog and it said that portland had a terminal server crash. and i was like crying because i thought i had lost all my archives. it came back at around 8:33 and i started crying of happiness. i dont know what i would do if i lost these archives. these are my MEMORIES. my only true feelings. i dont capitatlize, i dont check for spelling, this is just whatever is on my mind. like a cheap therapist. i dont know what i would do without you my dear blog. i need a new blog layout though… i had one featuring mt. deryck whibley. guitarist, vocalist, lyricist, and hot rockstar god extrodinaire. but i think i want something darker… yes i know. the holidays. but it seems that alot of shit has been happening to friends of mine, and i want something with a message. hence the lyrics posted at the top of this post… well i’ll have to think up some ideas… and find some pics… peace out!

A box of puppies played by Conor Oberst, Conor Oberst, Conor Oberst, and Conor Oberst

conor oberst's face on a box of puppies.
Conor Oberst’s face(s) on a box of puppies.

Going through photos from an old external hard drive, apparently on July 26, 2006, at 2:59PM, I saw fit to photoshop Conor Oberst’s face onto a box of puppies.

Throwback Thursday: My Middle School Blog

May 7, 2003, “”
ahh okay. it’s been long without an entry. i’ve been working on [old domain I had], which when it finally gets up, will be the new home of this blog. anyways. a quick recap of last week: tuesday, in the middle of social studies, the other social studies teacher walked into our room and gave everyone beef jerkey. coincidentally, we were learning about the donner party… pleasant. the same day, one of the popular kids practically fainted in the middle of the math room door way. i felt bad for him. he was just laying their in the door way as they tried to find the nurse. we had to push all the desks away from the other door so kids could get in… cause we couldnt step over him. eventually we just moved the whole class into the library, cause he was still there. thursday we had the coolest french sub. she liked metallica and got kicked off napster for dloading their songs. sunday… omg… ok so i was sitting in my moms car in the parking lot of this bookstore called borders… i was waiting for my sister to put her walkman in her bag so that we could go into the store (she cant just shove the walkman in the bag, she has to perfectly roll it up) when i see these 2 guys walking towards the car a space away from us. and they both looked emo, and were really hot, and one of them was wearing a sum 41 shirt. so out of excitement i yell SUM 41! not realizing that my mom had turned the noisy car engine off, and they can now hear me. im just like OH FUCK. then the sexy emo boys get into their car and drive away. in borders i bought a new book for my lyrics…and a magazine that makes fun of courtney love (ha!) then i went to starbucks and got a chocolate frappucino or something like that… it was good… so are expresso brownies. holy shit their good too. we went out to dinner it was so boring. as i was starring at the table i figured out that i didnt know hot emo sum fan’s name. so i decided to make one up…nick ritter… named after the emo kid named nick at my school, and tyson ritter singer of emo band, the all american rejects. wee… dats the shit yo. haha. tuesday… we saw a midsummer night’s dream play at school… today… was a half day. at 3:45 i got my ears pierced. it’s a very odd feeling to get your ears pierced… very weird. the nurse hat pierced my ears was really nice. so thats cool. then i went to walgreens and bought lipgloss and stuff to clean my ears so they dont get infected, and my mom bought me mcdonalds, and i figured out how to work her car cd player, and played soco in her car cause i couldnt wear headphones cause of my ears. and then i got home at like 4:32, and ate my mcdonalds… now im here… writing this…
May 7, 2003, “quick recap”
quick recap… haha… i cant believe i wrote that much…

2015 Notes:

  • My sister still does that with her headphones, and it still annoys the shit out of me
  • I have zero recollection of anyone passing out in the hallway
  • I do remember the vast majority of this day, including the substitute teacher and the hot emo fucks. Nick Ritter became my mental catchall term for anyone hot I didn’t know, which obviously managed to be a ton of people over the years.
  • This was literally the first time I had ever been in a Borders, or a Starbucks. I became convinced a long time ago that this one great day in a pile of garbage days was the reason I later patronized both so aggressively. You’re welcome, Starbucks.
  • RIP Borders
  • Piercing my ears was a source of incredible emotional turmoil for 2-3 years, which seemed like an unbearably long time. I genuinely felt my parents had ruined my life by not having my ears pierced as a baby when I wouldn’t remember it. I had a crippling fear of the pain, but also desperately wanted “real” piercings (which I was somehow less afraid of?) and thought it would be the weirdest, most unimaginable concept ever to get a piercing at a shop before having my ears pierced. On one hand it’s great that these were my concerns, (and not food, shelter, etc.) but on the other hand, I was literally sick from grappling with this level of decision-making. I ended up getting my ears pierced a second time a month later (which I regret, ruined the symmetry) and another over the years another 8+ more holes jammed through my body. I correctly predicted that part of my life.
  • A woman mistook me for a Walgreen’s employee during this trip, and it was such a source of crippling embarrassment to me for so many years, I assume it’s not written here because I couldn’t even bear to write it down. Not because she mistook me for a drugstore employee mind you, but because she mistook me for anyone at all. I managed to feel both completely exposed and somehow disappointed that I wasn’t who she wanted me to be. The social anxiety came on early, and strong, apparently.