Despite the impression given by this series of tales, not every episode in my life has involved me being an asshole or looking like an idiot, but those are the stories worth telling. Nobody wants to hear about that time I got my mom flowers for no reason and really made her day.
After the sixth grade, we moved away from my hometown, and I graduated from high school in another state. After my freshman year of college, I was back in town visiting my Grandma when I happened across an old friend from grade school, Rusty.
We were talking about people we used to know, and I asked about a kid whom I’d thought of as “Wayne.”
“Who?” Rusty asked.
“Wayne,” I said again, “The kid who came over as a boat person from Vietnam.”
“Oh,” he said, “You mean Wang Jones. Yeah, he’s still around.” He then added, “He’s kind of a dick, though.” Rusty remained in the dark as to the reason for Wang’s hostility, although I soon figured it out.
“Damn, I always called him ‘Wayne,’” I said, embarrassed. “Wang probably thought I was an asshole.”
Rusty laughed. “He probably just thought you were an idiot.”
Someone certainly was. I soon got the opportunity to look at Rusty’s yearbook and check out the boy I’d accidentally ridiculed for so many years. As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, my very first discovery was that the kid’s name was in fact ‘Wayne.’
I’m always suspicious of guys who aren’t gay but who have way more chick friends than guy friends. What’s up with that? If they were having sex with the various women, I could at least understand it.
When I was a kid my mouth got me in trouble a lot. A lot a lot. But there was one time when I was about seven that I didn’t deserve it. Not that much anyway.
I was at my friend Ricky’s house, and we were watching TV. My troubles began when Ricky’s mom overheard a comment I made about a commercial. The commercial began with several silhouetted figures running up a hill. “Look at those idiots,” I said, mostly due to my then-nascent love affair with my own voice.
“SHAME ON YOU!” Ricky’s mom bellowed from seemingly out of nowhere. “Shame on you for picking on those people!”
I started to protest my innocence, and then saw with growing horror that it was a Special Olympics commercial I’d besmirched.
As if unsure that I’d grasped the enormity of my act, she said, “Those people can’t help that they were born that way! How would you like it if you were born that way?” Not waiting for me to answer, she went on, “You should thank God you weren’t. Shame on you!”
I again protested my innocence, and after a while she seemed to believe me, and the incident was forgotten.
Hours later, my mom was over visiting Ricky’s mom. As I passed through the kitchen where they were drinking coffee, my mom struck like a cobra, smacking me across the face.
“Don’t make fun of retarded people!” she said.
Sometimes it’s funny how a moment just happens. One time in college, a bunch of us dudes were drinking in a big ol’ sausage fest (all guys), when somebody said to somebody else, “Hey man, you’ve always been a good friend to me, Bob. I love you, man.”
“Bob” turned to another guy in the room, and said basically the same thing. “Joe, I don’t say this much, but you’ve always been there for me. I love you, man.”
This continued for a while, everybody in the room professing his love to another friend. Finally, it got to our friend “Steve.” As everyone else had, Steve turned to another friend and said, “Mike, you’re a good guy and I love you.”
And then, in one of those beautiful, unplanned moments where everything just seems to come together perfectly, everyone in the room pointed at Steve and yelled “FAG!”