Frogboy, Rebell Yell, regrettable behavior, Smaktakula's hypocrisy can sometimes be astounding, Tardsie's True-Ass Tales, whiskey
In which, through an act of reprehensible drunken thuggery, we learn a very valuable lesson about our behavior.
First of all, I am in no way responsible for Frogboy’s undignified, if appropriate, sobriquet. That honor goes to Daria, one of my fellow layabouts at my college’s writing center, who had only minutes before been propositioned by the wretched little creature whom we later learned was named Evan Spieglemann. He was polite, she told me, and said that Frogboy had offered her a shy smile when he asked if she wanted to go with him to the movies, suggesting that they walk to the theater in town, as he had no car. It might have been a touching, if ultimately futile, scene if not for an unfortunate occurrence. “When he smiled,” she said, “his gums began to bleed spontaneously.”
Why Frogboy? It’s hard to say just why some names fit almost magically. It’s not that the pitiable little creature known as Evan only to his parents actually looked like an amphibian; he didn’t. But he looked like a Frogboy. Frogboy was short, and thin almost to the point of emaciation. His dark, oily hair stood in stark relief to his pale skin, still marked by splotches of fading acne and the blue-black tinge of a perpetual 5 o’clock shadow. He wore chunky black glasses with lenses as thick as a baby’s finger, magnifying his heavy-lidded and mud-colored eyes, lending a slightly contemptuous effect. And of course, the pièce de résistance was his million-dollar smile: each of his long, yellow teeth seemed wholly remote from the tooth next to it, brought into relief by the darkness to either side of it. And the bleeding.
The first time I had the privilege to see Frogboy up close and personal was in the men’s restroom. I was standing at a urinal, the only occupant of this low-traffic bathroom beneath the college cafeteria, and looked up when the door opened. At first, I didn’t know what to make of the comically-horrifying creature in the doorway. Frogboy, in addition to being possessed of the unfortunate physical traits described in the previous paragraph, wore garishly patterned weight-lifter pants with flourescent green highlights, and a plain blue muscle shirt that highlighted his pale, pimple-studded shoulders and girly broomstick arms.
Despite the two other perfectly good urinals from which he could have chosen, Frogboy chose the urinal next to mine (a brief digression: ladies, as you like to gab in the can, you may not be aware that except for those fellows interested in a bit of the rough trade,¹ choosing a urinal next to one which is occupied when an unoccupied alternate exists is simply not done). He pulled his shirt up and tucked it beneath his chin, which was pressed into his chest. As he began to go about his business, all the while accompanying it with a litany of grunts (in retrospect it seems so obvious that the boy had Tourette’s, but at that time, I thought the condition just made you cuss-crazy), I got out of there in a hurry.
There is the assumption that anyone so freaky and physically deficient must therefore be brilliant. Although Frogboy had the requisite arrogance and look of house-bound scholarship, his intellect was disappointingly pedestrian. But, like the rest of us, maybe he was fooled by his own appearance. We were in dummy physics together, and I can still recall how exasperated the professor would become with Frogboy’s inane, nonsensical questions and bizarre theories about the nature of science.
That would have been the limit of my interaction with Frogboy if it hadn’t been for a night of drinking. I woke up on a Saturday morning after spending the evening with a bottle of Rebel Yell and assorted attitude adjustments, gripped by a wicked bellyache and a vague but persistent feeling of wrongdoing. It didn’t take me long to find out why that was.
“Dude, you were kind of an asshole to Frogboy last night,” one friend told me. Before an hour had passed, at least four people stopped by my room or called to let me know they’d been witness to my ugly behavior. I never got the full story–never wanted it–but the crux of the tale is that I spent part of the evening being an ass to Frogboy, pushing him around and even, I’m told, boxing his ears.
Despite all appearances to the contrary, I was not an intentionally hurtful young man, but more like a reckless puppy, living as I did in my collegiate world of low-impact consequences. Given that I stood almost a foot taller than Frogboy and outweighed him by about 100 pounds and moreover that I was possessed of a conscience, I was overcome by shame at what I had done. In the long-term, this incident would have a profound impact on my behavior–I grew much more respectful of alcohol and more cognizant of my behavior when under the influence.
But the incident also had a profound effect on my final year in college. Not long after being apprised of the extent of my buffoonery, I found Frogboy sitting alone in the cafeteria. “I’m sorry, Evan,” I told him honestly, adding that I was deeply ashamed and that I hoped he would forgive me, although I didn’t deserve it.
To my surprise and relief, he forgave me immediately. However, I should have remembered that nothing comes for free, and that if I was truly to learn a lesson, there would have to be attendant consequences. For me, those consequences took the form of a friendship. Frogboy and I were now pals, and for the rest of my senior year I was friends with a guy who didn’t know how to be friends.
After I graduated, I never saw Frogboy again. But a few years later, one of my friends was working in a deli in San Francisco when who should walk in but Frogboy. He recognized my friend and addressed him by the wrong name. He remembered me, though, and asked after me.
Although it’s respectable and admirable that you took responsibility for your actions and apologized to the poor man who was obviously in need of a dentist or blood clotting tests, the fact that you did so combined with the fact that you actually remember the bullying incident makes you unfit to run for president.
Oh, and on a more serious note, I meant to compliment your well-written post. Nice description. But you probably prefer I don’t get all mushy like that.
Thank you so much–I’m not sure why you persist in thinking that I’m so jaded that I don’t appreciate compliments!
It’s quite gratifying, actually. Although I have been writing (both fiction and non-fiction) for many years, it is only recently that I’ve had any success with autobiographical writing. With minor exceptions (mostly names), the stuff I’ve written in Tarsie’s True-Ass Tales is just that…true. The particular incident I described in this post is one which has grown in significance to me over the years, to some degree in light of the (mostly media-inspired, I believe) ‘bully’ phenomenon, but also because I now have children of my own, and it is the hope of every parent that their children not repeat their mistakes.
Oh, heavens. If that didn’t disqualify me for higher office, my juvenile arrest record almost certainly would.
Well, at least you remembered the incident. Unlike Romney…
That’s true, but I think it’s terrible that those charges are even brought up. After so many years, if you’re so bitter about name calling in high school that you bring it up against a presidential candidate, then I think you probably deserved the abuse–whatever else you are, you’re certainly a pussy.
I was a dick in high school, but it had to do mostly with a diminished sense of self-worth. I’m not that same person, and it would be unfair to judge me based on that. Likewise, I can remember some unkind things said to me back then, but a lot of it, I had coming.
There is only one person I know, who if he runs for higher office, I will go to the press with details about his past. This person is an unpunished rapist, who managed to use his family’s wealth and connections to beat a pretty ironclad case. I know him and I know some of the women.
Being that I was the one with the thick glasses and bad clothes who usually ended up head first in the bushes and/or the trash can at least once a week, I sort of understand where Frogboy was coming from. Especially that time my friends had me convinced that I’d done the nasty with the skankiest guy on the planet when I was passed out on MD20/20. But the geeky victimized are easy friends, we take all the beautiful people’s shit- and we ask for so little in return. Just don’t expect us to remember your name.
But Frogboy did remember my name. Does that mean I’m not a beautiful person?
Friends can be mean. Mean guy friends would do just the opposite though, convince a guy he DIDN’T have sex with the skankiest girl in school.
Lord have mercy, Smak – you are one funny writer – I love how you add the pictures – they add a big dose of humor to your tales.
Some Guy said:
When I was in third grade I decided, for reasons I can’t remember and probably didn’t know even at the time, that I didn’t like a particular kid in my class. While I never pushed him around or did anything even remotely physical or threatening, I recall making mean jokes at his expense and generally being a little butthole.
After putting up with this for a while, this kid either completely misunderstood my attitude (which is possible; I’ve never been very good at being mean) or played one of the best mind-games of all time by inviting me to his birthday party. I pretty much instantly realized what a little prick I was, and started treating him a lot nicer.
I haven’t thought of that kid for more than a couple seconds at a time in thirty years . . . but now I really, really hope I got him something awesome for his birthday.
I bet I did.
Thanks for sharing that SG. That was not only funny, but dare I say?–a little touching!
Jennifer Worrell said:
I need to make sure that Mr. Jenn teaches Lil’ P. about the whole urinal thing. I was unaware of this. If all the other urinals are full, and a dude is about to explode, can he take the middle one? Just askin’?
Some Guy said:
You shouldn’t worry too much about having to teach your boy this–almost the entire male population is born with this knowledge.
To answer your question, if there are no other urinals available, it is acceptable to use a urinal right next to another guy, provided you avoid eye contact. That is, zero eye contact whatsoever, not only while in the bathroom but also, if possible, for the rest of your lives. Also frowned upon: saying anything, especially “ha ha” or “wow.”
Jennifer Worrell said:
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! I’ll have to keep that in mind…thanks for the insight!!!!!
Some Guy is right, Mr. Jenn will never have to do that, particularly as you are only related to your husband through marriage. I left this detail out of the story because there didn’t seem to be a place for it, but Frogboy’s parents were cousins, according to rumor.
Jennifer Worrell said:
Ah, yes…we aren’t related, I can guarantee that…I checked into it:) Anyway, I’ve learned a great deal today, and I’m very thankful that I won’t have to teach this fact of life…shew!
Adrienne schmadrienne said:
I’m glad you took the high road and apologized to the weird kid.
Umm, what the hell is Rebel Yell? Is that booze real? Sounds like mean juice for sure.
Rebel Yell is absolutely real. It’s a type of whiskey. It’s not bad, but it’s relatively cheap. We first drank it because we heard it was Keith Richards’ booze of choice.
For some reason, my heart goes out to Frogboy.
You’re right to feel for him–he wasn’t a bad guy. I found that college was much more egalitarian than high school–there wasn’t really a “top” or “bottom.” Nonetheless, because of his appearance and his atrocious social skills, Frogboy really was an outsider. But I think in his own way, he did all right. I was a senior his freshman year, so we were only friends for the majority of that year, but I think we had a good effect on him. We didn’t really hang out much, but he would sometimes sit with us at lunch or on the quad and irritate the shit out of everybody.
But of course, after the ugly drunken affair, I never so much as raised my voice to Frogboy after that.