Pat Dolan and his brother Damien lived up the street. Their dad Mr. Dolan was a cop, a huge cop: he filled the doorway when he stood.

We sat on the front doorstep and spat. We had just learned how to hock up phlegm from the back of our throats and launch it, through space, onto the sidewalk.

Pat’s dad shouted from inside QUIT THAT SPITTING OUT THERE, and we did.

Pat’s dad came home Friday nights with TVs and golf clubs he won playing poker. We knew where he kept the dirty magazines: on top of the book shelf by the La-Z-boy, and also by the bedstand, in his room.

Sometimes we’d go down in the basement, turn off all the lights, and beat the shit out of each other. Pat’s brother Damien was younger, a small hulk of a man, a miniature Mr. Dolan.

Pauline lived next to Pat, and was the first kid on the street to smoke. She lived alone with her mom, who didn’t care, and wore make-up and bikinis. Tim down the road did it with her, and let everyone know about it, after.

Tim’s dad was also a cop, a Lieutenant, and came to our school to give a talk about drinking and driving, and drugs. We made fun of him; his last name was Ring and he ended his speech, “If you ever need help, just give me a RING.”

It was at Tim’s I first saw porn, on TV. It was daytime, summer, and we all sat there with the curtains drawn, gawking, quiet. I couldn’t make sense of it, but knew it was something special, something to be respected, like religion.

I hit Jimmy Long with a Chinese throwing star while he was swinging on a rope from a tree, but it didn’t stick, it bounced off his ankle and into the bushes.

I put my arms through a glass window because a kid was chasing me on his bike. He had problems (we called it “retarded” then); he just laughed when I broke the window and said I was in big trouble, now.

I fell off a tree and landed on a freshly pruned limb, which cut my stomach open the size of a small mouth. But I had already run through a window that summer, gotten hit in the head with a rock, and recovered from chicken pox, so I had to hide the wound from my parents for fear they’d never let me out again.

I never hit anyone in the face, but got hit once myself by a kid named Aaron Wright. He wrote a comic about it called Bop In The Face, and circulated it around the classroom.

I resold bubble gum by the piece and made bagfuls of money I used for James Bond books and high-end skateboard equipment, but never got good at the skating. The first time in a pipe I didn’t know to pump by knees, and it just shot out from under me.

Later, I joined the Mountaineers Club in Seattle but had to quit after I got married and bought a house, because I kept getting drawn into the higher difficulty climbs with a guy named Ed Russell, who deliberately led his parties off-route, to enhance the risk factor.

I had to go on camera Monday to talk about one of the founders of Starbucks who I knew, who’s retiring, and what I’ll miss about him. The camera guy and gaffer kept screwing around with the chalk art behind me, arguing if the palm tree was yellow enough, and fussing over the frame. The girl said just keep your eyes on me, like we’re just talking normal, but of course I knew we weren’t.

Categories: humor

Tags: , , , ,

3 replies

  1. “Just keep your eye on the ball…” Keeping focused has never been my strong point. I always had to remind myself about keeping focused… Interesting post.


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