Saturday, February 10, 2007

Why I never went to medical school

One day in the fourth grade, our teacher told us we would be having a "Game Day" that Friday. She told us we could bring our favorite board game to school to play with our classmates. What educational merit this held is still a mystery to me, but I've never been one to look a slacker gift horse in the mouth.

The choice was obvious: my coveted, practically brand-new, played with twice Operation. I loved playing this game. In my 10 year old mind, the fact that I was good at it was all the proof I needed that I was going to make a superb (and of course very rich) surgeon.

My Dad wanted me to bring the Ungame. To this day, the Ungame stands as the No one ever wins--not because of the level of difficulty, but because "no one loses" is one of the main tenets of the stupid game. Why would I waste precious recreational time playing a game when there was absolutely no chance I would have the chance to shove my victory in my opponent's (likely my younger brother's) face?

I don't remember anything about the actual Game Day extravaganza. It's what happened afterwards that has stuck with me.

A classmate of mine, let's call her Jessie (mostly because I can't remember her name), liked playing Operation so much that she asked to borrow it for the weekend. I really didn't want to, but I felt bad for wanting to say no. I had no legitimate reason to deny her, and I would have felt selfish for doing so. I let her borrow the game after securing her solemn promise that it would be returned unharmed.

Monday morning came and so did Jessie with my game. I could tell by the look on her face as she handed it back inside of a brown paper grocery bag that all was not well.

I was correct in my assessment.
Not only had her little brother lost some of the pieces, but he had drawn all over the picture of the blobby body playing board with a least that's the story she told me.

She apologized profusely, but it did nothing to assuage my anger. I was livid and took this as an affront to my very person. Hadn't she promised to take care of it? Hadn't she?

I grew up in a working-class family. We always rented, never owned (my parents just bought their first home a few years ago). We went on one vacation my entire childhood, and it was driving from our home in Southern California to visit my great-uncle in Arizona (he took us down to Tiajuana for a day). We only ever had one car even after my brother and I were old enough to drive and had part-time jobs. Our luxuries were small things, like buying me a new frim-frammin' board game.

When Jessie handed me back my molested and, for all intents and purposes, destroyed game, I felt as though she had metaphorically picked my parents' pockets.

Sidenote: One time one of my little brother's friends literally stole from my parents. He took a $10 roll of quarters my Mom had laying on the coffee table for laundry. As soon as the friend left our apartment, my brother told me what happened. I caught up to the little fucker in the parking lot and confronted him. The scene ended with me throwing said roll of quarters at his head. Looking back, I taught him an important life lesson: Don't fuck with poor chicks. They tend to have good aim.

After taking a moment to compose myself, I told Jessie that "sorry" wasn't going to replace my property, but 20 bucks would. Where I came up with this number is beyond me. That stupid game doesn't cost $20 today, let alone in 1984.

She must have known I meant business because the next day Girlfriend handed me a crisp Jackson. I thanked her, stuck the bill in the back pocket of my knock-off KMart Jordache's and closed the book on the whole ugly ordeal.

Later that day I was called out of class. I was ordered to report to the Principal's office.

Contrary to how I must sound here, I really was a good kid. I never got into trouble...well, except for that one time I wrote "Heather A. is a bitch" on a bathroom stall in the girl's bathroom. For the record, Heather A. was a total bitch. The ensuing punishment was well worth the crime.

This was different though. I had no idea why I was being summoned- in the middle of class no less- to the Big Man's office.

Dr. Fereece (or Dr. Freeze as we called him) stood well over 6 feet tall and had the steely glare of a hungry hawk. Think Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, but angrier and more intimidating.

I sat in his office, trying not to pee my pants while he asked me if I knew why I was there. I didn't. He then asked me about the $20 and the game.

I was confused. Why was I in trouble?!

I tried fruitlessly to explain my side of the story. It was no use. Apparently the way Dr. Freeze and Tattletale McSnatchface's father saw it, I was a bully at best--an extortionist at worst. I was ordered to return the money and take my sad shell of a once coveted game home with me in defeat.

I hid the game from my parents until enough time had passed and I could blame the destruction on my little brother.

"I was bored with it anyway."


Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Oh. My. God. That's like THE best story I've read in 10 years. Well, okay, maybe not 10 years, but it was AWESOME! I had the hugest smile on my face when Jessie handed you the twenty.

BTW, nice work-in of Samuel L. Jackson's character in Pulp Fiction. I'm now off to link up to your blog!

badgerdaddy said...

Fucking hell. How annoying is that? If that does not prove that there is no God, then nothing does.

Winter said...


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