I hope, dear reader, I can only hope! that you are enjoying this painful little walk down memory lane we're taking this week. Take heed, and think of the future of your children. It's too late for you to do anything about your school pictures of years past.
Sometimes I find it a wonder that I managed to survive to adulthood. Being 'husky', as the Sears catalog so quaintly phrased it, and really having no patience to try and part my hair, meant I got picked on a lot. Being picked on a lot meant I had little to no self-esteem. Having low self-esteem meant I needed to puff myself up, act cooler than I and everyone in a three-mile radius knew I really was.
All that changed when I got my kewl new Timex digital watch, with genuine Twist-o-Flex watch band. I was stylin'. I'm shocked that they've re-released this watch, I can't imagine anyone wanting this watch. Mine wore out well before its time, the buttons didn't make contact properly, and I had crammed bits of aluminum foil into the openings so the buttons would, occasionally, respond as expected.
And no, the irony of a fat kid whose athletic feats could be measured in cramps and barfing owning a watch with fraction-of-a-second accuracy is NOT lost on me.
My least favorite part of owning this watch was that the alarm was stuck on, and would go off, without fail, at 7:06 am. Rain or shine. Daylight savings time or not. But at least it kept accurate time, so I could count down the minutes to lunch. (Yes. I said it. Wasn't gonna let you get that jab past me.)
One Saturday, after a round of $0.63 games of bowling at Landmark Lanes and half-price pizza at Pizza Man, my friend Chris and I were taking the North Avenue bus home from Milwaukee's east side to his parents' house in 'Tosa. (That's what the cool kids called it, 'Tosa'. Much hipper than 'Wauwatosa'. Trust me.) We must have bowled well, meaning I broke 80, because somehow we thought it would be a good idea, two husky eleven-year-olds, to sit in the back row of the bus. Cool kids did that. Hoodlums. Players. Not fat pre-teens. But we figured we could hang.
I was so cool, one of the other cool guys asked me if I had the time. Because I was the proud owner of a Twist-o-Flex-laden Timex Digital Chronograph timepiece, I responded that indeed, I did know what time it was.
I don't remember a whole lot about my new, cool friend. I vaguely recall that he looked like this:
...that he was (to my eleven-year-old brain) about seven feet tall, and that he was wearing a long women's parka, much like the one on the left:When the bus reached his stop, my new 'friend' grabbed my arm, and demanded that I relinquish my groovy-cool Timex Twist-o-Flex Chronometergraph. When I protested, I believe his response was along the lines of "I wouldn't do that,
As soon as he exited the bus with his friends, I ran to the front of the bus, to the closest figure of authority I could find. "Bus driver, bus driver! That man stole my watch!"
Yeah. Not sure why I figured that would cause a stir, that the vice squad would come barreling up North Avenue, sweeping the neighborhood for the hooligan that stole my watch. Somehow, I think the driver just thought I'd been taught a valuable lesson.
And I had. To those of you who inquire as to what time it now is, my lips are sealed. Buy your own damn watch. Eventually, I comforted myself only in the knowledge that my mugger would be awakened, without fail, at 7:06 am. Rain or shine. Daylight savings time or not.
(An aside: This was not my first assault, or my first mugging, but it was certainly the costliest. On my first or second day of sixth grade, I was approached right in front of school by one of the eighth graders who demanded whatever I might have of value. Fat kids with full backpacks can't run very fast, but he let me go. Apparently being a fat crybaby can work as a defense mechanism in a pinch. Just sayin.)