Sunday, November 07, 2004

Fuzzy Memories and Drug-Induced Flashbacks - Part I

The year is 1984, and I'm a junior in high school.

My friends are all going through that horrible Duran Duran stage, which means they're dressed in white cotton Banana Republic clothes and Panama hats. Oh, and lots of mascara. I'm the only one in the group who is tragically unhip, in my jeans and button-up shirt. With my hair parted to the side, I'm just a bow tie and a lobotomy away from being Tucker Carlson.

These are the guys I grew up with. We used to dress up in ridiculous costumes and film movies with my friend Sean's Super-8 camera. We'd spend entire weekends playing Dungeons and Dragons (until my dangerously Baptist mom and stepdad found out it was evil and put a stop to that). We'd plan all day excursions to the mall, making sure to hit the arcade and Lone Star Comics on our way to the theater. We were all content in our nerdiness.

But then, somewhere along the way, all of my friends got cool. It wasn't a gradual thing. It was like I missed a meeting, and suddenly they were all putting mousse in their hair and dressing like Simon LeBon. And they still wanted to hang out at the mall, only now they were more interested in shopping for clothes and flirting with girls.

So we're all at the Outlet Mall one Saturday afternoon. I didn't really want to come, but my friends have declared an intervention and are bound and determined to have me dressed in something paisley by the end of the day.

It's early April, and the mall is having a clearance sale on its leather jackets. So the five of us make our way to the back wall to browse. And as we're pawing our way through racks of leather merchandise, we hear an odd sound from the next aisle over.

It sounds like a cow mooing.

We stop talking and just listen. And sure enough, there it is again. Somebody's making cow noises in the leather department. How clever!

We hear it again, and we all start laughing. I make a comment, rather loudly, about how they must be making some more leather jackets up fresh. Another moo, and my friend Cary starts mooing back. Pretty soon, all of us are joining in.

All five of us are mooing rather raucously when we walk past the aisle and see the source of the sound. It's this profoundly retarded boy, about ten years old, in a wheelchair. He isn't mooing. He's simply moaning.

His parents are standing there, red-faced and angry, glaring at us as we walk past. They've been listening to us for the past five minutes, assuming we were making fun of their child. And honestly, there's not a thing any of us can say to make the situation better.

So we simply slink out without a word.


SJ said...

Blog therapy is good for the soul. You're a heartless bastard who deserves death by hanging.

There. Feel better?

Anonymous said...

You had better feel relieved of the burden after confessing that.. now that we all feel simply terrible for you.. *sob* .. DAMN you!

/me makes jacket out of next retarded child I find and forces you to wear it