Happy Mother’s Day from central Indiana. Good time to post for the first time since the NCAA men’s basketball tournament with a quick Fitzthoughts Five on what’s been going on as late (or in other words what excuses have kept me from posting besides no Indiana University coaching changes):
THOUGHT ONE–LIBRARY LIVING: Previous posts probably had a mention or two about dealing with my old pals at Comcast. Chalk on some computer problems and yours truly had the honor of hitting of the Hamilton East Public Library to write papers and do schoolwork that was not related to this blog. (Hard to write 15 page papers for PhD programs on Verizon Wireless LG cell phones.) While the cable is now cut off with a mysterious ending credit that has not appeared as of yet, the internet set up just now got settled to where I no longer go from work to said library in order to do 2-3 hours of homework each weeknight. Though if anyone ever asks, one can get 2 1/2 to 3 hours of free log-in time at said library’s computer lab depending on who’s trying to stay awake at their front desk. Hence sometimes I needed the library card (which of course had never been used because I usually go to said library as often as local Indiana sports teams win big games) and sometimes I didn’t. But it got the job done in order to transition to….
THOUGHT TWO-PAPER PROFICIENCY: …writing the before mentioned 15 page paper for this past PhD class at good ol’ Indiana Tech. In order to that I had to take off last Saturday from work so said paper could be thrown down. I was fortunate that it was a take home exam so I got to answer multiple questions on the rights and wrongs of whether I agreed with fictional case studies on Peru mining towns and if leadership model A was the baddest #!$^$ on the planet compared to leadership model 3. After cussing outloud for five straight minutes asking why in the $@$%! I was wasting a nice Saturday to type about said stuff as opposed to daydreaming about the summer before I went to college number one when I saw the tremendous trio of Noblesville HIgh School cheerleading stars Jenny Story, Jenny Flaugher and Keri Caswell in bikinis (details here) or anything else that did not want me to hurl the computer desktop out the window. Fortunately around 4 pm I said to $!$% with it and hunkered down to get the damn thing done before the midnight deadline. It was submitted at 9:30 pm, and I ended getting the grade needed to keep said A minus (I had a 92 when I needed a 93 for the all out A, but quite frankly I didn’t give two s—ts because the class was over). But if one wants to know how to NOT spend a nice Saturday evening, there you have it.
THOUGHT THREE-PISSPOOR PACER PLAYOFF PERFORMANCES: as is the case every spring since my days at said Noblesville High School (aka the Sonland) when the Indiana Pacers began to lose pro basketball playoff series with regularity, I scheduled my work and school time around watching their inevitable beatdown courtesy of ESPN’s favorite son LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers. As they tend to do with the routineness of Hamilton County shucking out another piece of farmland for a subdivision, the Pacers ensured to take defeat from the jaws of victory on multiple occassions in order to get swept 4 games to zilch in losing the the defending NBA champs. Couldn’t even win a game. Of course I didn’t expect them to win the series-after all, this is an organization that keeps Donnie Walsh on the payroll to apparently fall asleep during home games because ownership considers him the modern day Einstein of NBA basketball thinking-so I looked at said beatings as a way to evaluate the team and see who I would personally prefer to be on the team’s roster in 2017-18 instead of picking up inflated paychecks to underachieve against the likes of Toronto, Boston and Milwaukee. Here’s what I found:
-the hardcore fans of the Pacers Digest message board lived up to standards as multiple individuals blamed Paul George for everything from the losing sweep to the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. (Ironically one of the posters kept calling said All-Star George a baby throughout the entire year, and unironically dude’s avatar includes Democratic Party approved tyke Stewie Griffin from Fox’s Family Guy so..GTFO on that). Dude averaged 28 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists a game in the series. You know who didn’t, Seth McFarlane fan? Your man Monta Ellis, that’s who. (Ellis is StewieFan’s favorite player. Shocking, I know.) Your son Ellis scored 22 POINTS THE ENTIRE SERIES. He was brought in to get the team 15 to 20 points PER GAME. Dude’s done as an NBA starter unless he goes to a bad Western Conference team and gets to jack 15 to 20 shots a game. Then again I’d have no issue with it as I’d prefer to not see Ellis play another game in a Pacer uniform again. He was that bad this year. Like the idiot I am, I watched enough games to know.
–Myles Turner has a long way to go before becoming the NBA All-Star the Pacers expect him to be. Turner was Tristan Thompson’s b—- the entire series. 12 points and 7 boards a game won’t cut it in big games. However there’s a half glass full/half glass empty dynamic involved. Half glass full is dude is only 21 and hasn’t reached full potential yet. Half glass empty is your NBA team is pretty s—-ty when your second best player is 21. Which means….
-….I hope to never see CJ Miles, Al Jefferson, or Lavoy Allen ever wear Indiana Pacers uniforms again. Miles put up 29 points combined in the four playoff losses; not surprisingly some Pacers Digest board members believe Miles is bound to be in the Hall of Fame someday, so they feel losing him from the roster would be a catastrophe. News flash: said Pacers Digest people make me feel like a nuclear physicist after reading garbage like that. (Miles is the icon in waiting that Larry Bird signed in 2014 during Bird’s offseason salary battle with Lance Stephenson; as Bird had to bring back Stephenson JUST TO MAKE THE F—-ING PLAYOFFS THIS YEAR as well as to avoid having a losing regular season record, I’d rather have Pamela Anderson’s CJ Parker from Baywatch out there on the court. Which of course led to me daydreaming about Pamela Anderson for a few moments. You’re not surprised, I know.). I’ve talked about Allen’s worthlessness before so nothing’s changed there. Jefferson? Couldn’t even get on the court during the playoff series. Hence Jefferson (the big $10 million per year addition to be the bench scorer the Pacers have been searching for since George HW Bush was in the White House) was, yes, more worthless than Allen. Enough said. Could have carted out any undrafted rookie to do what he did this year at 1/10th the cost. Then again, a Donnie Walsh team is not afraid to waste money no matter how many Indianapolis sportswriters are on the team’s payroll to tell you that the Pacers are the best franchise in professional sports……which again enforces said point about wasting said money.
TLDR: no Ellis and no Jefferson in Pacer uniforms will make me happy next year. No Allen should be a given. And the Pacers have posted records of 38-44 (no playoffs), 45-37 (losing 4 out of 7 games to Toronto in a playoff opening round) and 42-40 (losing 4 straight to Cleveland in another playoff opening round) since deciding said CJ Miles was a key member of a championship contender. CJ Miles would not be a key member of his nephew’s latest Playstation game, so….no. Miles IS good at losing NBA games, though, as he’s been doing it for 12 years now. I’d prefer the Pacers to not overpay this individual to make it a baker’s dozen. But these are the Pacers, so I’m ready for Miles to get re-signed to a $10 million annual deal and not blink twice. It’s what they do. Which means no money for….
-…Jeffrey DeMarcus Teague who supposedly will command a salary of $20 million in the open market next year. Dude actually is a competent NBA point guard on offense (top 10 in the NBA in assists, 15 points per game on the scoring front) while kind of worthless on defense (Cleveland part-time senior citizen Kyrie Irving dropped 25 points per game on Teague in the playoffs, including a 37 point effort in the second game that ensured the Pacers would get swept). Hence you could spend $20 million more usefully….like keeping Paul George in town so you could have a reason to watch the team to begin with. So Teague’s situation will be the toughest call the Pacers front office will have to make. As the front office will now be led by the man who once drafted Greg Oden over Kevin Durant and includes indiviuals who preferred George Hill over Kawhi Leonard, not real encouraging. Hence again I’m ready for that 5 year, $50 million CJ Miles contract to get inked because Pacers.
-lastly Thaddeus Charles Young is, well, Thaddeus Charles Young: an undersized power forward with an oversized contract who is underwhelming when asked to be a starter alongside a center (Turner) who prefers to shoot three pointers because Young also prefers to shoot three pointers and not really do too much to win games. Averages of 11 points and 6 rebounds a game are not iconic for an NBA starter who made $14 million this year and cost this franchise a first round pick who could have been just as productive while NOT making $14 million a year. His one good trait in my view: not being either Al Jefferson or Lavoy Allen. Yes, I’m grasping for straws on that one.
With Larry Bird deciding to take a lesser role (read: not be the main man in charge of personnel mdecision making while keeping his hopes alive of owning an NBA team by being involved with said Indiana NBA team to possibly own one day) while Kevin Pritchard (the man who picked Oden over Durant when he was the main front office dude with Portland) takes over the lead role, the Pacers front office at least acted like they are attempting to make changes to compete and not be a mediocre POS team like they’ve been the last three seasons. But if Ellis and Jefferson are still on the roster next year doing jack s–t, then I’m not going to expect too much out of Pritchard until both those dudes are long gone. Perhaps Turner will be the next great NBA legend. Perhaps this blog will be the inspiration for an Academy Award winning movie with New York Times approved actress Meryl Streep in the lead. Hence I’m not counting on an NBA championship parade in Indianapolis next summer. Nor should I, really. 40 years of losing countless NBA games that matter will do that.
Good luck, Mr. Pritchard. If you read this you know my expectations are low, but you also know that my stupid a– will watch your team next year anyway. Win win for all involved.
Oh yeah, other points….
THOUGHT FOUR: WEEKEND WALKING– growing up in Noblesville (aka Sonland City) meant riding your bike around streets with potholes and having limited options of things to do. You had a skating rink (now torn down), a Pizza Hut (now relocated), a McDonald’s (now remodeled) and emphasis on going to high school football and basketball games (the latter in which would lead me to being your dude who sat with two clipboards keeping stats for the school teams as mentioned verbatum during senior year…which at least kept me out of having to work weekends at Shoe Carnival, so there’s that). I never figured that the adult version of me would see Noblesville not have pothole plagued streets, much less look respectable to walk around in. However tax money aplenty and modernization have led to the city actually being a place that I can handle; it also has led to a place that I don’t mind walking around in for some sort of exercise or just to stay calm during weekends where one needs a break from routines like writing 15 page papers that make you want to throw furniture or throw down a fifth of the nearest available beverage.
Hence at least once a weekend I try to go for a 30 minute walk around the area. I’ve had back to back Sundays where I got to stroll through downtown into Forest Park (which was once a place with a couple bad shelters, a baseball field, a pool and a broken down minature golf course) and enjoyed the peace and quiet. I also had no problem dining downtown at the local Subway or even going by foot to McDonald’s. It leads to memories good (like the time I won the North Elementary “Hoop Shoot” basketball contest for my grade by hitting the most layup baskets in 30 seconds, which incidentally was the most I ever got to shoot in elementary school but that’s another story) and not so good (getting hit by a car one time while riding said bike). It also leads to a kind of important memory, which will be….
THOUGHT FIVE: THE PROM DATE. I’ve only babbled about this every single time I’ve posted since starting this blog last year, but I’ve talked about wanting to recap the prom because 1) it was what inspired me to start the @fitzthoughts account on Instagram while 2) then helping me to start said fitzthoughtsblog as well as 3) being influencial in what I knew I had to do to fully improve myself with my time at the Sonland ending and my time at college number one (Transylvania University of Lexington, Kentucky, aka Transy to alums and Lexington 40508 to me) beginning. Last week (May 11, to be exact) was the anniversary of said prom. Whether eating at a Ruby Tuesday’s in Anderson and seeing Anderson area youth decked out at said restaurant for their proms (which was a few years ago) or dealing with job training stuff (which was this year) I always seem to remember that particular date. While said Prom Date in question-one Sarah Jane Fox-probably has little concern on whether I am breathing, paying taxes or losing fantasy football playoff games on an annual basis, nonetheless it was kind of important. Considering I was a 5 foot 4, 200 pound freshman and felt like I had an uphill battle just to try to look like anything resembling a normal dude in high school (see here for examples) just going to the damn prom was a big deal to begin with, and to go with a beautiful girl made it even better. As if the avatar photo for the blog and (as of this typing) the Instagram account isn’t subtle enough, right?
Like I said, it was pretty important. Now it’s time for me to get off my a– and write a litte about why it was important. Or as the case tends to me, a lot.
Time to write that post then. After all, beats homework. (Plus next assignment’s not due Wednesday. Management of time in full effect.)
Thanks to any and all who read this and again Happy Mother’s Day.
Sunday morning in Central Indiana. Took me eight months-and a week off between PhD classes-to get to where I could finally conclude my blog entries about my senior year at Sonland 46060 (aka Noblesville High School). After taking two weeks off when I concluded Part 5 (see the 2-25-17 post with a picture of a Number 10 approved comic genius the late Leslie Neilsen here):
…it’s time to wrap this up because I have lots of stuff I still need to write about like good learning experiences (see the oft-mentioned future posts on The Prom Date) and better experiences (not going to undergraduate school in the state of Indiana during a time where I equated Indiana with Alcatraz). So here we go.
Quick recap from where I left off in Part 5 as well as other previous info….
Good parts of senior year: not working a dead-end job (had already done it for the summer), getting better grades, being in student government despite having little more than a fancy job title and the ability to drool over Meredith Prystas so I could stay awake in student government meetings, being on the GTFO countdown to get out of Noblesville (aka Sonland City) with graduation in late May, and most importantly having lost 60 pounds in two years to be down to 140 after tipping the scales at 200 early in my high school career. (With the exceptions of not being a felon, getting my MBA from college number four in 2015 and fraternity related info to be shared on future posts, the latter is probably my biggest accomplishment. Without doing that this post doesn’t get written because quite frankly I probably wouldn’t be alive to do it.). Oh, and in the fall semester it was great to see The Homecoming Queen in senior comp class every morning in third hour. That inspired me to stay awake and get an ‘A’ in there.
Bad parts of senior year: getting stood up for Homecoming (which was the beginning step to me saying ‘well, I think it’s best that I don’t go to college in this state unless I’m considering the priesthood’) and IMO not having the courage to go from wearing Coke bottle glasses to contacts full time. (Thanks to some hard hitting advice from The Prom Date, I took care of that come college time. Wise decision.) Being ignored in the fall by 80-90 percent of my senior classmates in periods one through three didn’t matter as much in part because 1) most of them were asleep at one time or another in said classes 2) if they were girls from my class year then they could have given two s–ts less if I had lost weight or if I had appeared in an episode of Soul Train while 3) in fairness I didn’t make too much effort to talk to people because I just wanted to GTFO of the Sonland. If the future Mrs. Marc Maloy had not not talked to me for the previous six years of junior Sonland and senior Sonland (grades 6-11), then another year wasn’t going to be too shocking. So occasionally I would get some DER DID YA USE BE FAT stares or questions and that was it.
While all that stuff set the tone for me to count down the days towards getting out of Noblesville, the West Beverly like drama of dealing with Number 10 that spring ensured that I was going to shed no tears on leaving the Hoosier State to pursue my dreams. (Mainly because thanks in part to said drama of dealing with Number 10 I figured that I did not want to throw my life down the drain while getting into some Peyton Place level b—s–t. Plus in fairness I actually wanted to go to a college where I wouldn’t place 5 to 4 odds into running into a conceited girl from the Sonland every day of the week, so things worked out pretty well. Laziness permitting…more on that stuff in future posts). And that is where Part 6 comes in-time to now cut through said s–t and recap my last semester of high school in showing how a friendship went to, well, complete s–t in a few weeks time while I found there would be much better days ahead in what would be an unlikely place for most Sonlanders to concern themselves about since it wasn’t located in a Rust Belt factory town or near Monroe Reservoir– the Bluegrass region of Lexington, Kentucky.
Now time for me to also cut said s–t and talk about said Sonland senior spring after posting the sophomore Sonland photo of Number 10 since he has helped inspire these lengthy last two posts:
(-Will get classes out of way first before Number 10 related stuff….I had Econ with wrestling coach and Purdue alum Mr. Brian Powers first hour…pre-calc with Mr. Jim May second hour…..psychology and sociology with junior varsity hoops coach and therefore main coach for Number 10 Mr. Gary Christlieb in third and fourth hours….Spanish with Mrs. Janet Balsley and the non-comedy of Number 10 in fifth hour…and lastly yearbook with Mr. Butch Robbins in sixth hour. All one needs to know is that Econ set the tone for the day because I would get to class at 7:43 or 7:44 am just before the 7:45 am bell and all these people in there looked like they ready to be extras in The Walking Dead. With the exception of ‘Earthman’ Steve Ruda asking me on Senior Skip Day-yeah, you’re not shocked I went but hold on for The Prom Date posts for that story-if I had in fact gone to prom, I really don’t remember anyone talking to me in that class for the whole 4 1/2 months. So I went in there, got an ‘A’ and therefore was not among the rumored one out of three Sonland seniors who had to take the course over again in order to graduate. Better yet, I also remember Powers-my former seventh grade football coach- asking if I went to prom because I showed up for said Senior Skip Day, so that meant two people talked to me in that class that year. Two more than expected, but in fairness I have a feeling most of these sons and daughters of Sonland USA were in similar GTFO mode so they weren’t too concerned with socializing with me. So be it.
Oh…Keely Clegg-good friend of the Homecoming Queen and Hot Sonland Chick-was in my psych class, so that made staying awake in psych all the more worthwhile. Unlike my first college psych class that I would take the following year, I got an ‘A’ in there as well. Safe to say I got much worse than an ‘A’ in said college intro psych class. Also a good time to post a photo of Keely because, well, why the f— not?
So…those were my senior spring classes. Pure excitement. Now for the drama.)
…as last mentioned in Part 5 I had the ‘honor’ of going on the first date/social function between Number 10 and Tara Lynn Walczak (hence referenced as TLW for the rest of said post) after being said go between on setting said WTF event up. It was right before Christmas…..and Christmas included Number 10 calling my household to note he got a new ride for the holidays (which I already knew about from Cliff and Mrs. Cliff and kept as a secret) while I in turn noted I did not. (I got a new pair of Adidas shoes instead.) And apparently Number 10 and TLW were not repulsed from each other. In fact far from it. So my 1991 began with wrapping up finals by mid-January…keeping stats with Young Adams and Air Bowman for the Sonland basketball teams…..seeing said Number 10 be the top player on a JV team that would end up with a 17-3 season record while not seeing the floor for said varsity since he was behind local media favorite and point guard Brady ‘Boo’ Harvey (the on-again off-again beau of previously mentioned Meredith Prystas who was also previously referenced in a comedy story where me and Young Adams drove his inebriated self to a late-night visit when said couple was apparently on the off-again stage), local legend Gary Duvall II, current Notre Dame cross country coach Matt Sparks (son of Big Jim Sparks) and one of Duvall’s main men Young Ryan White in the Noblesville Millers guard rotation. In other words despite being the JV team’s leading scorer and the only sophomore on the varsity, Number 10 (who by wearing Harvey’s number 22 when playing JV would get compared more often than not to the future DePauw University letter winner) was going to have to wait his turn in rivaling Catherine Purdy’s main son Scott Shepherd of Carmel as being a Hamilton County sophomore basketball star. So it was a common routine to see Number 10 averaging double digits in a Sonland JV victory before jogging to the locker room during the fourth quarter so dude could change from Number 22 to Number 10 for riding the pine on varsity. As the Tony Etchison led varsity Millers would compile a 16-8 record in winning their third consecutive sectional championship, safe to say Number 10 was going to have to either see the bubonic plague or wait for the 1991-92 season to be a varsity contributor. (For those who care, dude would be a starter that next year…team failed to win sectional….and dude was out of the program and apparently transferred to another school. So no Nike contract for dude. )
It was also a common routine to see the individual that Number 10 was compared to most in the program-the before referenced Harvey-look me up after games to argue about how many assists he had been credited for or other assorted mumbo jumbo. After one said argument I simply wondered if the increasing visible bad traits and ego of that Harvey (who one time took out whatever frustration he had in the pecking order of Sonland stardom behind Etchison by drawing a dirty comic showing his displeasure in being counted on as the county’s leading assist man while Etchison would average 20 points per game in becoming Noblesville High School’s all-time leading scorer before future Indiana University star and Mr. Basketball Tom Coverdale broke his record a few years later) would end up becoming a common trait of Number 10. Since Number 10 had already begun to answer that question by making fun of my family, friends not named Number 10 (particularly Young Adams) and home….well actually that question had already been answered. While it was a common routine for me to make excuses for that s–t early in 1991, as referenced shortly the excuses wore as thin as my then after weight loss 30 inch waist jeans. Dude was on the way to becoming a full-fledged (rhymes with sock).
There was also another common routine developing. That was the budding romance between Number 10 and TLW….and yours truly being asked to either be sidekick or mediator of sorts when there was drama between said two.
Off the court yours truly ended up getting some phone calls from TLW if there were arguments/lack of commitment/lack of intelligent comments made by Number 10 that an eight year old with a Ritalin addiction would not make to a girl two years his elder who ‘liked’ him. Early on in January and February this meant on some weeknights and most weekends I would be expected to roam over to TLW’s home to sit/watch TV and play Screech to Number 10’s Zach Morris and TLW’s Kelly Kapowski. Which gives me a good time to take a break to post this picture:
While I eventually would get bored of this and the increasing insults of Number 10 (stay tuned for what happens) early on it meant either renting movies that surprisingly were not The Naked Gun or Coming to America (because eventually a high school senior woman mature enough to rock most college campuses won’t put up with that s–t from dude two years younger than her if dude wants to do more than squat on the couch) or hitting Castleton to go the mall and see new releases. In turn I ended up seeing a lot of Dan Aykroyd movies….or at least two which were two more than I wanted to at the time since his box office appeal rivaled Indiana Pacers playoff success back in the early 90’s. Two of said movies are pictured below to illustrate said point:
For your side note, the second movie was the film debut of one Tupac Shukar who at the time was a background dancer for then hip hop icons Digital Underground. They appeared in the movie, and our man 2Pac rocked the Yankees swag while appearing with his man Shock G:
That’s the highlight of the second movie unless you can stand two hours of bad cinema to watch 10-15 minutes of early 90’s Demi Moore. Just take my word for it.
So if I remember these as HIGHLIGHTS of hanging out with the now Dynamic Duo in the making, you can tell that I was generally bored enough to take up needlepoint or asking myself WTF IS WRONG WITH THIS as I would put up with bad Number 10 comedy and worse Number 10 insults about me and Young Adams (Young Adams didn’t have to be there for the insults to take place, so Number 10’s Humanitarian of the Year status continued to be certified). While Young Adams may not have endeared himself to the matter when on a rare occasion he was hanging out over there once and mentioned that he shared a fondness for the music of the Grease soundtrack with TLW, nonetheless this trend of Number 10’s ego increasing (which got bigger as he found he’d be the only sophomore to play on the varsity baseball team) did not help matters. Nor did the one time that Number 10 decided he and TLW were going to grace their presence by deciding they were going to visit my house one night. I had no problem with it. Neither did the family. Yet the Number 10/TLW combo apparently did as they went straight to my room, did not acknowledge my family, listened to an LL Cool J tape while Number 10 tried to show his pimp game sitting on my bed with TLW, and then rolled out without acknowledging said family. Considering dude insulted my family, house, friends, ride, upbringing, etc……let’s just say that did not help matters. It was more than a common routine; it was a regular everyday occurrence.
As for on the court….during the varsity games of calendar year 1991 Young Adams and I would be in the press box keeping stats and notice another common trend: TLW (who had to sit on the bench as a manager) and Number 10 (sitting there warming the bench) would either try to not sit by each other and if they didn’t succeed then Number 10 would outright ignore/twitch/act uncomfortable in an OOH DER SHE GOT UM COOTIES line of approach. Because we would often hear about non-commitment or other drama from both the male and female voices of the Number 10/TLW combo, Young Adams correctly noted that both needed to s–t or get off the pot. As a dude who talked to both on the phone or wrote notes or mediated on said deal (one time Number 10 quoted me in writing TLW saying the two of them needed to spend more ‘quality’ time with each other; I know because I read the damn note word for word) then I seconded that emotion like Motown men Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. So after a couple of months of this (coincidentally around the time hoops season ended with the sectional win and subsequent regional loss in March), eventually Number 10 and TLW settled down..and you can fill in the blanks on what happened next. (To recall a quote I would later use when discussing adult life with lifelong crush Keri Caswell before Caswell would eventually have kid number two with dude she was on-again off-again with, “You’re not going to play Yahtzee.”) Good for Number 10 not having to deal with the birds and the bees; bad for anyone dealing with dude’s ego as he then became a full-fledged (rhymes with sock).
While I had no issue spending less time with Number 10 (I wasn’t planning on dealing with dude except for Spanish class since he went straight from warming the varsity hoops bench to warming the varsity baseball bench) I did have an issue with his insults. He became a (rhymes with dock) to anyone and everyone with the exception of some that he played baseball with. If dude called he would discuss the greatness of TLW and his baseball cohorts (ME GO PLAY CARDS with a “Good for you, Number 10, good for you” was common) before insulting my family and Young Adams and anyone who dared not play baseball or be named Walczak or look like a postal worker from a Boston based sitcom starring Ted Danson. While I in turn found other things to do on weekends that I was not being insulted by Number 10 (usually consisting of me, Young Adams, his man MC Burkett, Burkett’s comrade DJ Layton and the soon-to-be good friend That Son Shields hitting the movies or the mall) I also found that the less I talked to Number 10, the better. (Usually from my perspective TLW didn’t exactly try to put a stop to any of Number 10’s insults, plus she enjoyed making fun of Young Adams. Hence IMO I knew I had two people to go if I wanted someone to pull the plug on me when it was time to take me off life suppott.) And I also found his communication skills were lacking; when I was off for an entire week of school on a long planned (like several months because I did fundraisers in my spare time) school trip to our nation’s capital with Big Jim Sparks and the DC Club, IIRC Number 10 called the house to wonder what had happened since I had not missed ANY school before that time. Quite frankly (TM) it turned out to be a pretty good week because, well, there was no Number 10 related b—s— or drama to deal with. During said DC trip good friend and fellow class of ’91 man Brian Allen noted the change in my demeanor during said trip while also acknowledging the same about the Dynamic Duo’s attitudes. As Allen was a friend of mine when I was both 200 pounds as well as 140 pounds, I knew dude was shooting straight. Allen also joined me in calling Big Jim “Jim” during said trip; during a semester when I rarely smiled I smiled often. Coincidence, I think not.
Once I returned from said DC trip, I generally found that TLW (who again was in my 4th hour sociology class) usually did not talk to me unless there was an issue with Number 10…and that was fine with me as she sat on the other side of the room and I remembered that I hadn’t talked to her for six years prior so life would continue on. I also found that I was more than likely going to tell Number 10 to STFU or ignore him altogether when he decided to do his daily insulting of my family/other friends/life/existence. (This led to one time as previously noted when Pat Kastner looked at him and said ‘Why in the f— should he talk to you? All you do is make fun of him.’ Number 10 responded with an insult that he probably couldn’t have spelled, but I’ll assume that by then TLW was assisting with the homework as the requests to write comps were fewer and far between towards the end of that school year.) And in turn I counted down towards spring break (in which I visited two schools-St. Joseph’s College in Rensselear and Transylvania University in Lexington, KY-and one can already figure from before which one I picked) …my 18th birthday…and finally graduating in May while then being able to GTFO of the Sonland once and for all.
So of course it would be on my birthday weekend when I finally said ‘enough’ and stood up to said Number 10 and his b—s–t. I also basically set the tone towards ending a friendship in main part (says I, at least) due to no longer putting up with verbal abuse and put downs because there was not a BMW in my parents’ driveway nor was I having relations with a girl two years my elder. (And considering what you’ve read about me assisting in setting dude up in getting his initial action, remember that I’ve been hearing this #!$%% for quite a long while.
April 1991. My birthday was on a Sunday. My trend of the last few weeks had been hearing Number 10 (often behind my back) insulting my family’s house by calling it a shoebox. (Remember I wrote earlier that I got into fights over the size of my house back then. In an era with one out of six hungry and poverty not exactly uncommon in North America, keep in mind that is stupid s–t to say now just as it was then.) Acting like he was doing me a favor, Number 10 requested that I go out to TLW’s house to get my birthday ‘gift’ from them before they were going to do whatever they were going to that evening (which was stay at TLW’s and assumingly not play Yahtzee, Monopoly or any games made by Parker Brothers). Perhaps sensing that there was going to be an incident or to get out of the house (or more likely both), Young Adams sailed with me in the 1977 Buick to the Sherwood Schwartz inspired bungalow that the media calls West Harbour in Sonland City. It’s around 5 or 6 pm, still daylight. Me and Young Adams meet the Dynamic Duo in TLW’s front yard. Number 10 has a look on his face like he just found that he could eat a jar of marbles and not go to the hospital. TLW is TLW. For my 18th birthday I get a card that has a shoebox reference on it. Number 10 openly makes fun of me. TLW is TLW. After wondering how I could ever call this person a friend at one time or another in my life, I simply wait a minute, look at Young Adams and say “Let’s go Adams.” (Young Adams had already been insulted by these people to begin with as at the time, well, I’ll be nice and stop this sentence.) Young Adams sees I am unhappy. I simply do not say much. After all I am more than unhappy; I am !$$%^! pissed off.
Now if Aaron Spelling was at the controls we’d have a teen pregnancy or me looking for a few needles after ending up on a bender with Steve Sanders and Dylan McKay in West Hollywood. Instead we simply go to Young Adams’ house (we were going to hit the mall/hit the movies/go to Pizza Hut/cruise) and Young Adams and I speak. He does most of the speaking. I am still pissed beyond words. It is now nightfall. I decide to be simple and to the point as, well, I was having enough of being treated like s–t.
All we did was simply sail back out to said TLW location, with me leaving the car running and Young Adams asking what I was going to do. Said I: “Watch.” I simply took said gag gift/insult card, walked up to the new ride of Number 10, may or may not have spit/ripped said card up, yelled out a similar statement to what Catherine Purdy had told me to do over the phone back in the fall (read: go f— yourself) and then sailed off with Young Adams. IIRC the Dynamic Duo watched yet did nothing. I in turn did not cut a promo like a coked up Macho Man Randy Savage circa 1987; instead I decided that was the last time I was going to talk or deal with Number 10 or TLW (TLW claimed they spent an hour trying to figure out what card to buy me, so at the time I no longer wanted to deal with her either). Young Adams was impressed that I had gone back out there to begin with; he was more impressed that I basically decided to give back said card/gift because it was the equal of NOT HAVING THIS S— BRO SO F— OFF. That’s when I DID cut my promo and simply said “I don’t give a flying f— if I EVER talk to them again. F— this s—.’
So me and Young Adams, yes, cruised, went to the mall, and ended up at Pizza Hut that night. I officially turned 18 by sailing said Buick in the streets of Sonland City. Since it wasn’t going to be with a paid hooker from Vegas, so be it.
The next day-my birthday-was a Sunday. If you’ve read this you’re not surprised that I was having nothing to do with Number 10, TLW or anyone related to them. You’re also not surprised that my father took me and Young Adams to an Indiana Pacers game that afternoon. Nor are you surprised that I’m going to paste the link to said game here:
The Pacers won that day to keep their playoff hopes alive as they would soon get do the job to Boston in the first round of said NBA playoffs. Young Adams being Young Adams, we of course ran down to the concourse by the court and walked past none other than future Hall of Famer and 1990s icon Dennis Rodman in the Market Square Arena tunnel by the locker room. I’ll look to post that ticket stub when my well past 18th birthday comes in later weeks. In the meantime, no Number 10, no issues.
Apparently Number 10 tried to call later that evening. I let the family know there would be no calls from Number 10. I had told Young Adams that I was not planning on speaking to him again. And for the next few days I kept that promise.
The next day-Monday-school was back in session in the Sonland. While it’s been established most of my senior peers that were in my classes didn’t really give a s–t if I breathed or not and therefore I didn’t talk to most of them…….I was more surly and quiet than usual. With the exception of Nancy Boosel in yearbook and the before mentioned Pat Kastner in Spanish (more on that in a moment) I don’t remember speaking to anyone for 2-3 days….and that included TLW as I simply would not look at her or speak to her in 4th hour sociology. Since my birthday had been the day before , of course my Spanish class sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me in Spanish…and Number 10 kept yelling and trying to talk to me while I had none of it and only talked to Kastner. Same went for Tuesday. On Wednesday someone asked me in said sociology class if I was okay as I had basically scowled for three straight days. I noted there were some issues with ‘friends’. Not like I’m King S–t or anything but I then looked across the room at TLW to cap off my answer and said (you knew this was coming) “With friends like that, then who the f— needs enemies?” The message had been given.
I continued to not talk to said couple on Thursday. I know that for a fact because at the end of the school day I walked right by said couple-who were holding hands during a stroll in the orange carpeted foreign language hallways-and simply ignored them without acknowledging them. I wanted no part of them. Period. And college was looking more appealing by the minute. Then again so was giving myself a lobotomy then dealing with them.
I had kept my word to Young Adams for the majority of a school week. I was planning to make that a full school week until a phone call that evening.
The call was from TLW.
No introduction as to her credit she went straight to her questioning. “Are you mad at me?” she asked in a Bette Davis approved voice. (Best comparison I can make as it sure as #!$% didn’t sound like, well, Kelly Kapowski.)
My reply: “Not necessarily you. However your boyfriend isn’t on my Christmas card list.” (Ironic since the card deal was what p–sed me off the most.)
I let TLW know that I could care less if Number 10 got lost in the jungles of Uganda and basically her getting said card with him made me associate her with said Number 10. I again was told that the duo spent over an hour trying to find a card for me. (That obviously went well. A flaming bag of cat s–t would have been better.) I also agreed to a truce of sorts (get ready because this will be a trend): I was to meet TLW at none other than Pizza Hut on Saturday afternoon to discuss said situation. All I needed was for Pizza Hut to be renamed the Peach Pit and we would have had our next 90210 episode in the wings. Out of curiousity, comedy or both I agreed to said meeting. Better her than Number 10. At least TLW would have been able to find the place without needing a map and compass.
Incidentally, that next day-Friday-at school-I finally acknowledge Number 10 at the end of said Spanish class after he yelled my name a few dozen times. I simply said “this has not been a good week.” Not much more was said.
So…Saturday. Around noon or so, yours truly sails the 1977 Buick to Pizza Hut. I’m rocking the Nike windbreaker that I posted before (the one I wore to the Young MC concert that I went to with the Homecoming Queen.) Words and advice from said HQ were in the back of my mind as I roamed onto Westfield Road. As a result I was prepared for our next Aaron Spelling approved scene to roll, only without cameras.
I walk in to a sparsely crowded Hut and see TLW sitting by herself. The persona, tone and facial expressions used were, well, like Bette Davis in that Hotel show from the early 80s…….
Long story short-I pull up a chair, sit it in backwards and listen to TLW speak 90 percent of the time. Main things I get from the meeting-besides TLW reminding me of a 77 year old actress-is that I am to play nice with her main squeeze Number 10….and that it apparently was still okay for her to rip on Young Adams as she had a few choice words about him. Considering that 1) Young Adams was my friend since growing up three houses down from each other iwhile 2) unlike TLW and Number 10, yours truly and Young Adams grew up in said Sonland City, were from families long based from Sonland City and therefore 3) really didn’t need to be dictated about social standing SINCE THIS WAS F—ING NOBLESVILLE INDIANA IN 1991….that was probably not the wisest thing to do. So I left said Hut simply saying to myself “This happened” while awaiting the next round of insults or chicanery. Hence I would not be surprised if I was going to get a cameo by Brenda or BrandonWalsh before the month was over….though as soon to be shown, Kelly Taylor would have been the personal preferred choice.
Better yet, since said Taylor made me think about The Prom Date, here’s said photo for thought:
Needless to say, you would have had a better chance of President Trump complimenting the work of The New York Timesthan expecting Number 10 to learn his lesson about being a c–k and making fun of his friends. So a few days later in what would be my third to last appearance out at Number 10’s home of Cliff and Mrs. Cliff, Number 10-in full front of TLW-of course not only insulted my family and Young Adams but also my toughness. We ended up for some reason wrestling each other….and while I was surely not 1989 Mike Tyson I responded to Number 10’s b—s–t by punching him in the face. Number 10 was shocked, backed off and looked at me in the YOU NO SUPPOSED DO THAT ME NUMBER 10 WITH SENIOR GIRLFRIEND expression. TLW had a blank facial expression with an open mouth that resembled what Mrs. Cliff and the younger brother of Number 10 would sport on occasion (which made sense as she was now spending more time out there…including IIRC some overnights as Number 10 had switched weekend visitors. In fairness, better he make advances on her if he needed someone to play doctor with.) I simply smiled as the message again had been given. Coincidence or not, Number 10 tried no more physical s–t nor said much more to me on a face to face basis. (He’d do a good job in saying stuff behind my back, but we’re not surprised about that. After all, no one’s perfect. Better yet, read on to what happens next.)
Needless to say, things got worse. Quite frankly I was ready for confrontation and I was ready to verbally go off on people if I heard rumors or insults about me (see my original August 2016 post about dealing with The Eight Sons on this). This in turn led to a confrontation with me and Cliff over the s–t Number 10 was pulling and my refusal to put up with said s–t. …and in turn led to another Saturday summit (see the trend?) that took place on May 4, 1991….which I remembered because it was a Saturday that was not only my father’s 50th birthday but was a week before meeting up with, yes, The Prom Date. (For your added 90210 style comedy, I was supposed to be DOUBLE DATING with Number 10 and TLW to this prom. Keep that in mind with all you may have read, because obviously I had a feeling this prom thing was not going to happen as planned and therefore safe to say I was ready for other plans come prom time…..like no prom at all. More info to come in future posts as that played into how everything went during prom weekend.) While there were issues with other individuals that were my friends whom Number 10 had regularly insulted because apparently there just wasn’t enough oxygen getting to the brain for him to comprehend that he wasn’t exactly making friends with his behavior, our man Cliff decided to ring me at home that morning to invite me out to the Cliff Compound. I may never be confused with Clint Eastwood but I had no trouble accepting the invite because I also didn’t expect to speak to anyone related to Number 10, Cliff, TLW or TLW’s Buffalo Bills after this. I no longer gave two s—s about anything and was tired of anything that had to do with the Sonland….and as far as I was concerned The Man Called Cliff had drawn the lines in the sand.
There as Number 10 and TLW…..and there was everyone else who was to bow down to them. Since Cliff IMO apparently viewed TLW as the wife-in-training of Number 10 (including overnight stays to do more than play Nintendo), then TLW was the Daughter of the Industry and the new icon in making. They were above me and Young Adams. ‘No they’re not you mailman looking m—-f—–‘ I thought to myself as I remember this same family had insulted mine for way too long. Hence I was prepared for anything.
To be quick and quit the babble…
……I sail the Buick out there. I am p–sed because I am ready for anything since I trusted Number 10 as far as my then 140 pound scrawny a– could throw an elephant. Of course TLW answers the door. Of course I simply said “WHERE’S CLIFF?” as I was directed to the family room. Cliff called me by my first name. No Number 10. No Mrs. Cliff. TLW-who did not say another word to me-stayed in the background. Cliff and I have a frosty discussion with the same references that I am now a piece of s–t for standing up to Number 10. I simply said (paraphrasing) ‘your son is not my friend, I’m tired of him insulting my family and my friends, and if you want I’ll plan on never speaking to you, your son or your family again.’ I also noted that my issues were with his son, who was nowhere to be found. (You’ll find out where he was shortly.)
For comedy, Cliff asked “What about prom?” My answer: “What about it?” (This made me laugh because both then and now it was one of my best lines.) After Cliff offered that poor white trash like myself should not be going to prom in a 1977 Buick (more on that when discussing The Prom Date in full) I simply responded that I’d rather take a #$!$$! Greyhound bus then be in the same car with his boy Number 10. The main points: I was tired of being treated like s–t, did not want to deal with the Golden Couple and when it came to not setting foot in the Cliff Compound or dealing with said Golden Couple I had deadpanned (paraphrasing) “That can be arranged.”
As me and Cliff were in the midst of our verbal jousting, all of a sudden Mrs. Cliff shows up in the area…and walking a few paces behind her with his head staring down at the floor with puppy dog eyes looking like someone had just told him that TLW had given him a permanent case of the clap (or that Santa Claus did not exist as it was a similar look) was the Son of Sons, the World’s Greatest Athlete, He Who Did No Wrong…yep, good ol’ Number 10.
Number 10 never spoke. I also never had any respect for Number 10 after that moment.
As Mrs. Cliff did the usual HE JUST JOSHIN’ HE NO MEAN TO CALL YOU WHITE TRASH YOUNG ADAMS IS BAD BAD BAD spiel, I simply wondered why in the blue hell I had decided to drive out to this place on Labor Day weekend to assist this so-called piece of humanity with his homework and told Mrs. Cliff that I disagreed and would prefer to hear it from Number 10 himself. Since dude never spoke, I never heard it from him. After hearing more insults about Young Adams, I also for once in my life made damn sure to utter “Adams isn’t here to defend himself.” (Then again, my take is that wasn’t in the game plan.) But Number 10’s imitation of the penguin that used to appear on those old Bugs Bunny cartoons and cry with tears turning into ice cubes was enough to show me that as far as I was concerned, I had won by standing up to him and not backing down from a one on four situation. It also ensured me in knowing what I call the RULE OF THE SONLAND: it’s okay for a bully to insult or bully someone, but it’s NOT okay for that someone to stand up for themselves and return the favor. I already knew it when dealing with The Eight Sons as I lost my weight and gained some self-respect; now that self-respect was back after dealing with Number 10. I may not have gone through the proper storybook measures to do it, but I did it.
And yes, here’s a photo of said penguin:
I also now had all the incentive I needed to succeed outside of the Sonland. Just writing these last 7,000 words proves that in my view I was able to do that. It also proves that I could be the instigator of a good filibuster on the Senate floor down the road..or that I’m just pretty damn long winded.
For your comedy of wrapping this up…..the Cliff Summit ended with two things happening (the first being a prelude to what I’d be dealing with at Transylvania four years later come graduation time):
-the first was in essence a gentleman’s agreement between myself and Cliff (remember, Number 10 never spoke as he hid…er, stood behind his mother) in which I was not going to f— Number 10’s prom up. Apparently I was still going to be double dating at this prom with him, TLW and The Prom Date. Then again, perhaps it was best so someone could give Number 10 directions as he once got lost driving around I-465 looking for downtown one Sunday when I rode with him and his future varsity backcourt mate Brad Coverdale. Since Number 10 quit insulting me to my face after that (actually, he didn’t speak to me much besides small talk in that Spanish class) that was probably the main reason I was needed for the evening anyway. And since dude got lost on the way to Kings Island prom weekend, I think that kind of confirmed it.
-the other was an order or declaration of sorts from Cliff that I remember to this day: “Stay away from Adams. He’s nothing but trouble.” I told Cliff (paraphrasing) that I’d give it the consideration it deserved. And since Young Adams already knew about the Cliff Summit because I had called him before I went out to the Cliff Compound (IIRC he was impressed that I was going out there by myself to confront them) then of course you’re not surprised that later that evening I went straight over to Young Adams’s crib and gave him the rundown…complete with final Cliff quote. Since Cliff was supposedly friends with Young Adams’s father AND (according to Young Adams) said Young Adams was one of Number 10’s very first friends when Number 10 moved to the Sonland schools without knowing anyone else…..all the more reason that you should also not be surprised to read that I decided to never set foot in Number 10’s house again once May 11, 1991 (i.e. Prom Night with The Prom Date) concluded.
I’m not the best at keeping my word on things, but I did keep my word on that. (Also helps that the Cliff Compound has been replaced by a subdivision so it no longer exists).
So when I do discuss senior prom on the next main post, I’ll admit that I went out to Cliffland that next Saturday with The Prom Date (Number 10 wanted me to drive out there so he in turn could drive all of us to prom and obviously avoid seeing my family) that I knew it was the end of an era. I also knew that I could handle myself if there was an issue that evening but the main thing was to make it through said evening and just be happy I was going to prom in the first place….while also knowing that I had stood up for myself, friends and family in the process. It was a good lesson to learn with college on the horizon because there would be some times where I would have to stand up for myself in good old Lexington as well. Doing so in a place like the Sonland-Noblesville High School-while dealing with Number 10 was damn good practice.
Oh, to conclude things…..later that month after prom, this happened:
I finally did get out of the Sonland. Mission accomplished. FINALLY.
Thanks to any and all who put up with my ramblings as I summarize with this: bullying should not be tolerated. Nor should rudeness. I dealt with both in school. I feel I prove that I could overcome it. And with that being said I give the same message to Number 10, TLW and anyone else out there that I gave to the Eight Sons back when I wrote about their petty b—s— and insults last August. Better yet, here’s the message in full:
“You may have families now. You may have children now. If so, congrats and good for you. But as I type this very sentence with God as my witness, I have this to say to you: I hope and pray that your children never, EVER treat any man, woman or living creature the way you individuals treated me back during those first two years of high school. I was lucky enough to overcome it and make something of myself. But not everyone may be as fortunate as I was or be blessed like I was to get the job done and overcome your ridicule. Think about that. Better yet, pray your children aren’t getting the s–t from others that you Eight Sons gave to me.”
Switch Eight Sons for Number 10 (and to a smaller extent for her words on Young Adams, TLW) along with “first two years” to “last year” of the Sonland and we’re set.
As for Number 10…..if you want comedy, look at dude’s current LinkedIn page. Plus as a thank you to those who actually plowed through what is now 8,000 words of me recapping what inspired me to go have a good college career outside of the Noblesville, Indiana area, here’s your current photo of Number 10 from said LinkedIn page:
Now off the soapbox again. Next time there’s a Prom Date to discuss. And that alone should be some fine much needed comedy in itself.
Best wishes and thanks to all who may read this or anything else on the Fitzthoughtsblog.
Friday night in Central Indiana. Diet Coke on ice, paper to write, but first GIF of the day to post.
As mentioned before that son called Number 10 loved him some Leslie Nielsen movies….actually just one movie, The Naked Gun. So if I’m going to throw down with a Leslie Nielsen related GIF from that film, might as well include a former Heisman Trophy winner in the mix as well:
And that was just the beginning for ‘The Juice.’
Happy Weekend to all-should be back Sunday with the conclusion of that Number 10 saga. And yes I’ve watched OJ flip a dozen or so times before typing this.
Thursday evening in Central Indiana. Non-paper related homework for class is now complete. Final paper for class due in 51 hours. Answer to “is the paper done?” is the same as “Will a Tom Crean coached Indiana team win the NCAA title this year?” Yes, you figured as much. Call me consistent.
With 90’s media man Luke Perry set to take the airwaves in tonight’s newest edition of the new epic from The CW called Riverdale, yours truly thought about two topics that personally tied together for that era: Perry’s iconic 90’s show Beverly Hills 90210 and none other than soon to be profiled in-depth once my final paper gets done….The Prom Date herself, one Sarah Jane Fox (aka the gorgeous Hot Sonland Chick who is pictured in the blog’s avatar with some goofy looking f— in a tux.) Hence this GIF of the Day from when Brenda and Kelly ended up rocking the same gear to their West Beverly prom:
Hey, I say they both look great. Then again I’m the dumba– m—-f—- who’s finding 25 year old GIFs to post in place of writing a doctoral paper on qualitative analysis, so of course you also figured I’d have that opinion.
Best wishes to all in cyberspace as the weekend is on the horizon.
Wednesday evening in Central Indiana as March begins. Actually did my non-paper related homework for class, so that’s a good thing. Now a 5-10 page paper to do before Saturday at midnight. Put two and two together on what I’m doing on said Saturday.
On the personal tip, started out March pretty well with some good job news. Hoping to have more on that around the start of May. Stay tuned.
In celebration of said news, no time like any to break out a Carlton Banks GIF:
….and f— it, I’m adding one with that him and that Fresh Prince fellow for good measure:
Ah, the 90’s. I miss that decade. Also means I am not too far off from an AARP card. To quote former Sonland High all-time crush Keri Caswell, “Ugh.”
Couldn’t have said it any better, Dream Girl.
Hope to get said final paper done soon as the conclusion of The Saga of Number 10 is on the horizon…and of course the eternal need to recap the story of The Prom Date. Lots of comedy in the latter. Not as much as what Smith and Ribeiro brought back in the day, but IMO one can come close when sailing a 1977 Buick to their prom. (Probably best to stop after that as it can only go downwards from ‘1977 Buick’. Yeah, good choice.)
Thanks to any and all in cyberspace who may actually read this blog. Have a great March.
Happy Sunday to everyone out there. Last night I talked about the first half of my senior year at the Sonland (aka Noblesville High) and mentioned two bits of pop culture that usually go hand in hand with the year 1990 as well as my one time friend Number 10. One was the future six-time NBA champion and fashion icon Michael Jordan; the other was the 1990 holiday film icon Home Alone. Said GIF below combines both as MJ helped keep the peace while the young Mac Culkin was getting down solo in his crib:
Now Young Mac may be enjoying himself JUST a bit much there, so I’ll assume he just found the spiked eggnog. Good for him.
Final class paper due Saturday, wish me luck.
Thanks to any and all who read these and have a good week.
Saturday evening in central Indiana. As usual found dealing with Comcast is, well, dealing with Comcast. But I already knew that. Still not fun to deal with dudes or whatever they are on the phone. Safe to say long-term business with said dudes is going down the toilet like, yes, the Pacers’ season. (Had to get that out of the way, now I’m good on the bad pro sports team references. And yes I’ve heard those Paul George trade rumors all week. Led to one man calling himself Trader Joe on the Pacers Digest message board to call Pacer front office honcho Larry Bird a “coward” for how Bird was running the team. The day said Joe tells said Bird that face to face will be the December day that I wake up and see Kate Upton wrapped underneath my Christmas tree. I assume dude is not handling seeing the departure of George Hill too well. Should that be the case, I suggest a good shrink may be in order for said dude.)
Still have Prom Dates and fraternity pledgeship and actually having fun in college (in huge part because college wasn’t in Noblesville, Indiana aka Sonland City) but in order to get that I need to get through discussing senior year at the Sonland (aka Noblesville High School). And in order to deal with that, I need to deal with a topic that I really haven’t dealt with much the last couple of decades because quite frankly thinking about it was the equal of thinking about getting a colon cleansing or vasectomy (or watching this year’s Tom Crean led Indiana basketball squad, which coincidentally will be tipping off an hour from the completing of this sentence.) That topic that I just compared to dealing with bad bowel movements? A continuation of Part 4’s conclusion in dealing with the schoolmate that I simply classify as Number 10. (Link to Part 4 at 2-20-17: Senior Year in the Sonland Part 4: Yearbook, Dick’s Class and Number 10)
Over two decades ago there was a time that I considered said Number 10 to be a best friend, even a brother type figure. But that all would change during the midst of my senior year at the Sonland, and as mentioned before it would lead me to say to myself “getting out of the state of Indiana for school won’t be a bad thing….in fact it will be a $!^@$ good thing.” Proved to be right on that one. In fact if I didn’t go out of state for said college I probably wouldn’t have had a decent life thus far. And I wouldn’t be able to have learned that something that Tony Soprano once said to young son A.J. in the midst of the classic HBO show The Sopranos: “Family: they’re the only ones you can depend on.”
Thanks to Number 10 I found that the fictional Mafia man was one correct individual, and in turn I learned to live by another favorite personal quote of mine: “With friends like (Number 10), then who in the f— needs enemies?”
Which leads us back to Number 10.
Also leads to the need for me to cut the b—s— and get going on why dude could have pointed me towards a lot of self-doubt….. but in turn led me to have perhaps the best four years of my life via finding out there was more to life than being in Sonland City USA and being told I was a piece of s–t because I did not live out by Morse Reservoir in a 1960’s built house suited for the likes of Marsha Brady and the cast of Eight is Enough. Yes, I got in fights over the size of my house. Yes, when it came to topics like intelligence and acutal awareness of the world around them if brains and common sense were dynamite then some of these Sonlanders (like, well, Number 10) would not have been able to blow up a gnat. And yes I can only shake my head that I did not end up pulling a Samuel L. Jackson from the movie Pulp Fiction because quite frankly I would have rather been stuck in an elevator with Roseanne Barr than to dealt with that kind of s–t back then. Hence the mentality of Number 10 was not the mentality I needed for the 1990’s…thought the 1890’s might have welcomed the youngster’s way of thinking. In other words in the time frame of six months dude became an outright (rhymes with DOCK) and someone I loathed. And considering that this would be the dude that I ended up double dating with for PROM.…yes, what could have been a p-ss poor teen drama on the CW Network was luckily avoided thanks in part to me deciding to stand up for myself and not be treated like s–t…oh, and going to a college that I wanted to as opposed to a college where I would have been on the potential eight year plan in Muncie or on the potential three month drop out plan in Bloomington. Or in other words without a degree and probably working at your local sporting goods store while claiming night school was around the corner in another year or five.
But ironically back in September 1990 (my senior year of Sonland), those kind of thoughts weren’t close to being on the horizon. In fact things were quite the opposite.
Going back to the end of Part 4 for quick recap…as mentioned earlier dude was in my fifth hour Spanish class. Dude had called me the evening of Labor Day needing help with Spanish homework. Sailed the 1977 Buick out there, met Cliff and Mrs. Cliff, homework got done, I got to see the tour of the Number 10 family home (bedrooms upstairs, Number 10 having the prerequisite Michael Jordan posters from Nike that all basketball playing Hoosier teens had back in the day)…and that was that. I sailed home and didn’t think much of it. I sure as f— didn’t think I’d be back out there to visit Number 10 anytime soon…..
…..and as established many a time in Part 4, as illustrated by our 45th Chief Executive, I was JUST a bit….
The next day in class Number 10 made it a point to talk to me. That evening after school Number 10 made it a point to call me at home. This became frequent. Even more frequently was me visiting or going over to his home on weekends. Dudes usually crashed at other dudes’ houses back then in part because teenagers needed something to do if not getting d—k or l–d or debating the validity of the upcoming Gulf War. So it got to the point where that fall semester I was over at the home of Number 10 on every Friday and Saturday evening before rolling back to my home on Sunday evening (with the exception of one weekend where Number 10 decided to show his greatness by visiting my house-and note the sarcasm because that’s where business begins to pick up on dude’s ego increase- and a second Saturday where Number 10 joined Young Adams and MC Burkett on a triple date to the Homecoming Dance that as mentioned previously yours truly got stood up to by one Aimee Allison). While CW showrunners would have wanted me and Number 10 to be the equal of what the Kevin and Moose characters were doing in the series premiere of the show Riverdale , thankfully for all of mankind that sure as #!$%$ was not the case. Instead basically dude and I became best friends to where he was calling every evening to shoot the s–t on sports, school and -of course because we were teenage dudes in 1990 Sonland City-women, or if good looking women Hot Sonland Chicks.
For that first semester of my senior year, if anyone wondered where in the blue hell I was at when calling my home they could probably figure out I was. And if someone wondered where Number 10 was at, they could also put two and two together and figure out who he was with whether it be Glendale for the movies, Castleton for wandering the mall, Carmel to buy music or Lafayette Square to buy his new Adidas Artillery sneakers for basketball season (in which for trivia purposes I received $40 in gas money from Cliff for sailing said 1977 Buick to make the purchase, which admittedly beat stocking the shelves at Shoe Carnival) then they usually put two and two together and figured that dude was with with the gent who is typing this sentence. That was how things were. And quite frankly I considered Cliff and Mrs. Cliff to be surrogate parents. In fact at the time I thought the world of them to where I would do stuff with them that I would not even do with my own family like going out to dinner for New Year’s Eve or going to the movies. Today’s me is ashamed I typed that, but Sonland senior year me thought that was acceptable. Meaning Sonland senior year me needed a swift kick in the groin to know better considering what Number 10 related drama I would be dealing with in the spring. (And a baseball bat to the cranium also would have done the trick as well. I simply was not thinking clearly, period.)
In other words I thought the world of Number 10 and considered him to be my closest friend…period.
I also got used to a routine that led me to be in the best shape of my life and kept me at 140 pounds throughout that senior year (as opposed to the 200 I weighed as a Sonland freshman). That routine was late night Fridays, all day Saturdays (when not at movies or the mall) and all day Sundays of either playing football (Number 10’s younger brother was the quarterback/center, and for your additional trivia he would be the Boys Club basketball teammate of future Indiana University hoops great Tom Coverdale with Cliff and Coverdale’s dad as coaches) or going to the before referenced Number 10 family barn from Part 4 that had been converted into a basketball court. We played a lot of one on one hoops, H-O-R-S-E, and so forth…as mentioned before via the photo on the Instagram account (@fitzthoughts) Number 10 was soon to be the only sophomore on the varsity basketball team while I was simply your basketball statistician. So you can figure out how most of the games went. (Though there would be comedy if I actually beat him or blocked his shot because he would get mad and say DER DAT A FOUL NAW WAY U BLOCK MAHSHOT.) While I was generally the Washington Generals to dude’s Harlem Globetrotters, at the same time I was undoubtedly in the best shape of my life. Also beat sacking groceries or stocking shoes for s—-y pay while generally helping me in not being too concerned about most of the seniors that could care less if I breathed or not in my senior-laden classes of that fall like senior comp, math and the ‘Shoe’s Class’ of classic literature where I would often say to myself “I don’t really like most of these m—–f—–s because they treated me like s–t when I was overweight, and I sure as f— give two s—s about what they think about me right now.’ As a result I was not too concerned about missing things like building the senior float or what fictional road trip had taken place.,,,and that was in part to knowing I already was probably hanging out with Number 10 and family to begin with.
While I served as Number 10’s scrimmage ‘competition’ for said basketball, I also in turn helped dude with homework….particularly Spanish and English. I ensured dude got B’s and C’s in the former while ensuring dude got B’s in the latter…..with the latter being ironic because Number 10’s English teacher also happened to be my senior comp teacher, one Carol Devine (which led me to call my comp class ‘Carol’s Class’, and since I had one of the two highest grades in said class I figured I could do as such.) Save for talking to soon the soon to be Homecoming Queen and good friend Danny Davis, the only time I ever had anyone look at me or pay attention to my existence in that fall in Carol’s Class was when Carol read one of my papers out to the entire class since I got said highest grade. It was the only time I remember Candi Streich and Jenni Snelling looking at me that semester (both had grins similar to what one might have if they see their neighbor has a three legged house pet), so obviously it was one of those memories that stands out more often than not.
Ironically enough, in a high comedy moment the same thing happened to Number 10 in his sophomore version of Carol’s Class.
Number 10 had a big composition assignment (IIRC it was his big paper of the semester) to do. Number 10 was as good a writer as I was a dental surgeon. So yours truly had the honor of assisting with said comp. We had to pick a topic that Number 10 was familiar with and could write-or in this case talk-a lot about. You probably figured from earlier sentences that Michael Jordan would be the choice. Thanks to my Sports Illustrated collection (swimsuit issues notwithstanding) and my time in yearbook I got enough information where I would take a couple of Number 10 quotes…include them with Jordan stats ranging from points scored per game to endorsement money…and I, er, we crafted together a fair little writing assignment one evening when not playing pickup basketball. For tribute to said Jordan since Number 10 had enough posters of said Chicago Bull on the walls, here’s one of said posters:
…and better yet, here’s another one:
When it comes to knowing useless information for times like this, I tend to know more than my fair share. Then again you would expect nothing less from a Dilton Doiley clone who remembers-and previously posted-the actual windbreaker jacket he work the night he went out with (said for dramatic effect) the future homecoming queen Trina Byers. (And yes, I still get giddy whenever I type a sentence like that.)
Back on topic….Where father of Number 10 Cliff asked if Number 10 had done any work on the project, I assured Cliff that Number 10 had been there for the writing. (You can read between the lines there.) The result was Number 10 getting a 93 percent (aka he got an ‘A’) from the usually tough grading Carol and thus had the highest grade in HIS class….plus, yes, Number 10 got to have our, er, HIS Jordan composition read out to his entire class. (IIRC Pat Kastner had noted the comedy effect of the situation by saying -paraphrasing-‘We(the non-Carol students) knew he couldn’t have written that, and we figured out it had to be you since you knew your sports.’) While Mrs. Cliff was proud that Young Number 10 got the dap from Carol by getting our, er, his Jordan essay read out loud, I in turn had helped keep dude eligible for his upcoming gig as varsity basketball roster filler and junior varsity basketball star (plus he could play baseball in the spring too without issue). Plus I impressed myself because IIRC I had told Kastner ‘well, since I’ve got her for comp class I know how things go.’ Indeed I did as I proved to be a capable Number 10 clone in the written word. (And to this day that still cracks me up. Plus if someone asks WHY HE ONLY GET 93? my answer is simply that I couldn’t be TOO obvious.)
So I’ve established that fall I helped him with schoolwork, was out there at his place 24-7, drove him around before he got his license, went to movies and the mall when not playing pickup ball and generally talked to him 24-7. I even remember the movies we went to see (for example one Saturday afternoon in October we went to see Rocky V at Glendale, and for New Year’s we saw The Bonfire of the Vanities at Castleton.) And you’re not surprised that if we went to a video store we would end up renting, yes, The Naked Gun. (Dude’s second favorite choice if the OJ Simpson classic was not available was Coming to America starring 1980’s media love child Eddie Murphy. That movie was actually on cable TV a couple of nights ago. You’re not shocked I watched it, and you’re also not shocked who I thought of since I had seen it a dozen times or so in the past.) Also in between hanging out and apparently becoming best friend and confidant of someone who was two years younger and the opposite of me (him being a popular name with his class as their top athlete, me not necessarily being a popular name with my class other than the DO HE LOSE WEIGHT? looks I sometimes got as a not-so-athlete from those who were not prioritizing the life’s work of W. Axl Rose at the moment) I found out three key themes when it came to Number 10. These are kind of important because they in turn set the foundation for the next semester and-in my view, at least-the increased ego of Number 10 that would lead to the end of our friendship:
.* first of all, the backstory on Number 10 is he lived in the Hamilton Southeastern school district but Cliff and Company paid tuition for dude to go to the Sonland for said Sonland sports since at the time Southeastern sports were not iconic. Move was made in junior high, and during that timeframe Number 10 had one steady girlfriend of note (literally as you’ll soon see) that he thought of often. I had mentioned her before because she was one of the Hot Sonland Chicks who had signed my yearbook at Tracy Richardson’s back to school party before I went to college…one Sonland girls soccer star and attractive blonde Catherine Purdy. The polite way to put it: IMO Catherine was basically the female version of Number 10 in being the top female athlete of her class; combine that with their blonde hair colors and they had at least two things in common besides the ability to maintain oxygen. (I was going to post a picture of the then sophomore Catherine to validate her being said Hot Sonland Chick, but no such luck. Which makes perfect sense with what will be typed soon since it won’t be the first time that dealing with her would unknowingly cause some issues for yours truly.). Number 10 talked a lot about Catherine…I know because he talked to ME a lot about Catherine. I knew that he kept ALL of his notes that Catherine had wrote to him during said junior high romance due to the fact that I SAW all of said notes and got to read them. And when Number 10 decided that he wanted to try to socialize for the first time after school hours with the now high school Catherine, I know that he wanted to call her. I know this because HE ASKED ME TO MAKE THE CALL FOR HIM. So one weekend evening when Catherine apparently did not have a soccer game yours truly called the Purdy residence in order to see if Catherine wanted to socialize. Catherine responded by nicely telling me (and indirectly Number 10) in a round about way to go find the nearest body of water and submerge myself in it. (Yeah, after that happened I didn’t expect her to sign my yearbook either. So perhaps I called her at the wrong time of the month.) Hence no rekindling for Number 10 on his junior high romance. Also no expectations for me to go to get an invite to the Purdy household unless hell was having a sell on frozen ice.
(EDIT ON 2/26-finally learned how to use the caption stuff on these blogs so you the reader can see the photo of Catherine that shut down my computer for an hour last night. Number 10’s ex in full effect below…)
Now if Catherine had actually not told me in a round about way to go f— myself during that one phone call….let’s just say things could have ended up a lot different for my senior year. As in A HELL OF A LOT. If you’re still reading this, thanks very much for not being too bored about reading about my ghostwriting ability as I refer you to read on to find out how Catherine’s NO would indirectly effect my senior year and subsequent future. (And for your additional SIDENOTE…Catherine would eventually date Number 10’s Carmel counterpart in basketball circles, one Scott Shepherd. And the year after that when Number 10 would eventually be dating the female that you’ll read about at the conclusion of this post, Catherine would move on to date Number 10’s teammate one Brad Coverdale. Which leads to the irony that as of this writing Shepherd’s family insurance firm is now the employer of one ypunger brother of Brad….yes, TomCoverdale.. Yeah, I have too much free time, but we’ve established that many a time. Hence we shall move on.)
*second thing of note was finding out that Number 10 was not particularly fond of YoungAdams. I would get both sides of the story throughout this year, but the short version from the Number 10 side of things was that Young Adams was someone to not regularly hang out with because Young Adams liked to invite himself to other people’s events (hence earning the nickname Sector 15 (shortened to Sector) for supposed tracking skills via locating others’ location via map/ESP/area ‘sectors’ and such) and thus Number 10 apparently thought Young Adams was not of the same ilk. This was news to me in particular because on one October Saturday night that did not involve Homecoming both Number 10 and Young Adams sailed along with yours truly in the 1977 Buick to go see the Charlie Sheen/Emilio Estevez movie Men at Workat the Glendale cinemas. For effect of seeing the Estevez brothers together (and to go along with an Instagram post from earlier last year) here’s the movie poster from said classic cinema piece:
Quite frankly I liked the movie. I also remember Young Adams ordering eight bucks worth of candy and cola, but then again you figured as such. And the Brothers Sheen got our cash at full price. But I should have expected trouble in later months…which in fact would be the case.
However Young Adams was not the only recipient of Number 10’s verbal scorn, and that in turn is where things should I take blame for not taking care of business early on in order to involve the rocky road that would be coming up that spring….
*To be polite and not throw out a lot of expletives….Number 10 was not a big fan of my family or my home. I know because he made fun of my house and would often make fun of my parents. I also know because where I was out there every weekend at his house…he would only come to my house once to spend the weekend (or in this case crash over there on a Saturday night.) In a foreshadowing of what his future girlfriend/main squeeze would do in the spring during the sole time that she visited my home, Number 10 simply hid in my room and would not deal with my parents directly. Afterwards he basically told me he wouldn’t spend another night over there while in turn making it a point to never come by again when my parents were home once he did get his driver’s license. For politeness and a rare case of brevity from yours truly, basically IMO Number 10 considered me and my family to be slightly higher than white trash. As his ego got bigger that spring (which coincidentally came about when he started dating the Hot Sonland Chick I’m getting ready to mention) he also would openly insult my family during class. At first I handled it as him b—s–ting around as he made fun of a lot of people (see the previously mentioned Young Adams). Come springtime you can put two and two together that I eventually got sick of it and would either ignore him or occasionally tell him to shut the f— up (where during one class period that I ignored my so-called ‘best friend’ the before mentioned Kastner one time looked at him and said ‘why would he want to be your friend when all you do is make fun of him and his family?’ Kastner was indeed right. As for Number 10, I would often hear the DER HEH HUR I JUST JOSHIN (‘joshin’ was his term for ‘I’m just messing around’ as opposed to ‘I really think you’re a low class piece of pond scum’ that he was actually trying to communicate, limited as it may be) and then I would just move on to the next day.
It’s been established that as time progressed that year Number 10 was anything but a swell fellow to hang with. Also established that he wasn’t actually getting down on the weekends with Catherine Purdy…yet he would eventually come of age by getting to hang and (use your imagination) with a Hot Sonland Chick two years his elder…aka someone in my class year. Which was courtesy-SURPRISE-of yours truly…and I say that because yours truly was the actual go between/connection/Cupid/whatever you want to call it that set up one Number 10 with his girlfriend/prom date/high school beau whom he’d drive up to see when said girlfriend went to college. Never wrote about it before, but probably a good time to do so since it was kind of a big deal when it came to effecting my senior year…and helping make it easier for me to find college outside the Hoosier State to be a damn fine option to consider.
Said girl has already been mentioned on the blog. And I call it as I see it when I say said girl ended up having a pretty big effect on me as well as preparing me to be ready on how to handle drama once I got to leave the unhallowed halls of Noblesville High that May. (Considering four years later I had a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ with the dean of students at college number one to not set the school on fire during my final week on campus so I would be able to graduate, then just take my word for it that I’ve had dealt with more ‘unique’ situations than most of my peers.Also take my word that my life story will eventually make for an interesting movie, if not an early to mid 1990s version of Animal House for college number one. )
Said girl: one Tara Lynn Walczak.
Yes, the basketball manager Walczak with the gigantic calculator for keeping track of Pizza Hut tips. The same Walczak who I had probably spoken a combined 100 words to from August to December of that fall semester despite being in the same government class. Usually I associated Walczak’s love life with an on-again off-again relationship that she had with a dude one year older than us by the name of Jason Streeter. And as one can figure out I didn’t exactly talk to said Walczak that often to know whether it was on or off time with said Streeter. During that fall I’d roll into Dick’s Class (4th hour government) and sit on the other side of the room from Miss Tara Lynn…and not expect to deal with her because I still considered myself as being a non-entity in her social circle because, well, she dated older dudes and wasn’t exactly hanging out with me outside of group situations following a handful of basketball games. Plus if one wants me to actually be positive and give some compliments, read this: I considered Tara to be both very attractive as well as pretty damn intelligent (she was in the top 10 percent academically of our Sonland class) and therefore viewed her as someone who I was probably not going to deal with in part because, well, she was smarter than me..she was mature in how she carried herself….and lastly she was a Hot Sonland Chick (aka good looking). So again that fall I didn’t expect her to come up and talk to me unless it was to tell me that my fly was unzipped or that she had lost a bet. I respected Tara, yet I also wasn’t going to count on socializing with her on a regular basis. Like I said before in previous posts, West Harbour (her subdivision) might as well have been West Berlin because I hadn’t hung out with her since she had moved to Sonland City and therefore figured that would remain the case for my last year of being in GTFO mode towards graduation.
As already established throughout Part 4, the continuing theme of being wrong continued here……and admittedly this time it caught me off guard even though at first I handled it with comedy and ‘yes, this should be interesting.’
One day in late December (I’m going with the last week of classes before we got released for Christmas Break) I’m getting ready to roam out of Dick’s Class for the day…and all of a sudden I get stopped by none other than our main chica Miss Tara Lynn. She has a sheepish grin on her face. I have a WHAT THE F— IS THIS AND WHY IS SHE WANTING TO TALK TO ME? look on mine. I am amused as I get to have this conversation with her that starts similar to this:
I HAVE TO ASK YOU SOMETHING?
WHAT IS IT?
DO YOU KNOW NUMBER 10?
(Thinking that this was a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air moment) UH….YES.
With that….Tara told me she liked Number 10 and wondered if Number 10 had a girlfriend. See previously mentioned Catherine Purdy info to compute the answer for that one. I in turn told Tara I would talk to Number 10. And so that night I turn basically told said Number 10 “Dude, you’ve got an older chick who likes you.” Without giving lengthy details I then got to be said go between for the first ‘date’ or social gathering for Number 10 and Tara. Not only that…but I got to go on the date too. Of course I would.
The last week of 1990 after Christmas and before New Year’s….both me and Number 10 get to ride with Tara in (IIRC) Tara’s Pontiac Grand Prix to go to the movies. It had snowed that week, and I remember going down Keystone to the Lowes Theater to see then media favorite Macaulay Culkin get down in the then epic Home Alone. And since I now know how to use captions, your obligatory film poster below:
Afterwards we ate at the nearby Pizza Hut. Exciting as it sounds, with me cracking up the whole time saying to myself DUDE THIS IS COMEDY as Tara showed off her calculator to add up our tip and Number 10 wondered aloud what the f— was going on with said calculator. (Quite frankly I was shocked to be in the same car with Walczak to begin with. I figured I would have had a better chance of winning a date with Debbie Gibson through one of those teen magazines then to spend more than 45 minutes at a Pizza Hut with said Walczak. Either way it made the trip worthwhile as it gave me a night off from watching weeknight mainstays The Fonz and Judge Harold T. Stone on the tube.) I didn’t know what to make of it when that afternoon became evening, but then something that I wasn’t expecting began to happen: I started actually talking to TARA on the phone. And as one can figure out, I got to keep the role of go-between for a bit longer.
Actually, a lot longer.
Ended up not always being a good thing. In fact it would eventually lead me to many a time ask myself what was stated before: with friends like Number 10, then who the blue f— needed enemies?
Because that afternoon of seeing Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern get outsmarted by a pre-teen dude from the Chicago suburbs would turn out -in my view, anyway-to be the beginning towards the end of my friendship with Number 10. It also was the beginning of realizing that even with all the positive changes I had made in my life those last couple of years at the Sonland-the losing of 60 pounds, the being more social, the actually going out in public with Hot Sonland Chicks-there was still a long way to go. Better yet as I was considered a second class citizen in my own hometown-my family’s hometown, damn it-by an individual whom I considered to be my best friend, then it was probably not going to be productive to be in said hometown area much longer with college in the future.
Whether intentional or not, that matinee movie would set the wheels in motion for a friendship to turn into a feud. Fortunately for me, I was able to overcome it and make it through the rest of the year….and then be able to have a much, MUCH better time of things in college. (Plus I went to that prom deal I keep babbling about too. Still need to talk about how The Prom Date came about, and ironically good ol’ Number 10 is involved in that. And those prom proceedings actually have some VERY good comedy to go with it).
How I overcame that while learning a lot about friendship and family (and, well, eventually proms and pledgeship)……I’ll be ready to tackle that full speed ahead with the next post (aka Part 6).
Hey, I admit I wasn’t thinking about writing the sequel to War and Peace, so a big thank you to any and all who have been reading these. My memory’s not too bad after all these years…or I’m just long winded. Or more than likely both.
(Oh….Tom Crean’s sons actually beat Northwestern tonight, too. Now we’ll see if his boy Fred Glass will reward him with another ten year extension. After all if 16 wins a year from your coach is acceptable at a Big 10 school, why wait?)
Good place to stop. Will see if I can get this senior year in the Sonland wrapped up before getting that paper done for class next Saturday. Or if I can at least not wait another four months between posts.
Best wishes to all and thanks again to all who read these.
Monday afternoon in central Indiana. No work, no school, no worries.
Shout out to all who have read and followed this blog. Hope to stay more active in coming weeks with just two more weeks of class (with one big paper) and a week off before the next class. Should have more time to post if the Pacers and IU basketball teams continue to struggle.
To show how bad I’ve been on keeping up with things…I wanted to celebrate the 25th anniversary of senior year/graduating high school/going to college/pledging a fraternity when I set up my Instagram account (@fitzthoughts) last spring and this blog (fitzthoughtsblog) last summer. I wrote part three on my senior year stories back in October. We’re now near the end of February. I’ve obviously got lots of room for improvement on time management. So a day off should provide a good opportunity to get the ball rolling on said improvement.
Quick recap…..when I started off talking about senior year at semi-scenic Noblesville High School in the summer of 1990 yours truly discussed the clothes that were bought for said school year (Part 1 posted on 8/23), some of my fall classes plus getting stood up for homecoming (Part 2 posted on 9/5…and that post reminds me I saved some money by getting stood up by said Aimee Allison that night so it wasn’t a total loss) and the excitement of spending a week at yearbook camp in Greencastle, Indiana (Part 3 from 10/27). While I talked a little bit about yearbook on my last post of 2016 (12/31) figure I’d finish up and then talk about two other classes from senior year and the people who ended up having a bit of influence on leading me to say to myself “Self, probably best for you to not go to college around here because quite frankly you f—ing hate this place.” Would prove to be pretty good advice as I ended up not being a statistic by wandering around drunk in the city of Bloomington for one to two years like many a former Sonland (aka Noblesville High School) student had in years past. (Instead it was four years in Lexington, Kentucky...and I graduated too. More on that in future posts. )
So on this post I’ll breakdown the classes of yearbook (final class of the day), government (4th hour before lunch) and Spanish (fifth hour before yearbook). I will try to not be too repetitive, so in other words I’ll try to not act like I’m watching a Colts game in 2016 and complaining about the failures of general manager Ryan ‘Big Grig’ Grigson (now gone) as well as his main man and failed pass rushing specialist from Philadelphia one Trent Cole (also gone). Wish me luck.
–YEARBOOK (AKA THE SHADOW STAFF…SIXTH HOUR). When last left off on 10/27 I had noted that we had a year of journalism/yearbook camp at DePauw University in said Greencastle. Left on a Sunday morning. Went to workshops Monday through Friday. Apparently only one pizza place in a city of 7,000 or so. Went back to Sonland City (aka Noblesville) that Saturday. Got off from working at Shoe Carnival for a week, and since I didn’t go on a family vacation that summer then that camp could be considered a working vacation of sorts since we supposedly went to workshops to learn how to write stories and design page spreads and all that good s–t. Tough coin flip back then between Greencastle and Shoe Carnival. For now I don’t remember doing much of this on weekday afternoons…
…and since I was lucky to go on dates let alone think about doing stuff after dates, sure as f— wasn’t doing this:
Note to self: if all else fails and you’ve got money issues come wedding time, just say you’ll get married at DePauw University. Worked for this couple apparently. Good for them.
Now that I’m done showing what DePauw photos I can locate with web searches, moving on:…..
…..basically by going to camp I thought that I’d have a chance to be established in either 1) writing mainly sports stories since I was supposed to be one of three sportswriters on the staff to cover 23 said sports stories assignments or 2) be able to help out on some good feature stuff that would be shown towards the front of said 1991 Shadow and thus would more than likely be read compared to the filler stuff in the midst of the ads that got shoved towards the back of the book and the index. As mentioned previously on the 12/31 post, I would be WRONG WRONG WRONG and come back to school wondering if I would have been better off making the $5 an hour stacking shelves of cheap Nikes while listening to an endless supply of 1950’s music. When class started I found that the Senior Coolies (nickname for the returning five female members of the 1990 staff who were to be the editors and run the book while telling the remaining thirteen of us newer staffers what to do) took control of what was assigned and hence you basically were given the minor stories that didn’t always matter because-shock-they were in fact the filler at the back of the book. Hence my first assignment was writing about student shoe fads. Hence that story got to be the very first one that was filler in the ad section (located on page 206 of your 1991 Shadow as located on classmates.com next to an ad showing Erika Bayh and Suzanne Bailey at graduation). So much for the Pulitzer Prize.
Meanwhile as also mentioned previously on 12/31 post yours truly became the sportswriter who did not necessarily write sports stories. Out of said 23 possible stories, I wrote a grand total of four. FOUR. Early on I also found that the sports editor Robin Shambora did not seem to think my work was great as I remember re-writing my first couple of stories early and often. (For your sidenote, if you are reading this blog post than you wrote the same number of sports stories in the 1991 Shadow that Shambora did. Yes, zero. I won’t ask either.) That $160 lost from taking the week off from Shoe Carnival was beginning to be missed. But then I figured a few things out: get quotes from multiple people for the stories; write a story like Shambora or the editor Rosie Piga would write it (in other words, look at how they did their stuff the year before and adjust); and simply not talk back and tell said Senior Coolies that you thought their takes were #!%$!. Oh, and don’t sleep in class while turing said s–t in on time. Once I took the viewpoint that I was little more than JAS (Just Another Son) who was there to write whatever was assigned to me, then there were no issues at all. I also found that I talked less and less to Shambora in class as the year went on. Though I did not have a case of the clap at the time, I’ll go with the view that my work improved and therefore did not need to be critiqued on a regular basis. Good for all as that meant more time to hear stories from Nancy Boosel about her multiple boyfriends. (Trust me, those were entertaining. Also big props to Nancy as often they’d be the highlight of my day. After all, this is Noblesville aka The Sonland we’re talking about and it’s not like I was going to match up in stories on dating the opposite sex.)
If one wants to know the just of how said yearbook went, I can describe it pretty quickly: you roamed to these three or four round tables in the journalism classroom and sat at said table. The Senior Coolies (editor Rosie Piga, copy editor and 2nd Coolie in charge Kyle Petersen, the before mentioned Shambora, features editor Amy Carol Craig, and business manager/former cheerleader Amie Gibson) sat together and basically talked among themselves save Piga as Piga was hands-on in ensuring that the book would be a success. (It would be, and coincidentally Piga would later be the editor of the main IU-Bloomington campus yearbook. Not surprised as she was a good writer and deserves any and all success she has had over the years). Sometimes I helped come up with titles for stories and titles plus captions for pictures, usually via Piga showing me a picture and saying “Caption this.” So I did. I appreciated her acknowledging me on page 237 of the yearbook credits, and to this day I am thankful for her respect and acknowlegement.
If you then ask “You didn’t talk to the other Coolies much, did you?” then you’d be correct. So I had no idea until the book was published that the features editor (Craig) and the business manager (Gibson) each wrote a sports story….while the sports editor (Shambora) did not. Meaning if the three of them were dating the members of Motley Crue at the time I wouldn’t have had a damn clue about that either. That was how things worked. I simply came to class on time, did my assignments, and did not pass out in the photography lab. For someone who didn’t want to be in the building for the last hour of the school day to begin with, it worked out pretty well.
(BTW, the neighbors must have the day off as they are yelling incoherently outside. If they had megaphones, they’d be pretty damn dangerous. Must get earplugs for future days off.)
Enough on yearbook, next to
–DICK’S CLASS (4TH HOUR GOVERNMENT: TAUGHT BY STATE REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD “DICK” DELLINGER, R-NOBLESVILLE): after a year of having the best grades in my junior U.S. history class with Big Jim Sparks, got to repeat the first memory I have from previous posts of this. First day of school, I roll in to take a seat in the middle of the class-not in the back row, not in the front row, right in the middle. As mentioned before Pam McNeil comes up and starts playing Nino Brown to my Pookie in New Jack City. I figure that the female is having that time of the month and say ‘why sure, you can have the seat.’ We then get moved to be in alphabetical order and Nino, er McNeil gets moved anyway from said seat . I in turn get in the back row. Works for all. Also makes me think that this semester class is going to be a chore to get through and I would do little more than count the minutes down to get out of there for lunch.
Fortunately I made the most of it and entertained myself-and the class-in the process.
Most of the Sons and Daughters of the Sonland-particularly McNeil and Sheathera Melchoir, the latter being a regular sight as she was in eight of my twelve classes for senior year as well as the first person I usually saw in the parking lot each morning) were not afraid to say “f— it” and lay their heads down on their desks to grab some shuteye while Dick would cut his promos on the three branches of our federal government. I in turn decided that it was probably best to stay awake so in-between giving Jason Lemen paper for him to draw his daily comics of Dick, usually ranging from Dick picking out his daily wardrobe of 1950s like conservative suits to Dick roaming the outerworlds fighting crime-I would keep track of how many times certain people would say or do certain things in the class each day. Like Sheathera’s sleeping. Or the number of times Rich Dine would smart off to said Dick in the midst of questions and answers. Or the consecutive days that McNeil would wear her turquoise colored aquasocks from Body Glove. And at the end of the class when Dick would leave early to go to the teacher’s lounge to do whatever Dick did in said teacher’s lounge, Phil Eisentraut (who sat in front of me) would grab the paper of writings and read off what everyone had done for the day to the entire class. The result: the daily telling of DICK’S STATS.
(Hey, I admit it sounded funnier before I typed it. But it kept most of a 1990 Noblesville audience of 30 high school seniors amused, so there’s that.)
Dick would thus watch me, Lemen and Eisentraut like a hawk more often than not. So when Dick had students spend mandatory time after class volunteering/putting up signs for political campaigns that fall, you are not surprised that Todd Burkhalter and I ended our two hour shift by driving out to Dick’s house and planting the remainder of our campaign signs in front of his yard. Dick in turn asked all his earlier classes about what happened before yelling out at the end of our class FITZPATRICK, WAS IT YOU? It sure as hell wasn’t Burkhalter’s main man David Coverdale of Whitesnake. Guilty as charged.
Main thing about all this was that this was a class where you kind of had to study because it was tougher than most AND you had to have it to graduate. When I studied (albeit for 30 minutes to an hour before tests) then I did well. In fact if I remember correctly I ended up with one of only four As out of the 150 students or so that took said Dick’s government classes that semester. While that wasn’t going to up me on the waiting list for Harvard, nevertheless I was happy because I figured that was a good stepping stone for the next year of college. By staying awake and basically being a stenographer for 50 minutes a day I was able to succeed and make the most of what appeared to be a s–t situation. Even got a high five from Eisentraut on graduation day as a result, and considering I had never talked to dude until said Dick’s Class then that was an achievement in itself.
(When a classmate who we shall call Big J saw Dick wandering around the local Marsh supermarket earlier in the year, she made sure to mention that Dick had not been forgotten. Dick apparently responded by saying I HEAR BURNING IN MY EARS and moved on. Lemen will be proud to know that Dick’s flattop hairstyle has not changed over the years. Then again I have a feeling no one will be surprised of that either, actually.Not like Dick was growing an Afro or a mullet back in the 90s.)
One other thing about that class was that it was the first of only two classes (I don’t count junior high choir where a third of our grade participated) that I ever had with someone who ended up being a MUCH bigger influence then expected. (See the upcoming Part 5 on how that happened. If you’re still reading, trust me on that.) Tara Lynn Walczak was someone who in previous Sonland school years might as well have been a Hollywood starlet because she wasn’t going to be in any of my classes and she sure as f–k wasn’t going to talk to me. Back then her West Harbour subdivision in Sonland City might as well have been West Berlin; that was the way things were and generally since all I cared about during my first two years of Sonland High was making it through the day without wanting to drink liquid bleach, then I didn’t expect to ever have an actual conversation with said Walczak. But next thing I knew I found junior year she was a basketball manager (along with future Kings Island cohort on prom weekend Stephanie Nicole White) and since Big Jim Sparks had told me junior year ‘you’re a basketball statistician this year’ then in turn I ended up getting to meet said Walczak..or at least I was going to ride on buses to games with her. Safe to say I didn’t expect little more than that.
Since you’ve just read a long paragraph about here, you can correctly figure out that I was wrong about that. Way wrong.
After a few basketball games that year said Walczak would make the suggestion of people that were non-players (read for that year the basketball managers and statisticians such as me, the revolutionary Young Adams, Big Barry Jackson and the late Matt ‘Vegas’ Cammack) go to the Sonland City Pizza Hut for what ever one would want to call socializing or to be out of the house a little longer after games. As I was then Young Adams’ ride to and from games, Young Adams was of course all for it. So usually a group consisting of me, Young Adams, Young White, basketball manager Geoff Ley and said Walczak would end up at said Pizza Hut. Not like I had any supermodels on call, so of course I was in. Generally people shot the sh-t and then at the end of the outings what I would remember most is Walczak (besides always asking to drink water) would take out this huge calculator to calculate the tip. After all this I figured I had moved up from non-existence in the Walczak World to acquaintance, and when she signed my yearbook before senior year I then figured that I had moved up to ‘Hot Sonland Chick takes pity on you and signs your yearbook’ status. And when she ended up in Dick’s Class that fall, I basically remember her being on the other side of the room, usually carting in her stuff in her trademark leather backpack (her younger sister Tracie also carried one so it apparently ran in the family) and not saying or doing too much. I would later find out by going to basketball scrimmages that fall (in which I helped train Sonland starting hoops man Gary Duvall’s brother from another mother Brett ‘Air’ Bowman to do stats as it was decided that a three man crew of me, Young Adams and Bowman would replace the previous four man crew of the previous basketball season….and incidentally you can figure out who got to do the work of Cammack AND Jackson by doing two clipboards of stuff as opposed to everyone else’s one which sadly was the highlight of my high school athletic career..and that’s kind of depressing so let’s move on from my rambling) that Walczak and White (and Ley) were again managers. Fine there. But I didn’t expect much more dealings with her. Nothing more than seeing her in class but no conversations.
That changed Christmas Break. Stay tuned why…because that why was a dude in my fifth hour Spanish class. Which leads to….
-FIFTH HOUR: SPANISH II, MRS. JANET BALSLEY– yes, I kept ‘Spanish Stats’ with Pat Kastner in there. Had to stay awake. But that didn’t have much to do with Walczak.
On the other hand, towards the end of that first semester the diabolical individual that I call Number 10 did.
Two bits of background:
-for me, I had originally taken German my first two years of Sonland High. Hated it. (See the August 2016 post entitled ‘The Eight Sons’ for further details.) Decided to take Spanish. Liked it. Better grades. So I was the only senior in a class of predominantly sophomores. These sophomores were among the elite of their Sonland class such as Elizabeth Robinson (related to the local car dealership dynasty), Betsy Kenley (daughter of the local supermarket dynasty and current state senator) and a girl that you’ll hear about a little more in future posts, one Sarah Jane Fox (aka The Prom Date).There was junior diving/swim team icon Hope Struve (of whom I interviewed for yearbook), the junior hoops player and track star Ryan White (currently an insurance man in Sonland City and one of Duvall’s main men) and a good friend of mine from previous years, junior Tony Holloway. After that, it wasn’t like I knew too many people in there and they in turn only knew me as the only senior in the class who happened to have lost a bunch of weight in the last year. I expected to roll in, talk every once in awhile to Holloway, and do little else. Fine with me as I wanted little drama in my last year at Sonland 46060.
Unfortunately, I would be way off.
And to tell why I was way off, after four months I’ll finally make the time to discuss the individual who-whether intentionally or not-helped ensure me to say that I wasn’t going to miss Sonland City 46060 too much when I went to school in part because he would in turn be the one who would lead me to say ‘With friends like him, then who in the f— needs enemies?’
But that was not the case in August 1990. So now is a good time to tell why and to also discuss a pretty important part of my growing up and learning what friendship was in fact really all about.
Now that I got the ABC After School Special rhetoric out of the way, time to discuss Number 10 (named because if you go to the bottom of my Instagram page post and find my Prom Diary posts, you’ll see dude on the 1990-91 Noblesville High School boys varsity basketball team wearing, yes, Number 10. Hence the name for the blog posts).
During my junior year of doing basketball stats I only knew Number 10 for being the best player on his freshman year team. Since the only freshman I dealt at the time with was Young Adams then I didn’t expect to know Number 10…until one road game where Number 10 had apparently been elevated to the junior varsity team for the remainder of the season. Dude was only freshman besides Young Adams on the bus. No one allowed Number 10 to sit with them. Except for one person. You can figure out who that was. And while it was not a booming bromance or friendship, generally a trend would take place on said remaining road games: no one else would sit or talk to Number 10, so the one person who did was me. Usually just meant him looking at my latest issue of Sports Illustrated and small talk. Nothing less, nothing more. (Incidentally he ended up getting lots of playing time on the JV team and proved to be their best guard. Which of course will explain future info to be wrote about later.) I didn’t think much more of it and didn’t think I’d be dealing with dude much more than seeing him at hoops games the next year. As he was considered the best athlete of his class year, I figured that was a sure scenario. And I would go about my way of counting down to GTFO of the Sonland come spring of 1991.
Again, I was wrong.
So Number 10 was in my Spanish class. First week and a half there were two random times that he would make random small talk about baseball cards and general topics. Again nothing more nothing less. (He liked baseball cards a lot, I will say that). I didn’t expect to deal with him other than said small talk. Just wanted to go to that class, not make waves, talk once in awhile to Holloway as he was only dude I knew in there from the past and move on with my life.
That would change permanently on the evening of September 3, 1990. Come to think of it, my entire senior year-and in turn my future-changed as well. (Had to look up the exact date online, so give the Internet the assist).
It’s Labor Day. I have done whatever Spanish homework was to be done.That evening I get a phone call. It’s not anyone wanting to play pickup hoops and again no supermodels were on speed dial. I admit I was not thinking things through as dude who was on phone said that 1) they were in my Spanish class and 2) they needed help with homework. In what would be good comedy, I STILL didn’t recognize who in the blue hell would be calling me on a Monday night for help on homework, but I then said ‘dude, give me your address and I’ll drive out there.’ Thanks to the Sonland school directory that had addresses, I put two and two together and in an era of pre-Mapquest was able to sail the 1977 Buick out towards a country road near the then Deer Creek Music Center that had two houses and a farm which coincidentally no longer exists today. I figure out the place has to be the one before the farm that has a huge yard, a barn (you’ll find out next post what’s in said barn) and a BMW in the driveway. I roll up to the door and end up getting greeted by the Father of Number 10 (whom we will call Cliff) and the mother of Number 10 (hence Mrs. Cliff). And eventually I figure out I am at the home of Number 10. Took awhile but better late than never.
Long story short here at the 4,000 word mark…I help Number 10 with said Spanish homework. I then roll out at night fall. I do not expect anything more and as I sailed the 1977 Buick back home I asked myself ‘why did HE call ME on this?’ I certainly didn’t expect any more calls and I didn’t expect there to be a time where I would be dealing with him every weekend…or better yet dealing with him AND Tara Lynn Walczak every weekend, too.
Boy, was I f—ing wrong on all accounts.
And that’s a good place to stop for Part 4. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take another four months for me to follow up there as I still have a ton of stuff to cover to link the fitzthoughtsblog with the @fitzthoughts Instagram page. Plus I haven’t even gotten to recap the stories on The Prom Date here on the blog yet either. Kind of why I set it this up in the first place so I do need to do that before the next decade begins.
But as I would eventually learn when it came to handling Number 10 as well as a lot of things with my future, better late than never.
Thanks to any and all who read the fitzthoughtsblog….back with Part 5 soon.
Hello to all who again may read this as I finally get around to what I was hoping to do when I started this blog a few months back: talk about my senior year at semi-scenic Noblesville High (aka The Sonland) and how I was able to survive a place I absolutely hated while going on to better thiings (like NOT being at Noblesville High) afterwards. Instead I’ve had self-imposed writer’s block because I’ll start thinking about other topics and then telling myself “I’ll write about them THEN go back on schedule.” But in order to get to said other topics I need to get the job done and write about the senior year stuff first. And since I’d rather not put too much effort into watching Titans-Jaguars on NFL Network this evening (no fantasy football players on my squad are playing in said game) then I’ll see if I can get through Part 3 in order to talk about the rest of the year. Some progress is better than none…..especially if it means avoiding mediocre NFL games.
I’d already gotten through a few things like cars driven (1977 Buick), going to concerts with beautiful girls (see Lyon, Jill; Byers, Jennie; and of course Byers, Trina), and even remembering the clothes I wore and the shoes I bought from the local Foot Locker. But thanks again to the Garrisons (see last 10/23 post) I knew I needed to get this blog post written after what they had told me last Sunday after discussing the plight of our own local NFL franchise, Diamond Jim Irsay’s Indianapolis Colts. After going somewhat in-depth about the future of current Colts coach Ground Chuck Pagano and Irsay’s favorite football executive “The Big Grig” Ryan Grigson, the Garrisons concluded the conversation with this quick take: “You should think about being a sportswriter.”
Ironically enough, there was a time that I was-in theory anyway-a sportswriter: the 1990-91 NHS Shadowstaff for the school yearbook.
Hence the topic for this post.
Getting the chance to be on the yearbook staff was one of the main reasons I handled senior year about as well as could be expected since I was a Coke bottle glasses wearing goof driving a 1977 Buick who (paraphrasing WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley) couldn’t get laid even if I was carrying a fistful of weekend’s passes to a women’s prison. Instead of having a study hall or taking another social studies course or basically wandering around the halls like the not-100 percent mentally there Uncle Junior did in that one episode of “The Sopranos” where he tried to hide behind a dumpster from the local authorities, I actually got to contribute and be a part of something positive while in turn earning A’s and closing out each school day (the class was the last one of the day for me) without having to deal with people I did not care for (see previous posts in August for the main examples..with one surprising difference) nor having to stress too much about women wanting to go out with me because, well, that sure as $!$^% wasn’t happening because Coke bottle glasses wearing dudes driving 1977 Buicks in central Indiana make that pretty $!$^%^@ self-explanatory.
Hence, back to discussing yearbook as you’ve figured out why I was not surprised that I earned “Most Likely to Stay Single” honors from the peers of my own Sonland class. (No in-depth following up needed to figure out if that’s still the case these days; after all I actually admitted considering watching a Titans-Jaguars game earlier. Good to try to be consistent.)
Previous posts also show the beginnings of gearing up towards yearbook in the first place. I decided before junior year that if I was going to be at a place that I considered to be the modern day equal of Alcatraz that I was going to damn well take the classes I wanted to take. Fall of junior year saw one of said classes being Newswriting with journalism teacher and sponsor of school yearbook (Shadow) and newspaper (Mill Stream) one Butch Robbins. I’ve already referenced antics from that class involving cheerleader extraordinaire Dena Horn (“I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU CAME OVER TO MY HOUSE FITZPATRICK!“….me neither, Dena, but I also didn’t think I’d later be part of a college fraternity that once duct taped its own president to a ceiling) but with the exception of the ever flowing wisecracks and mullet of Doug Anderson the big thing from that class was that I found I was in fact able to be a semi-competent writer for a Sonland high school student. Along with Ali Keys I ended up getting one of the top grades in the class that was needed in order to even have a shot at being on the school yearbook or school newspaper staffs to begin with. And after being insulted for my first two years of Sonland classes to the point where sitting in a garage full of exhaust fumes seemed to be a better option then being in said classes, I now had more confidence to be able to feel like I might have a shot at saving my high school career from the full scale example of depression that I had personally allowed those first two years.
Enough self-analysis: basically I told myself “Self, time to try out for the publications staffs because why the f— not?”
So…one weeknight in spring semester junior year I put together a portfolio that said “Yes, I got an A in your newswriting class” along with “Here’s what I wrote in said class that didn’t involve Dena Horn’s perennial tan” and lastly “here’s my application that says if I want to choose which staff to join, it would be yearbook.” A couple of weeks later I would get a letter noting CONGRATULATIONS as I found out the good news-I did make the yearbook staff. As recently as one year prior that would not have been expected. So this was a positive deal that was needed as part of the countdown to GTFO since this was still the Sonland we’re talking about. Nevertheless now I got the chance to write about it and-for better or worse whether people really gave a s–t or not-put my mark on something by writing stories that some people may actually read when not looking too in-depth at the index or ads at the back of said yearbook. Or in simple terms I got to be a part of something that would help on the LOOK ME DO EXTRA STUFF SO COLLEGE PLEASE ACCEPT ME agenda….and again low stress=high grade if done properly or not asleep in said class.
The Garrison connection on said letter: the writing from Mr. Robbins saying “You’ll be working mainly on sports stories.” Fine with me. After all I didn’t see me spending multiple hours writing in-depth stories on school choir or who was guzzling the most Mountain Dew cans on the senior benches. A lifelong subscription to Sports Illustrated(hey, the swimsuit issue was a yearly highlight-just telling it like it was) may not have fully prepared me for sports journalism, yet at the same time that would definitely be my preference on what I would like to write about.
And, of course, that didn’t really end up being the case.
The setup was to originally be different departments where people would be in areas like academics, features, and of course sports. Your 1990-91 Shadow setup was to have five main people in charge……all females who were on the previous staff that were to hold all five editor/leadership positions while declaring their Fab Fivesome “The Senior Coolies.” (Their term, not mine. So we’ll roll with it.) Your editor-in-chief was Rosie Piga (and since she would later hold the same title at IU-Bloomington as opposed to, say, IU-Calumet, safe to say she was a pretty damn good writer). Your copy editor/second in command was someone who was a prospective future relative of mine at one time, one Kyle Petersen. (Might as well give the info-my female cousin of same year at one time dated Petersen’s older brother. Put two and two together on the end result.) Your business manager (person who took care of ad sells) was soon-to-be former cheerleader Amie Gibson of whom I’d never had a full conversation with because fat Coke glasses wearing dudes usually don’t talk to cheerleaders unless s–t is getting thrown at them. Lastly noted Motley Crue enthusiast Amy Carol Craig rounded out the fearsome fivesome as your features editor. To this day I remember her telling me in Sunday School that I s—ed as an elementary football player because I scored no touchdowns one game. Considering I was the fat dude who hiked the ball to those who DID score touchdowns since I was the team’s center, I didn’t really care for the analysis at the time. Yet after dropping 60 pounds and the sport of active football from my Sonland life, I was no longer concerned about her pigskin prognosis……
….and then I almost forgot the fifth person-the sports editor: another former cheerleader, one Robin Shambora. As in the person who was to be the editor for me and junior Mike Van Dolah (who served as a class officer and played two sports; I have a good memory as I haven’t lost all my brain cells due to alcohol consumption just yet.) As in “well, this could be interesting…..but it’s better than getting s–t on like I’ve been used to.”
So…..before school ends that junior year there’s a meeting after school for the new staff. People roll in to the newswriting/journalism classroom, including people I’ve never seen before. In the irony that I referenced earlier, none other than one of the original Eight Sons was in there…one Andy Heiskell– he was going to be a photographer. To my surprise he did not start insulting me on cue like he had for all of frosh and sophomore year. In fairness the Alfred E. Newman lookalike Jeff Nee was not at Heiskell’s side, so there was a positive. And because it was the Sonland, I took that as a victory because quite frankly I was not in the mood to dread this upcoming class; I hated being in the school to begin with. Didn’t need anymore s–t after a pretty decent junior year for my standards (which were low enough to begin with). TLDR: The Eight Sons were not going to be an issue and shall not be mentioned yet again on said post. Always a good thing.
Back to said meeting….a couple of people did not recognize me because I had in fact lost said 60 pounds, and as mentioned before there were people (including Gibson) who would not have known me from the dude who played “Mac” on the NBC comedy classic Night Court. Which would be interesting in itself as here’s said Charles Robinson who played said Mac:
Yeah, must have been the sweater.
For your meeting, I remember the five female editors (the “Coolies”) save Piga sitting together, being vocal, and setting the tone that it was in fact THEIR yearbook and that we needed to be a good staff as Piga had ideas to make it a better book than the year before. I also got the impression that it was kind of a requirement to go for a week of yearbook camp that summer at DePauw University (alma mater of @jen.s.alexander.92) if one wanted to be the best that they could be for said yearbook. While I was not one to stir s–t and figured I could take a week to enjoy the fun filled college town of Greencastle, hence I planned on going to said camp. After all, it was Greencastle…which meant it wasn’t Noblesville. Enough for me as my standards were as low then as they are now.
Your obligatory DePauw photo:
..and so I planned on said camp…..
….and then when it’s time for camp, maybe one third of the staff goes. So much for required. With, of course, me being the only dude going. (Since Van Dolah and I were the only dudes on staff who were not photographers, I should have seen that coming. Then again I had enough trouble seeing since I was blind as a bat without said Coke bottle specs, hence not too surprising.) And I would find out that there were at most THREE dudes at the entire camp…….which, well, I didn’t exactly argue about.
Will look to post some photos from said camp down the road when I’m not as technologically inept, but my main memories of said camp include:
-driving down on a Sunday morning to Greencastle. The excitement is self-explanatory.
-rooming with a dude named Chris in one of the ancient dorms. Chris apparently also played hoops at his school so Chris was like seven feet tall or so. And enjoyed Led Zeppelin. Helped in dealing with my future fraternity bro and college roommate who was also taller than me and liked Zeppelin. Again, consistency.
Of course dude had Zeppelin IVon cassette, and I remember listening to it on the walkman before hitting the proverbial hay on weeknights. Again, Greencastle. I wasn’t going to be dropping too much acid.
-taking photos of people who had scowls on their faces. Scowls were probably due to me being bored and taking their photo.
-a blonde girl from Kokomo who was editor of said Kokomo High yearbook was in the same ‘workshops’ and looked like she would rather be stuck in traffic on the L.A. freeway during rush hour. That girl would later move to the Sonland that fall and be on said staff….none other than gal pal of @trina.byers13 one Christy Clausman. No complaints on that addition come fall time.
-eating Domino’s pizza because apparently that was the only place in the area that delivered pizza.
-lastly as mentioned previously I was now down to 140 pounds….and I enjoyed getting my photo taken showing that I was in fact now 140 pounds. I even smiled in all the photos. Couldn’t say the same in years prior.
And that’s a good place to stop…for now.
Still have to get this done sooner rather than later but probably best I get those photos and finish this up, then talk about the other classes before finally getting to the REAL good stories of that year. And there are actually good ones. Like “Mrs. Hess, Fitz is on novacaine.” And “Officer, I don’t have a license….but HE’S MY COUSIN and here’s my permit.” And of course “Fitz, WHERE IS HAGUE ROAD?”
The answer to the last one: we’re ON Hague Road, dude.
Thanks again for reading as I look to finish the yearbook stuff after I get my next round of homework done this weekend. As long as the Colts continue to be mediocre, I may actually make that goal for once.
Happy Labor Day to any and all who read this. The Reds are on TV to my right as they are attempting to play the New York Mets without getting beat too badly, and yes you figured I would be watching said baseball game since I still watch teams 19 games under .500 in place of Tom Hanks 80’s movies on the tube. Obviously I was way off of my goal of getting work done on here the last couple of weeks but there have been some silver linings. One is that the 19 page paper on the Canadian educational system ended up being an A which meant an A in said class and a happier me on the academic front. Another is I like the current class that I have for this part of the semester (a leadership class that runs through October before the next one finishes out the calendar year) and that will make it much easier to handle assignments like the 10 page paper I’ve got due next weekend. I also got a chance to visit The Rock Star for the first time since the initial Gulf War was taking place during the initial Bush family presidency (better late than never) and was told by friends that I now look 10 years younger since I decided to get rid of the facial hair that I have usually had since the end of the initial Clinton family presidency. Lastly I like my job and am enjoying a week of 69 cent two liters of Big K from the local Kroger. After all you’ve figured out I am pretty cheap.
One shade of consistency: the continuing of dueling lawn mowers in the neighborhood. Despite paper-mania for school I’m going to wait till the middle of the week to mow because, well, I’m not one to mow the lawn during Labor Day. Oh…and Notre Dame football’s defense left much to be desired last night while I am ready for an 8-8 non-playoff appearing season from the Indianapolis Colts (and hopefully wrong about predicting this mark). That offensive line has been, well, offensive. Good thing I no longer spend $1000-$2000 a year in going to games, and while like all other pro football teams I know they don’t hurt for money nevertheless these Colts are making it tough for themselves to be competitive with bad contracts, worse draft picks (they cut a third round pick from last year…which is similar to giving a dude a year in a three year training program and saying ‘uh, no’ after the chief vice president says ME WANT DUDE CUZ DUDE THE SON BIG MAN in a chief endorsement) and questionable leadership. With that being said they play in the AFC South Division and thus automatically get the benefit of the doubt unless they start 0-4 or 1-3. The recommendation: beat Detroit at home next Sunday afternoon. If that doesn’t happen, let’s just say I’ll have plenty of time to write these 10 page papers when the local NFL games are dominating the airwaves.
With 450 words now recapping my existence, on to the nitty gritty: talking about the fall of my senior year at The Sonland (aka high school) and giving a few non-fashion related recaps and memories. Best way to do it is to group a few categories and give random thoughts so I don’t go off on my usual tangents. So here goes on the fall….
–FUNCTIONING FALL SCHEDULE: past blog entries noted what I wore during said senior year, but now here’s where I actually have some memory skills left as I recap what classes I took. Six periods for six roughly one hour classes at the current home of one of the 1,486 Ivy Tech campuses in the state with a lunch thrown in as the only time I would go to that part of the building during the school day (which was the old lower level part from the 50’s with the cafe addition, and I didn’t miss it too much save for the days in frosh biology when Richard Moyers would re-create Kellogg’s Honey Smacks commercials with the frogs that were there to be dissected for class). Your class load was as follows: Classic Literature 1st hour (where one read and wrote random stuff that was apparently supposed to help you for college); Advanced Math Unified 2nd hour (read: pre-calculus that guaranteed I was a COLLEGE BOUND BAWH GAWD student); Senior Composition 3rd hour (self-explanatory); Government 4th hour (where one learned about the three branches of government from a real live state legislator); Spanish 5th hour (which ended up being kind of influencing for the rest of the year, so stay tuned on future posts); and lastly Yearbook 6th hour for as I’ve rambled on many a time I made the yearbook staff to be a sportswriter who usually did not write about sports. No study halls, no McDonald’s trips (save senior skip days) and to be honest no real interaction up front with members of my class year for one key reason: the vast majority of people from the classes the year before were NOT in the classes I was taking that fall. So the times of drawing Dudes comics from English classes weren’t going to take place because only one of said Dudes (Jamie Shinneman) was in my Comp class….and if I had a conversation with him that semester it’s news to me. Either way I was in a better mood because this was the last year I had to be in Sonland City for education and as mentioned many a time…….
–I WAS NOW THIN: If there was any good thing about that year that almost-ALMOST-made up for driving the 1977 Buick to class and saying “I’d like to be somewhere that doesn’t think it’s the equal of a Jason Priestly sitcom in a Midwestern county seat” then it was the fact I had reached my weight loss goal and was able to maintain it during the school year. I was now down to 140 pounds when I entered that building of which I once got spat on by a man who would later be at the cash register of a gas station I got gas at that summer (he did a double take when he saw me, and he’s now the UPS driver I mentioned in earlier posts.) I would get some funky looks from people (you’ll read more about that momentarily) and in the mean time was happy to wear clothes that were not from the HUSKY size portion of the JCPenney catalog. And thanks in part to lots of pickup basketball and less of eating junk food (I still didn’t eat much at lunch because I wasn’t paying doubled prices for shakes and soggy french fries on a regular basis….so 1-2 shakes a week seemed to get the nod) I was able to keep said weight off. It meant a lot to me mainly because I’d look at my eighth grade school photo, see that I had multiple chins, and feel like I had in fact accomplished something. No Hollywood contracts were in the future but for once I knew that if someone was going to make fun of me that the words “fat” and “a–” were not part of the equation. Again you took what you could get back then, or at least I could. After all I was in countdown mode to, yes, GTFO. Not like I don’t keep mentioning it.
–I WAS IN CLASSES I LIKED FOR A SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR. Never underestimate the importance of that. I knew I could get A’s in a fair amount of these classes and ended up with the highest or one of the highest grades in a few of said classes. Did that make me the modern day Marvin Gaye? With no Motown record deal or comparisons to Johnny Gill on the way, of course not. Did it make me a lot happier than what I was before? Damn straight. When dealing with depression it helps to be in non-depressing places. Which leads to…..
–I WAS NOT AFRAID TO MAKE MY OWN FUN IN SAID CLASSES. Before discussing what I usually did to keep myself awake and enthused during the majority of the day before sixth hour yearbook (which I kept busy by of course being a sportswriter who rarely wrote sports stories) I will note a simple fact: I really didn’t have a lot in common with most of the people in my class year. Past posts mention who I no longer dealt with; this post confirms that I’d go into these senior-son dominated classes of the first four hours of my day, maybe know one or two people in said classes, talk only to one or two people in said classes and set my goal to make it without getting into an incident or telling someone to STFU because they weren’t going to be on the ABC TV TGIF lineup with Suzanne Somers and the dude playing Urkel and neither was I. And because I have nothing better to do on Labor Day, here’s Somers with Patrick Duffy and the sitcom family of ‘Step by Step’..
….and of course, The Man Called Urkel then and now:
Back to these Sonlanders.…..They weren’t anything special-they were in the same Sonland as I was and thus weren’t on deck to get down with Arsenio or Bruce Willis. So if anyone thought they were a bada– because they knew someone in the Terre Haute metropolitan area or once drove to Oxford, Ohio to spend the night at some sorority house, more power to them. But that wasn’t enough for cover boy or cover girl status nor was it enough for an inflated ego. Fortunately for me I usually didn’t pay attention to said folks, and better yet if they were in said classes they were generally non-coherent to begin with.
Coincidentally said smarting off seemed to lessen due to said weight loss but also due to another gimmick these senior sons and daughters regularly utilized: the SLEEP SON SLEEP gimmick in which from opening bell to ending bell many of them were in fact comatose and in La La land. Hence I generally talked to said one or two people and that was it. I also lost little sleep in huge part because unlike most of these icons I was actually awake during the classes. Not like that was the preferable option-basic training in Parris Island, South Carolina probably was a better option at that time-but it was the option that was there.
Enough with said babble as these were the people who were either nice to me or acknowledged me in said first three classes: the late Jarred Blassius and Todd Burkhalter in first hour (I wrote a senior comp paper for Burkhalter during said class, and since he in fact graduated I assumed it was a good one)….the much mentioned and much thanked Trina Byers and Danny Davis in senior comp……and that was it because no one talked to me in second hour save for asking to borrow paper and I simply counted the minutes down to get out to third hour so I could write said senior comps. (Lifelong friend Walter Scott was on the other side of my comp class by the door, and so the future groom of Suzanne Bailey and I rarely interacted.) What that meant was simple: I really didn’t have much in common with the people in my class because (wait for it)….
–I REALLY DIDN’T FIT IN WITH MY CLASSMATES. I know, news flash, but one thing about the weight loss that I found was that for every ‘good job’ I may have received I would get a few looks that were of the type that you would think I just got let out of my cage at the zoo or was getting ready to rock the mike with the freak show portion of Ringling Brothers. I’ll give four examples of this:
-senior comp had perhaps the best looking group of women from my class year that I had seen past and present. In the past that alone would have had me salivate and say OH BOY ME READY GO TO COMP PANT PANT while whistling like one of those cartoon wolves from those Tex Avery cartoons we got to see a bazillion times on TV during our youth. (For example, see below):
However you’ve already read that only one gave me the time of day (Byers, Trina) and thus the rest weren’t real concerned if I was going to be around or not. Better yet I might as well have been a foreign exchange student. That was the way it was. So incidentally I took that approach and decided that my goal was to get the best grade in the class. Unlike my goal of thus far winning my fantasy football league’s title at least once in its 13 years of existence, I was able to accomplish it. (I have been runner-up in the last two years, for what it’s worth. Which is a lot less money in second place as it is in first. Ugh.)
…and that leads to this moment that I remember: I apparently got the highest grade in the class on our first main comp. It was about what our prospective college major was going to be. (Based on how much I ramble on, don’t be surprised that I listed communications). So for the only time that I remember that semester I have these pretty attractive women stare at me in full force as I sit there in the front row (not by my choice, I might add, and thankfully it was the only class that happened in) and I figured ‘well, this will be the only time they do this.’ And since I don’t remember talking to any of them that semester, then it apparently was the only time unless I had to interview them for yearbook by saying “I need a quote or two for this, you’re in (activity I’m writing about), what do you have to say about this?”. Of course I remember the list as it included the likes of Jenni Snelling, Candi Streich, Julia Tredway (who gave birth in the midst of the class….though not in said class itself as that would have been worth a few thousand words of blog writing), the future Mrs. Marc Maloy and lastly the future Mrs. Tim Landis. Since @sheathera was probably asleep at the time, we’ll go with her not staring as she generally had a healthy nap time in the two hours before lunch. If it worked for her, more power. To each their own.
Either way, not like a lot of people were saying much about it. Either way, not like I was going out to their parties or being invited to hang out with them. Again I accepted that as the way thing were because I had nothing in common with a lot of them…and as I found out losing weight didn’t change a damn thing there either. Let’s just say it made it easier to say ‘nah, I don’t want to go to Bloomington‘ when it came to choosing colleges. Figured it would be better for all involved…in particular the gent who is now at the 2,500 word mark. Oh, the other incident from that class…..
-I have to go ask a question during the YOU NEED BE QUIET AND WRITE COMP portion of our class where people either acted like they were writing by doodling or tried to hold their head up on their hand and stared at their paper in ‘deep thought’ while actually sleeping. The before mentioned Mrs. Landis sat behind me but never said anything to me. If we had to pass papers back, she’d look at her desk if I turned around, then take a quick glance when she got the paper(s) before turning right around and not making eye contact. So what am I getting at? Easy-the moment I knew that losing weight was basically something for me and me alone to be concerned about because on the whole it meant not one damn bit of importance to most of the ‘in’ girls of my class…….I go up to ask a question. I’m rocking a wrap belt (you’ve seen them before, and so you’ll see it again now:)
…and I’ve lost weight that since it was a 33 belt, it looked a bit big on me as I was wearing size 30’s. This is where I specifically remember looking up and seeing Mrs. Landis gawk at me with a UH DID HE LOSE WEIGHT? perplexed type look. As I once gave said Mrs. Landis a piggy back ride (read: she jumped on my back and I actually carried her a few yards in what was a rare highlight of interacting with junior Sonland cheerleaders) it wasn’t like she didn’t know who in the blue f— I was and vice versa. But that told me right then and there that all I was going to be to a lot of these people in my class year was someone who would only get a secondary look of curiousness and nothing more. And again it made it a lot easier to GTFO once college time came around.
Oh, the other two moments….and they’ll be quick as one was comical and the other was the turning point of where I said ‘enough, look elsewhere for dates down the road that aren’t inflatable):
-so, it’s first day in government class. I take a seat in the middle of the class. In what is both comic and sad at the same time because this basically meant that my main man Urkel was held in higher regard at the time, one of the softball cohorts of the previously referenced Jodi Janelle Decker-an individual named Pam McNeill-roams over and basically re-enacts a scene from New Jack City with her as Wesley Snipes’ Nino and me as Chris Rock’s Pookie. Was this over money? A drug deal gone bad? New Kids on the Block tickets? No, silly Sonlanders, Miss McNeill decided that she wanted to have my seat. I simply told myself “if you’re going to go to juvenile hall, it’s not going to be over THIS” and it a matter of fact way said “you can have the $!$^% seat.” Which lasted her two minutes as we ended up getting arranged in alphabetical order anyway….with me in the back row. Worked out for me. And the fact that I remember that story tells you two things; I remember a lot of stupid s–t, and apparently McNeill’s broomstick was in the shop for repairs. (Ironically enough in future posts you’ll see where I remembered that out loud to the rest of the class-which McNeill didn’t-and got everyone to laugh. Ironically enough if that’s a lasting memory of going to high school, then I sure as f— wasn’t buying a lot of condoms back then. Even for balloon making purposes.)
Which leads to a moment where I sure as f— didn’t use condoms…..
-if you’ve seen the photo for this Instagram post, you saw the student body officers for said Sonland’s 1990-91 school year that were in theory your top four student government people but in reality, well, I guess it was a nice title. Your listings for the three good looking women standing to the side of the Dilton Doiley looking m—– f—- (treasurer) are Erika Bayh Petrelli (president), Suzanne Bailey (the current Mrs. Walter Scott-vice president) and Erin Bobel (secretary). (BTW….twenty bucks says Bobel has no idea who I am because she had no idea back then, either. I always thought that was classic.) And so the Dilton Doiley looking Coke bottle glasses big eared goof standing along side the three good looking women and Homecoming Court members was, yes, needing a Homecoming date. That way I could have something to do besides count the money or take tickets or whatever the f— one did at dances since-shock-I didn’t go on dates to said dances. Anyway I thought I found one…or at least someone initially (key word initially) said yes. Aimee Allison (page 156 of your 1991 Shadow because I like to be accurate) is someone I knew from the previous year junior U.S. History class of Big Jim Sparks and as such I thought (wrongly, as I would find out) “she seems nice, she’s good looking and there shouldn’t be any issues.” I would have been better off placing a bet in Vegas that soon to be ex-Colts QB Jeff George was going to take the team to the Super Bowl then to expect that to actually happen. One problem….and this was a problem I dealt with even with losing the weight there: once you get stereotyped as fat, losing weight alone does not mean you will get accepted nor will it mean people will keep their word on socializing with you. Cliff Notes story: Allison said yes, I made plans, then I heard rumors because it was high school, and finally a couple of days before the dance she came up to me in the upstairs English hall (which was all I needed to know because she NEVER came up to speak to me in the hall) and did the OOPSMENOGOING SORRY gimmick before walking off. Two and a half decades later I have never talked to her nor communicated with her since that moment. Such is life. Such was me finding out I was going to be better off getting a copy of Playboy for that Saturday evening’s entertainment. (Don’t worry…I didn’t. Instead I got a subscription once I got into college. Yes, you knew.)
One was I wasn’t thrilled about someone breaking their word because I would have preferred a nice simple GO F— YOURSELF instead. It also taught me something to add on my list of principles that I dealt with later on that year as well as when I went to college: if you get asked out to a social function like a dance or sorority or fraternity formal either
#follow through and go to the damn thing if you say yes, or
#if you go and you’re a complete CENSORED then you’re doing everyone a disservice by showing up in the first place because you should have, yes, just told the other person to GO F___ YOURSELF.
I dealt with both in my four years of fraternity stuff. Thanks to Allison, I was ready to know what to do when such situations happened. So I usually had backup plans ready just in case. Like one organization’s motto that I won’t reference said organization again, young Allison’s actions taught me to be prepared. For that, a thank you to Young Allison. Should I get this PhD wrapped up before the end of the century I’ll make sure to add her in the thank you list for the final papers.
And that other factor: it didn’t give me a good overall opinion of my future with girls at said Sonland school. I told myself “if Aimee Allison is doing this, then you may need to think of another place to relocate that you’ll be happier at. Like Beirut. “Also didn’t ask anyone out until the next semester, either. While I shouldn’t have let it effect me, it was enough to say to myself “Self, it’s not in the cards for you here, and you may want to consider something out of state for your future.”
To turn a negative into a positive while ending this post, I thought of stunts like what I’ve written about throughout the last couple of decades. I told myself to not treat people like that or to not let myself be taken advantage of. So when fraternity stuff came around, I made sure to never pull what Allison did. Honor the commitment. And if you don’t, then don’t say yes to begin with. Simple as that. Plus I still had some fun to have and some quality stories to come up with before said senior year was done. With the 4,000 word mark reached and with that 10 page paper to start, I’ll remember to build on that next time I post. Which hopefully will be before this upcoming election.
Thanks to any and all who read this and Happy Labor Day. Hope everyone has a good week.