Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

Other than watching the garbage truck flip the trash into its top in front of my house on Saturday mornings, going grocery shopping was the highlight of my life. When you’re young grocery shopping is amazing, mostly because it’s not your money. I used to find going grocery shopping therapeutic before I was the one paying for survival. Now whenever I go shopping I get pissed off knowing if I don’t do it I’ll die. I yearn for those older days when grocery shopping was a treat. Take a journey with me back to those days will ya?

The most unusual thing when I was a kid when it comes to grocery shopping is that my family didn’t stick with one specific store. There was Shop Rite, Acme, and Marazzo’s. All three were very different stores. All three had their charm. Shop Rite was gigantic and always had movies playing near the register. I remember my dad stopping for a smoke outside Shop Rite once and I went running into the street because I was so impatient. Somewhere out there this could have made a great anti-smoking campaign. Acme was the newer one to come around. What was great about Acme was it was opened 24 hours a day. When I was older I would never go shopping before midnight there. It was always 2 or 3 in the morning. I loved seeing creepy people buy middle of the night cheesecakes. Finally there was Marazzo’s which was more localized. It was owned by Sam Marazzo who once nearly screwed up my birthday because the cake my family ordered was not made. He did eventually come through and I’ve had fantastic birthdays ever since.

(I spent this last year alone watching the Snow White movie and eating fruit. You be the judge if I’m sarcastic saying it was fantastic)

It never mattered which store I was at, I always managed to cause mayhem. Going with the garbage truck theme, one game I would play with my sister was called garbage man. We would hang on the side of the shopping cart like a garbage man does to a garbage truck and jump off and grab food. Why was I obsessed with garbage when I was a little kid? Is this why I don’t own anything nice and everything I buy is used?

Another game I played had no name. It was simply grabbing large sticks of pepperoni from a barrel and sneaking it into the cart then hoping my dad didn’t see until we got to the check-out. A few times he didn’t and he’d laugh and buy the pepperoni. It was weird how obsessed with pepperoni I was when I was a kid. I remember eating it almost every day. I would also bite my coat collars a lot. When coat collar was bitten so often it actually smelt like pepperoni for years after. I wish this was not true.

(Who would ever need to buy this much pepperoni? This is why people are fat)

The only intrusive thing I ever did that would annoy me if I saw a kid doing today was running down the aisles and sliding on my knees. Remember though, this was back in the early 90s. People were still smoking in grocery stores so running and sliding without wheezing was seen as a miracle. Once I almost slid into the evil lunch aide from my elementary school, Mrs. Casa. She was a Spanish woman who for some reason spoke like an Austrian S.S. Officer. “Lunch is over. Please close your lunchboxes” was her catchphrase the children would all repeat. I think Mrs. Casa was smoking a cigar when I saw her in Shop Rite. I’m probably mistaken because my young racist mind always assumed she was related to Fidel Castro.

I think my sister was the one who ruined the grocery shopping fun. Once during a race at Acme I took a commanding lead. I turned the corner then looked back expecting to see her there. She wasn’t. I heard a crash then went to investigate. I looked down the aisle and saw her standing above a broken pickle jar. Glass was everywhere. Pickle spears fluttered on the ground or whatever it is pickle spears do. The manager came over and did managerial things and my sister has been so afraid of pickles ever since that she’s a lesbian now.

(Penis joke)

Now the most fun I ever have at the grocery store is finding something I like on sale. Why does it always come down to money to have a good time?

Share with me, do you have any fun stories about grocery shopping as a kid? Or did you have some other special place like the dump your parents would take you to for fun?

For a dumb kid, receiving a report card can be a frightening thing. I had some dumb friends. They would fret over bad grades. I never got bad grades. Not until I was larger than my parents. At that point what could they say? I could crush them with my thighs if I wanted to. Recently my older sister found one of my old report cards. Today we examine what an amazingly smart child I was and where everything went wrong.

(Any kid who owns a corduroy jacket is either evil or really loves Pearl Jam)

The year is 1998. I’m in Mrs. Hartbauer’s fourth grade class. Blow job jokes about Bill Clinton are popular among the teachers. None of the students get them. I’m fresh faced and ready to take on the world. Fourth grade was a great year. Hartbauer always was nice and I had a lot of friends in my class. I won soccer MVP of recess as my incredible goaltending helped lead my team to a very good record. We could only count up to 10 at this point. It was hard to keep accurate statistics after a certain point. Statistics are something adults use as excuses. Numbers politicians can finagle to make themselves less like a succubus. With my report card in my hand at this moment (it’s actually on the arm rest covered in dog hair and dandruff, but who are you to call me out?) I have real life statistics to prove my smarts.

I will start with attendance. First marking period I missed 3 and a half days. Second marking period I missed 7. Nice! I’m pretty sure this was the week I was sick the first four days then on Friday faked sick because I was getting really into Price is Right storylines. Plinko happens about once a week. They were due! Third marking period I missed 5 days. Finally the fourth I missed 2. What was I thinking? Only 2 days? My school had no air conditioning. Well, I don’t think my house did either then. It’s probably harder to fake a fever when it’s really hot out. Your mother will say it’s just global warming and to get your black ass to class. I was also tardy one day in the fourth marking period. I’m never late for anything. I’m not sure what happened on this day. I do remember everyone in the class thinking tardy was the teacher calling us retarded. With my accuracy at being on time, I’m starting to think maybe tardy is a cute way of saying mongoloid.

(Corky from TV show Life Goes On. He was often late to the set. Producers were too afraid to call him tardy. Their morals were too strong. I wonder if he thinks the baby he’s holding is real)

On each report card we were given “Skill Indicators.” A + meant Above Expectations, a check mark meant Meeting Expectations, an Upside Down V meant Progressing (because I guess you’re drawing your letters upside down but at least you’re getting the shapes correct), and (-) meant Below Expectations. First Marking period I got almost all check marks. I had to leave myself room for improvement. Over time I started to add a few pluses. I got better at “accepting responsibility”, “respecting rights/feelings of others”, and “working well independently.” My favorite thing about this is that I was able to go above expectations to work independently about 5 months before “cooperating with school regulations.” What the hell did I do not to cooperate with school regulations back then? The only time I ever got in trouble was when the random black recess aide told my friends and I to “Stop wrestling. Boys always be wrastlin.”

The only bad marks I got were two upside down V’s in music. “Demonstrates music skills appropriate to the developmental level” gave me two of these Progressing marks. I’m not quite sure what this means even today. Also, if I’m progressing at it, shouldn’t I be a music superstar today? Or was I so bad that I had plenty of room for improvement? I got high scores in writing, which hey, I am the bomb at, especially compared to music. If this teaches us anything it is that people’s skills are pretty much developed by the time they are 10. I know, that sounds like an argument a pedophile could make in court.

(If only Jerry Sandusky would have listened to me he might only be spending 250 years in prison, not 400 plus)

We also received letter grades. Overall I ended up with straight A’s. I’m like Stephan Hawking or something. The most B’s I received were in the fourth marking period. 3 A’s, 3 B’s. This was also the same marking period I showed up to most. How did I do the second marking period when I missed 7 days? Straight A’s. Yet another valuable life lesson here. You get smarter avoiding the situation and sitting home all day eating Ritz crackers.

Finally my report card contains actually written words from my teacher. Here they are in order:

“Tim is a well-adjusted 4th grader. He is very responsible and always very respectful. It is a pleasure to have such a nice boy in my class.”

See, I was good once.

“Tim is still doing outstanding! I’ve really enjoyed Tim’s writing this marking period-he has a way with words.”

I do. I’m sure Mrs. Hartbauer would be horrified by a few things I have written since. But she never said anything about my writing being respectful. Just that I had a way with the words.

“Tim continues to be a model student. He is doing wonderfully! He is always cheerful and fun to be around.”

Okay well this one I have to completely disagree with. I am rarely cheerful and even my girlfriend tells me I am not fun. Hartbauer, you have bad taste in men. At least she did say I could be a model. Or maybe I read that wrong.

“Tim is a wonderful, sweet gentleman. It was a pleasure having him in my class. He will be a pleasant addition to any class. Have a great summer!”

I started off as a well-adjusted 4th grader and left a wonderful, sweet gentleman. I kind of wish I had more little things like this. You know, to use in defense I could not possibly be an Antichrist.

(A more likely candidate. She gave away free cars to people who could not afford to pay taxes on them. Evil bitch)

Every day after school when I was young I would come home and stuff my face with food. When I got to the bottom of the bag of cheese doodles I’d feel guilty. I had seen these infomercials about exercise. The people in those infomercials were fit and gorgeous. I wanted to be that! So I would grab my baseball glove and a tennis ball, go into the backyard, and throw the ball against the wall simulating a game. I had created an entire league in my head. Players had back stories too. One player I created had to retire early because of a brain tumor. I was the third baseman and occasional left fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies. In right field was Jeff Breadsom, a friend I made in high school. I never did meet someone named Jeff Breadsom and I don’t think that’s even a real last name. I couldn’t have been less accurate with a prediction of how my life would have turned out.

As with fictional friends I would hope to one day meet, the league was filled with actual friends. The kicker was all of my friends played for their favorite teams too. Except for when we all decided to retire. That year we would get together and play on the same team. Who knew one elementary school would have produced so many All-Stars? Again, this was very inaccurate. I think the best anyone from my elementary school is doing is the kid who won a bunch of money betting on horses this past weekend. Lucky Larry we used to call him. Until his dad beat his mom to death with a brick. Then we called him Loser Larry.

Fake athletes aside, I sometimes wonder what happened to my actual teammates from my first year playing. Thanks to the magic of Facebook and everyone in town having sex with each other, I have a decent enough of an idea of what crappy human beings we all grew up to become.

“The Kid Who Always Bunts” – This was a nickname given to a teammate of mine. It was thought that he would always bunt. He kind of did always bunt too. He didn’t make it a secret either. Nobody was ever caught off guard. He had a really big heart that little guy. I mean literally. Doctors were amazed that he was still alive. I added him on Myspace and he said that he knew who I was. I remember him also posting something about how his brother got shot to death buying drugs. I didn’t know he had a brother. At some point he deleted me and I’m not sure whatever happened to him. A girl in high school told me that her grandma was neighbors with him. I nodded and we never spoke again.

(In little league, if your coach tells you to lay down a bunt it means he knows you won’t get a hit anyway)

“Old Mom” – I’m calling him this because he had a really old mom. If memory serves me right, she looked like the woman with the shaved head on The Walking Dead. If you don’t watch that show then imagine any woman in her 50s with a shaved head. Creepy, right? This kid became a huge burnout drug addict. He was also a drummer in a band with a swear word in their name. I think we met again once through a mutual acquaintance. This acquaintance had a Ted Bundy tattoo on his calf. If I had to bet, Old Mom was also shot to death while buying drugs.

(Technically she’s not bald. But saying “old dyke hair” sounds inappropriate)

“Quota” – The lone black kid on my baseball team. He was a really bad kid. I remember one time the coach had me catching and Quota batting. Instead of trying to hit the ball he tried deflecting the ball into my face. The coach yelled at him and chased him off. He never returned again. My gut tells me he shoots white guys trying to buy drugs in the hood.

(This prediction isn’t so much a joke as it is probably totally accurate)

“Bucktooth” – Bucktooth has the dubious honor of being the only person with bucked teeth that I’ve ever met and never spit on. He came from a really religious family. When I broke my leg that season he told me that he would pray for my leg. What about the person attached to that leg? His dad was an abusive firefighter. Not abusive because he fought fires, but any man who has to slide down a pole before going home every day probably has enough calluses on his hands to give him a reason to hit a kid. I think Bucktooth is my only friend who ever got to see my bedroom. It was really messy too that day. I remember having tighty-whities (clean and dirty) sitting on a chair. Bucktooth found a Yo-Yo and asked me if he could have it. I let him. Bucktooth lived too far away for us to really cross paths again. My guess is he’s a cop who busts drug dealers for shooting white kids.

(He had the same dull dark eye as this royalty free picture)

“Eye Liner Face” – This guy always looked to me like he was wearing eye-liner. I spent a lot of time with him. I even got invited to his grandmother’s beach house in Seaside when Old Mom was too busy smoking his first doobie. A lot of strange things happened on that little vacation. The first was he told me that a witch lived there. This was his logic for why the fan would turn off and on all night long. Never did he consider that this was an energy-saving feature or his grandmother wasn’t good at paying the bills. We did a lot of wrestling and fudgesicle eating while we were there. I remember his sister crying during Titanic and his dad singing Cheeseburger in Paradise. Clearly I wasn’t in paradise. The strangest thing that happened was in the shower. Somehow he convinced me that it was a good idea that we get ours over with together. We shook hands like gentleman promising not to look and washed our own soft bodies. Later on I accidentally dropped my towel and he saw my butt. Even later than that I saw his penis poking through his boxers. Somehow he still turned out to be a better athlete than me. He made the high school baseball team. I cried when the coach/math teacher wouldn’t let me miss the first practice because I didn’t feel like walking home. Where is he now? Probably showering with some poor dope who is concerned about the melting ice caps. Where should he be? Shot to death by a drug dealer.

(I swear he naturally looked kind of like this)

I guess I don’t so much know what happened to these guys as much as I like to pretend they’re all caught up in worse lives than mine.

We love our gym teachers don’t we? They teach us everything about physical education possible. We learn the rules of soccer, the proper way to bench press, and how to keep our mouths shut when they stare at us in the showers a little too long. Never settle for anything less than $50 to keep quiet. Today I would like to discuss the gym teachers I had. I’ll try to keep the lesbian jokes to a minimum.

(His name’s Butch, he has a lesbian haircut, yet Eddie Munster is not a lesbian)

Mr. B – For the sake of protecting the guilty, I will not reveal real last names. With Mr. B, that isn’t a problem. He always went by Mr. B. I don’t think he had a real last name, just an initial. Like how some Chinese people have the last names Oh or Yu. He was a nice guy. His hair was fake though. It would flap in the wind while he warned us about giving our teams a two point penalty for talking while he as talking. As great as an elementary school gym teacher as he was, he gave me a lot of misconducts. I got one for excessive celebration after scoring a goal in soccer and another for making a save in floor hockey with my foot. Goalies were only allowed to make saves with their sticks. Mr. B, you didn’t know shit about sports did you?

Mrs. P – She was the counterpart of Mr. B. The bad cop to his good cop. The bitch to his Santa Claus. I think her being mean turned a lot of students gay. She was a real witch. I remember her yelling at two of my friends for drinking too long at the water fountain. What kind of Nazi does that? We had some rule that you could only drink from the water fountain for 5 seconds. That’s barely enough time to quench thirst from a vicious game of crab soccer. She ended up in my middle school and all of a sudden was really nice. This was the same year as a teacher’s strike. My mystery friend would claim that it was because “she got her big fat paycheck.” I think that was true. Now Mrs. P could upgrade her lesbian haircut from butch to lipstick.

Mr. V – This man was everybody’s favorite gym teacher of all-time. He was the cool guy in his 40s who acted like a retarded kid in his teens. Rumor had it that he played minor league baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1980s as a short stop. He would have made it to the majors but Ozzie Smith blocked his path. I heard the same thing, but it was that he was so superstitious that he couldn’t give up his baseball number. Who knows? Mr. V would take out the male students during recess to play games of football. He loved being around young males. If he didn’t have a smoking hot daughter I would have been sure he lived in a house full of young males obsessed with football. He also loved short shorts and owned a Tim Couch jersey. Never before has Tim Couch been referenced anywhere. Never again will he be.

(Stop gloating. I’m the only one who remember who you are)

Mr. J – The man who inspired so much entertainment for me. I never even had him as a teacher yet I’ve written 3 movies, 5 television shows, and a book based around him as the central character. Okay, it’s not really about him and the character being portrayed as him is nothing like the real man. He wasn’t an evil bastard like I make him out to be. My only memory of him was one day I was wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates t-shirt and he raised his fist at me and said “Go Steelers!” Mr. J only read half of everybody’s shirts. That’s why he’s such an inspiration on my life.

Mrs. J – I’d like to say no relation to Mr. J but I’d be lying. She was the wife of Mr. J. The fucktoy, if you will. I didn’t like her. She made fat jokes about me to one of her classes. What a whore. If my 7th grade year wasn’t horrible enough I had teachers attacking me for having no self-control. I had her for health class a few months later and she was never nasty to me then. I guess she realized I was nothing more than a quiet fat kid trying to make it through life without blowing myself up. Still, a murder suicide would not upset me. I know your former mailman bitch! I could have your mail sent somewhere else if I really want to.

Ms. S – The stereotype of all gym teachers. If the lack of an “r” in her title doesn’t give it away, Ms. S was a legendary lesbian. She was short, had grey hair, had the voice of a parrot, and didn’t know the difference between a badminton racket or a softball bat. She never aged either. I guess that isn’t so remarkable because she already looked to be the age of dead. Every day she would go outside with a thermometer and check the temperature. Sometimes she’d smile. Sometimes it was a frown. I never asked why she was doing this because that would involve chatting with her. My favorite memory of her was the time we had the activity of “walking” in gym class. Yeah, they’d have us walk through the park. I thought it would be funny if while going through the parking lot I went to my car and pulled out a bowl, a box of cereal, and some milk. Gym was the first class of the day and they always said how important breakfast was. I was eating a big bowl of cereal in front of her and she didn’t say a thing. I didn’t get in trouble for what completely backfired on me. Never try eating milk and cereal outside in 20 degree weather. Your hands will freeze and the hot girl you’re trying to make laugh will scowl at you for not taking things more seriously.

(I once was going to try to catch a Frisbee in my mouth to impress another girl during gym class. I heard she liked dogs, so I figured…)