Monday, April 13, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Hate the New Kid

The other day I saw a kid that had just moved in to my neighborhood climb on his new school bus for the first time. Is there anything worse than being 10 years old and being "the new kid"? To a ten year old, anyone from a different school district is unbelievably exotic. You could be from 3000 yards into the next school district, and the other kids regard you if you had just stepped foot off of the Galapagos Islands.

When I was eight my family moved from the Philadelphia area into Erie PA. I want to be perfectly clear. Despite the fact that I was coming from a major East Coast city, I was not exactly the epitome of hip. In fact, I was stuck in a bit of an "awkward phase" that I just recently got out of in my mid-thirties. That being said, Erie was (and I assume still is) about 7 years behind the rest of the country in acceptance of new fashions and trends. This was the mid 1970s, and when I moved into town I had the same basic hair as my friends in Philly. It was long, and cut into some vague version of a Dutch Boy cut. Thank God I was eight, because there was no way I would have been able to get any action with that lid, let me tell you.

I walked into my new school and was surprised to find that every boy in the school had that quaint Opie Taylor haircut that I had only ever seen on black and white Andy Griffith show reruns. Every kid in that fucking school looked like an old educational film from 1963. I, on the other hand, was looked like as if Sly Stone had just enrolled at Chestnut Elementary. I spent the first 3 hours of school that day answering the question "Are you a girl or a boy?". It kind of went like this... A group of girls would huddle up, look at me and giggle. One of them would be sent over as some kind of scouting party while the other girls looked on. She would then ask The Question while the other girls looked on. I would answer "uh...I'm a boy..." and then they would all explode with laughter.

After a few hours, I was then ushered off with the rest of the boys to gym class in the stale smelling activity room/school play staging area. No one talked to me as we walked in single file down the strange hallways. My old school was one of those failed 70s experiments in "open classrooms" where you could look at three different classes going on if you scored the right seat. It was all about an educational experience man... A lot of action, and young female teachers in short skirts. As I recall one of my reading teachers was banging the Eagles QB at the time Roman Gabriel. Well, she didn't tell us she was "banging" him, but my adult mind can draw some conclusions from some of the stories she told us. At my old school, my teacher knew the biggest celebrity any of us could have imagined (save one of the Brady Bunch kids of course). Meanwhile, this school must have been built with New Deal money in 1933, smelled like a urinal cake, and all the teachers looked like Aunt Bea.

When we got to the "gym", two of the biggest boys were named captains and told to pick teams. I, of course, was picked last amidst the snickering of the other boys. One kid said, "I don't want the hippie on my team." Shit. It wasn't like I was in bell bottoms bumming change or smoking weed. I just had a more current haircut for Christ sakes. The gym teacher then rolled out 6 or 7 red rubber balls, and we played battle ball for an hour. I remember this because the entire 3rd grade threw balls exclusively at me until I was out for six consecutive games. Then they tried to hit me again while I stood by myself with the other kids that had been knocked out. All and all, it was a great first day at school.

When I saw that kid climb onto the bus last week, his parents both stood in the driveway and waved excited goodbyes, oblivious to the fact they had just sent him into the heart of the lion's den. The other kids on the bus stared at his parents, pretending that these uncool old people were unlike anything they knew first hand. "Me? I hold down a two bedroom place over by the lake. I don't have parents. Who is this little pussy getting on the bus with parents?" The parents may have been overjoyed and optimistic about starting their New Life. I knew what was really going down, and gave that kid the nod. Good luck brother, and God be with you. Have a good first day at your new school.

Random Notes: I was really excited about the Somali Pirates taking over that boat until I learned none of them had a peg leg or an eyepatch. Still, I was actually pretty jealous of their career path. Pirates in 2009? Kickass! Then they all got gunned down by Navy Seals, and I cooled on becoming a pirate... I just picked up a live Byrds CD from 1968 that's super cool. It's when Clarence White was playing guitar during a period of pretty spotty studio albums. However, this live show is great. It sounds loose, but totally rocking. Highly recommended to those that doubt the Byrds as a live band...If you are an Indians fan, you should be VERY concerned about the starting pitching. Pavano is a disaster. Lee and Carmona look shaky. Reyes looks pretty good, but the bad news is that he's your number 5. Who knows what dreck they will call up from AAA? As many have said before, you can't win a pennant in April, but you sure can lose one...It's April 13th and Milton Bradley is already hurt...A few beers./wines you should get involved with right away: Founder's Breakfast Stout (thicker than motor oil and full of coffee and chocolate), Dogfish 60 Minute IPA (one of the best IPAs around), Four Vines Zin (peppery like a Zin should be), and Plumpjack Syrah (all the velvet fruit of Napa with the upfront brawn of a good syrah)...Take the Cavs at +175 to win the NBA Championship. This team is locked in, and LeBron won't be denied. I can't wait to riot downtown and burn some overturned cars!


At April 15, 2009 at 10:03:00 AM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

From an ESPN column...So before burying the Indians with more than 95 percent of their season to play, allow us to present a few facts: Over the past 25 full seasons, 45 teams in Major League Baseball have begun their seasons 1-6 or worse. Of those 45, eight have finished the year with a better-than-average record. And of those eight, only one – the 2007 Philadelphia Phillies – made the postseason. In which they were promptly swept.

Doesn't look good for me or my season tickets. Can I get my money back?

At April 17, 2009 at 10:43:00 AM EDT , Blogger Brandonio! said...

My senior year in high school.I moved in with my mom,and started school at Beavis and Buthead's school Highland High.No really those two dorks never even existed back in 1988,but it's rather funny to think about now.My experience going to a new school was totally different than yours all together.Maybe because it was my senior year,or maybe because it was a better school.My last school was mainly comprised of farmers,and jocks.I too had long hair, earrings,the works I tell ya!On the other hand the chicks at this new school loved me to death.I can not understate how they loved me my friend.By the second day I was dating the head cheerleader,and had the ladies stuffing love letters in my hand or in my locker on a daily basis.It even got really bad when some 10th grade girl put a Brandonio fan club sheet above my locker,and I ended up with over 35 girls that actually signed it! Sounds crazy,and it was.I had females of all races,and creeds asking me if they could pick me up to and from school.There was even a time when 5 gals got in a major fist fight over who was going to sit next to me at lunch.Needless for me to say,but being the new kid was oh so awesome for me in my case.Loved being the New Kid!

At April 23, 2009 at 11:07:00 PM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

Third grade is no fucking joke man...

At May 1, 2009 at 9:35:00 AM EDT , Blogger Laureneer said...

Erie, PA in the mid-70s? Did you attend Grandview Elementary? We may have been classmates. :)

At June 27, 2009 at 10:02:00 AM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

Chestnut Elementary... Dark, old, and utterly charmless building that always seemed damp


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