Friday, August 23, 2013

Jack the Jerk Bounces Checks at the Class Reunion

So, the class reunion.  Did I post about Jack?  Former super-suave, ultra-cool funny-guy jock turned grown-up loser.  Think Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington from Welcome Back Kotter.  

Now imagine Freddie's degenerated into a drunken junkie who manipulates the folks who persist in caring about him with bogus suicide threats.  

Yeah, 30 years down the line, and life hasn't been kind to Jack.  To be brutally straightforward, he's earned what he has.  I've been watching him with a somewhat jaundiced eye since he threatened suicide and then disappeared from Facebook for over a year back in 2011, ignoring the desperate pleas from old friends to please get in touch.  

Despite my misgivings I, of course, sought contact information for him for the reunion.  And he was contacted, and said he planned to go.  And then, out of the blue, maybe two weeks before the reunion, Jack says he's off to kill himself.  Says he's checking out, he's done with this life, see y'all on the other side.  And then off he goes, POOF!  All his stupid little friends begging him to call, to check in, to please, please don't do this.  

I say "stupid" because I've been the person who just keeps letting some creepy creature manipulate me because he likes the attention and it gets him off the hook.  And I was stupid.  No other way to put it.

Jack shows back up a week later, with no mention of his suicide threat, just saying yeah, he's going to be at the reunion, gonna kick everyone's behind at golf, blah, blah, blah.  Sanitizes his Facebook wall to hide the BS, and shows up to ALL the reunion activities.

And bounces checks for every one.

What a lowlife.  What a scumbag!  The folks handling it are, I guess, trying to be delicate.  I wouldn't be.  I'd post it on the reunion group page and then wait for the inevitable suicide threat sure to follow.

You suck, Jack.  We'll remember this next reunion, lose your address.

And no, his name's no really "Jack."  But it seemed more believable than "Jerk," and both end with "Off."


Speaking of old schoolmates, I want to tell you about Kris B.  Really nice kid, he was a classmate in Mrs. Jordan's second grade class.  I didn't know him well, but he always seemed a good kid, I don't recall him ever being mean to me.  So many kids were, so that sticks out.  

Another thing that stuck out was how he spelled his name.  "Kris."  See, that stuck out, because I was "Kristy."  So many "Christophers" and "Christines" out there, but we were K-kids.  

One day, early in the school year, I . . . the dog ate my homework.  You know.  Out of the blue, I had this brilliant idea.  BRILLIANT!  I walked over to Mrs. Jordan's desk, pulled Kris B.'s homework out of her inbox, and added "ty" to the end of his name.  On every page, I did this, until all his homework was mine.

Understand, I didn't do this to be mean or to hurt him.  In fact, it never occurred to me that he might get in trouble!  Hey, I was seven!  I just knew that now my homework was handed in and I wouldn't get yelled at by my dad.  Of course, it proved to be such an easy thing that I took to doing it pretty frequently.  

I don't think Kris flunked second grade, but I don't know for certain.  I think about the grief this must have caused him and I feel really bad about it now.  Imagine this poor boy, insisting he's done his homework only to be told he clearly didn't.  


I did this for a couple of months. my two best friends, Allyson and Kelly, being fully aware.  Now, I should have known that I was the spare part in that three-way friendship.  Allyson and Kelly had been buds before they ever knew me, and they were the thin, pretty girls.  And I?


Anyway, one day, Allyson was standing before the class giving some book report/presentation. And she was rocking it because that's what Allyson did.  It's who she was, she was a performer, a brash, enthusiastic star who really did require attention.  That's not an insult, it served her well and she did good things with it until her untimely death in 2005.  But under all that brash, at least in second grade, was a whole lot of insecurity.  So when she sneezed and blasted this gigantic wad of snot out her nose, a wad that, attached by a stringy runner, snapped back like a bungee jumper and smacked her in the cheek, my sudden, raucous cry of laughter was unappreciated.

I wasn't being mean, I swear.  I was seven, a big booger smacked her in the face.  I laughed.  If I could take it back, I would.  If I could have taken it back that MOMENT, I would have, because, while I was clearly not the sharpest knife in the etiquette drawer, I was lethally quick when it came to catching emotional/mood cues from other people.  It was a survival thing.  I knew immediately I'd messed up, but there was no bailing it.  Allyson hated me from that moment on, and it was a deep, long-lasting hatred.  I don't think it ever really went away, in fact.  I never saw Allyson look at me without that curl of the lip, that heavy-lidded glare.  Last time I saw her was the end of 12th grade, and she clearly still despised me.

First thing Allyson did after I laughed was go to Mrs. Jordan and "narc" me out for stealing Kris's homework.  I wish I could say she didn't know what that would lead to, but Allyson knew.  The belting, the screaming, the crying, the devastation that was visited upon me when my father was called?

More than made up for the laugh.  

I don't blame her.  She was seven, too.  And poor Kris B.?  The most innocent of us all?

Well, a websearch tells me that Kris has done just fine.  Whatever damage I might have done him academically doesn't appear to have held him back in the least.  And that's good.  I have enough guilt in my life.


I came across a headstone in my search for old classmates who've died.  An incredibly embarrassing, ironic mistake in the headstone that made me shriek with horror when I saw it.  And then, yes, laugh.  Part of me hopes desperately that it was intentional, that it was a little inside joke between the dead folks and those who come later to see.  But I know that's not likely the case.  I turned to my husband and cried, "DON'T YOU DARE GO GRAMMAR-STUPID ON MY HEADSTONE!"

And he said?

"That'd be one way to find out for sure if there's an afterlife, huh?"

Here's the headstone:

Give yourself a minute.  No screaming.  Yes, I could crack some "alot" jokes or link you to hyperbole-and-a-half, but this actually makes me very sad.  How embarrassing.  How heartbreaking.  It's not like it can be Photoshopped all better or erased and rewritten.  It is, in fact, carved in stone.


While on the subject of bad grammar and dead folks, I came across a memorial the other day where someone shared that folks had gathered and  "recanted their many fine memories" of the deceased.

Well, that's sad.  Really sad, in fact.  


Speaking even further on the subject of bad grammar, there's a Utah thing (happens sometimes in the South, too).  It's the whole "buy, bought, boughten" thing.  You know, like "get, got, gotten."  It's never affected me, though sometimes, when I'm tired and trying to say "gotten" and "bought" it slips out.  But the other day?  I was talking to my husband about making smoothies and I said . . .


You know, like spend/spent and rend/rent?  Blend/blent.

Now I have a habit of intentionally making up words because it's fun and amuses me.  But this wasn't intentional--in fact, it took me a few seconds to figure out what was wrong with the sentence I'd just uttered.



I have a thing.  On my arm.  In my arm, really.  It started back before 2010.  I spoke to my dermatologist then, when it was really just a thickening, with the skin feeling harder and getting rough.  She looked, said it wasn't anything.  I asked her again before we moved, because it seemed bigger, sort of.  Less rough, but thicker.  Again, she said she didn't see anything she was concerned about.

Last year, I went to my primary care physician because, at that point, it had become sort of a dent with a bump.  She referred me for an ultrasound, which showed exactly nothing.  The Radiologist said that she saw no edges, no borders, no nothing--it was just a dent and a bump that didn't show at all.  She said any further action would be up to my PCP.  

My PCP didn't feel any further investigation was necessary.

I haven't really paid attention to it for months.  I don't, you know?  It doesn't hurt, it doesn't DO anything, so I go months without really even thinking about it.  But I looked at it the other day, and really got in and explored it, and I'm sure it's bigger.  I feel certain of this.  

And suddenly I'm very worried.  

Am I just winding myself up because things are tight and stressful and so I'm obsessing?

I hope so.  Because it's going to be November or December before we can afford to have this looked at by . . . whom?  To whom do I take a weird arm thickening?  An orthopedic doc?  A rheumatologist?  What do I need?  An MRI?  

The fun really never does stop.  

It's hard to get a shot of--it's not well defined, but it's where the arm rises up instead of being a straight line.  And I have no idea what it is or if it's related to the various arthritic/rosacea-ic, various other things I have going on.  Knowing my luck, it's something horrid.  Scleroderma or sarcoma or some such crap.  

Or maybe it's nothing at all.  Just a weird, totally benign, not-at-all-a-problem growing thing under my skin.  Because those exist, too.


And that's about it.  Except this:  if you ever find yourself tempted to name your baby "Quazarius" or "Tennzlee?"  Don't, because THOSE AREN'T NAMES!

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