all that glitters

Work today was an all-out assault. I don’t remember feeling so completely taxed in a long time. It was one of those days where I just couldn’t get away from the distractions and interruptions. Whenever I got focused on something, something came up and sidetracked me. Phone calls, working with people, my brain was switching tasks too fast and I got burned out. To top it off, I didn’t get a proper night’s sleep the previous night and it was my first day trying to cut back on both the amount of, and kind of, food I eat. I figure I have to do something about this gut… I just can’t abide it any longer.

The other day I was IMing with my old friend Andy, and mentioned that I was also multitasking and trying to write an entry. Since I’m not entirely sure if this not-writing jag I’ve been on is a product of me being so busy lately, or just me not having something decent to write about – I asked Andy for some ideas. He bounced a couple ideas off me before the words “Robin’s birthday present” come across the IM. Once my memory was jogged, I agreed that this had to be written down. Before the story, let me set the scene.

Robin was the first person I met when my family moved to Florida before I started the 6th grade. Her dad was our real estate agent when we were searching for the place we’d eventually call home. During the house-hunting process, my folks formed a decent relationship with our agent, Robin’s dad, and after we’d decided on a property and the deal was done he asked the family over for dinner at their place. That’s the night I met Robin. She was a smart girl, we were both around the same age – and me being a 6th grade boy I was of course mildly attracted to her (as 6th grade boys tend to be to any and all females). I remember that night, she had a book on handwriting analysis and she had me write a paragraph to analyze. Turns out the book said my handwriting showed I was conceited… at the time I didn’t know what the word meant, but I suppose that book had me pegged.

When I started the 6th grade at my new school, Robin ended up being in almost all of my classes. (When I was in the 1st grade, I took a test and was branded “gifted.” It was by virtue of this taxonomic classification that I met and stayed with my clique of friends, including Robin, for my entire middle-school career). Around the 8th grade, Robin became my first real girlfriend and we dated on and off (mostly on) for the next two-ish years. Come Robin’s sweet-16, we had recently broken up for what I think was the last time. It wasn’t a nasty breakup, our relationship had been mostly one of convenience… y’know, someone to sneak into the woods with and fool around, someone to talk to and hold hands with, etc. I mean, we were kids after all. Anyway, although freshly-estranged, I was still invited to her 16th birthday celebration, along with 15-20 more of her closest friends.

At the time, the group of friends I ran with was pretty tight. So it was no surprise that the afternoon before the party found us all hanging at my place kicking around potential gift ideas. I’m not entirely sure what the genesis of our eventual gift was… I imagine that it had something to do with the fact that none of us had given the matter any though until the day-of, and was compounded by our inability or lack of desire to “run out” and pick something up for the occasion. Either way, someone came up with the idea to get a medium sized cardboard box, line it with plastic, and then fill it with a vile mix of random substances from around my house. Once we had the leakproof plastic-lined box prepared, we began dumping in the ingredients. I had forgotten a lot of what went into the box, but a quick consultation with both Andy and Kyle helped reconstruct what I think is a pretty accurate rundown.

The base of the box was dirt. We piled in a decent amount of soil from the backyard. After that, we began rooting through the pantry. Chocolate syrup, ketchup, two swiss cake rolls, whip cream, raw ground beef, flour, milk, a can of kidney beans, one egg, cream corn; it all went into the box and was mixed thoroughly with a stick. Now, I don’t think it wasn’t part of the original plan, and was even a bit extreme for my taste… but I heard a rumour that someone may have even relieved himself into the box during the ingredients procedure. #1, not #2. Actually, that’s not a rumour at all… I saw my buddy straddle and pee into the box of crap right before my eyes. We all knew it was taking it a step to far, but once the pee was in the box it became part of the plan. As you can imagine, the varied nature of our box’s contents favored the nose with a super nasty stank. Once sealed and wrapped, the little square box looked rather unassuming – and its considerable weight worked in our favor as it piqued curiosity over the possible gift contained within.

I remember taking the gift to the party, along with the card we’d done: a greeting card (not even for a birthday) that we’d all signed and then purposely put in the road and run over with the car so it had tire-marks and road-burn all over the…

Wait… wait…
This is bad.
I feel more and more like a dick the more I write about this…

Sometimes the stuff we did back then confounds me, but y’know, I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything. Like driving around subdivisions late at night and spotting a Big Wheel left out on a porch, then pulling it to the middle of the street and running it down at 40mph in the Nissan Sentra. Or cruising the K Mart parking lot for a car with its sunroof open so we could drop a lit “Mammoth Smoke” inside, then watching the firetruck from the bank parking lot across the street. Some kid’s Big Wheel! Someone’s car! We had no hearts. Anyway… I digress, back to the story.

The party was a grand event, and all our friends were there. When we walked in with the box and handed it to Robin, Andy remembers her saying, with excitement, something like, “This is the heaviest gift, so I’m going to save it for last!” I don’t remember much from the actual party, as my nervousness and anticipation about the gift-opening probably occupied most of my thoughts. Having a reputation as jokers, a considerable amount of “buzz” developed about the gift. So much so that, when the time came for Robin to open her gifts, people crowded around the dining room table. As she promised, she saved our gift for last. I vaguely remember not being able to bring myself to watch the event transpire in real time. Instead, I think I turned my head and waited for the crowd’s reaction. From here on out I get the details mixed up, but I can remember a few things. I remember people saying, “What is that?!,” and, “It smells so bad!,” and I remember a guy named Paul laughing loudly.

Robin cried.

I don’t remember how long after that it was that I swung a stick and shattered their porchlight, quite by mistake I might add, but I guess that was the final straw. Her father, who was red in the face with anger, promptly called us foul words and banished us from the party. I think we actually left through the screened in porch in the backyard, he didn’t even give us the chance to walk back through the house and say goodbye. Apparently, due to the smell, quite a few people assumed we had given Robin a box of shit for her 16th birthday. It was a box of “shit,” I guess, although not in the literal sense. And, despite how things now seem when I look back, I don’t think we really understood the utter rudeness and downright meanness of some of the things we used to do. At the time, we were just into pulling pranks and doing stupid stuff.

Sharaun hates it when I cuss on my blog, and I generally agree with her. It’s usually not necessary to swear to make good comedy, and, in general, it detracts from the perceived intelligence and couth of a person. But some stories, like this one, absolutely require the use of a few bad-words. Them’s the breaks I guess. I guess the story may not be as funny to someone who wasn’t there or doesn’t remember it, reading it back I got a little chuckle but I’m not sure how the uninitiated will receive it. I thought I’d float it out anyway, so now it’s over.

Well, tonight was the Bravery show and I must admit it was mighty enjoyable. Short, but good sound and nice bouncy 80s-synth-rock goodness. Local shows are always the best because I can be home and in bed before midnight, all with a good show still ringing in my ears. Goooooood night.

Also written on this day...

One Reply to “all that glitters”

  1. I distinctly remember that event and, to this day, I am embarrassed by the whole thing! I can’t actually believe you did that, but guess there are many more things you did that were equally as rotton, if not more so. Several come to mind very rapidly, not to mention all those I am not (and don’t wish to be) aware of. Was I THAT bad a mother??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *