Friday, February 20, 2009

Back in the Day

Blogger's Note: This is a cross-post from some Notes that I put in my Facebook profile last week. Those of you who are on Facebook will probably already have read it, but I thought that for those of you that aren't able to view my profile I'd let you take a quick peek into the life of Daniel P. Daniel. Hopefully some of the memories that I have jotted down ring a bell with some of you or remind you of some of your own memories that you have suppressed. Names have not been changed to protect the innocent since we are all guilty as hell...

I currently live 1000 miles away from the sleepy little Midwestern town in which I grew up. I moved away to go to college in 1991, although admittedly that was only 12 miles up the road. However, 13 years ago I made the trek out west to settle down and to start to grow new roots. I’m not sure if this happens with everyone that moves away from what they called their home for their entire lives, but it seems to me that faces and names and memories of long lost acquaintances tend to fade over time. Over the years those memories get stored in the back of my brain because there is no stimulus to bring them forward. Folks that still live in the area remember the names and faces of people from twenty-odd years past because they are constantly reminded by their surroundings. That’s the place Mike ran over the dog, or this is where I broke up with Sally. I’m not exposed to those external stimuli out here so the memories stay buried and get fuzzy, eventually they get lost altogether. But a couple of months ago something unexpected started to happen. Faces from the past started popping up on this site, and the memories that have been supplanted by my current environment started to surface. As an added bonus, I’ve had the enormous pleasure of chatting with some of the people that helped make me who I am - people that I had given up hope of hearing from long ago. Memories have been flooding in so I thought that I’d slap a couple of them down on (virtual) paper before they get sucked back into the haze. So here they are: 40 random thoughts and memories of days long past. Tell me if they ring any bells. Hopefully I don’t get anyone into trouble…

1. Nights at the Drunken Drive. For the uninitiated, the Drunken Drive was a seldom-traveled dirt road in the country populated only by 5-10 cars full of drunken teenagers and hundreds of cases of Bush Light. A party that was ready to be mobile at the first indication of an uninvited guest. The top-secret password for entry? Flashing your lights. Brilliant.

2. Bullshit sessions at Boater’s house until all hours of the night, of course accompanied with copious amounts of Bush Light or {eek} Bud Dry. Famous quote: “Do you think two cases is enough?” “It’s just the two of us going Aaron, and we’ve got school tomorrow.”

3. Gopher killing in the ’64 Newport. I miss that car. She had push-button shifting, an all steel dash, no seatbelts, could easily go 160 MPH, and handled like a dream on the shoulder where those damn gophers spent most of their time.

4. Bonfire parties. Seriously, when was the last time anybody went to a bonfire party? Traveling to whatever Little Ten town happened to have the spot and watching the girls drink themselves silly on Purple Passion and Peach Schnapps was definitely a favorite of mine.

5. Driving to parts unknown for all night drink fests with Bob and Kevin. I’m surprised that Ford Taurus didn’t need a paint job from all of the stomach acid that was spilled on it.

6. Roger driving at about 200mph with his feet because we were both sitting on the roof of his car outside his sunroof. In retrospect we should all be dead.

7. Awkward make-out sessions with the other team’s cheerleaders at basketball tourneys and track meets. Or just awkward make-out sessions in general. When was the last time anyone had a fumble fest where the goal was to mash with anything then get out of town? Just doesn’t happen anymore.

8. Ditch rides in Bob’s old three-on-the-tree pickup. I think we actually drove it through a cornfield once or twice. Awesome, Slabby Bab.

9. Almost getting expelled because I was “physically intimidating” McCheezney. Come on! All I did was push him down in the hallway because he was being a total fuck-stick. How is that being physically intimidating? Be careful how you answer or I’ll come to your house.

10. Going to an all night party at Roy’s house totally unprepared for waking up in the middle of a civil war rally. There’s something a little unnerving and wholly redneck about poking your head outside of your tent just in time to see a cannon go off.

11. Parties at Chadhole’s house in the trailer out back followed by midnight laser tag rampages with Black Crowes blaring in the background. Does laser tag even exist anymore?

12. Getting carte blanche once a year to terrorize the entire town. Remember dressing up in black and pasting every tree with toilet paper and every blank wall with a slurry of raw eggs and shaving cream? Now that’s just good wholesome vandalism. My mom always used to ask if we had enough shaving cream… Thanks, Mom.

13. Freshman hazing that was sanctioned by the school. We should all have been arrested for assault, technically. I mean, I had to dress up like a pregnant nun for fekk’s sake. And there’s nothing like making an impressionable kid carry your books, sizzle like bacon on the spot, and push a penny across the floor with his nose. Try that now and you’ll wind up doing squat thrusts in the cucumber patch at the state pen.

14. Parties at the fight house. Ah, teen angst at its finest. The pit in the back of Chris’s and Chad’s house in DeKalb (the house was torn down, by the way) was the perfect place to beat the ever-loving crap out of each other for no reason. I could still use a fight house every now and then.

15. Being chased by a wild turkey at Beth’s house one cold February morning while fighting off a hellacious hangover. I probably looked like Buster Keaton running around the farm yard in my socks fending off a rabid bird with a bag of cat food. Thankfully I was the only one around to witness the event. The turkey could not be found for comment…

16. Kamikaze and Purple Passion parties at Julie’s house. Even today when I smell a kamikaze (the drink, not the pilot) it brings me back to all-night drunk fests with the upperclassmen.

17. Grabbing a couple of 40’s with Big A and Nancy before school every day on our senior year. Nothing like slugging down a 40oz. bottle of Miller Lite then pretending to pay attention to some bullshyte homeroom nonsense. Thanks again, Mom.

18. Skate trips to DeKalb with Aaron, Donnie, and Jeff. These were usually followed by blending shakes out of whatever we could find in the pantry at Donnie’s house and at least once followed by a trip to the E.R. for a stomach pump because Donnie O.D.’d on nutmeg.

19. Sneaking out of the house just about every night for moonlit walks and booty calls. You know who you are. Curfew my arse! I used to stop and chat with the town cop when we would happen to pass on the street. “Where you headed, Dan?” “Ah…couldn’t sleep?” “Me neither. Stay out of trouble.” And off I went to whatever debauchery was ahead.

20. Beer can pyramids at Gus Macker tournaments. The shear volume of beer consumed by three or four individuals at these tourneys must have impressed the hotel housekeepers. Captain’s Quarters, Bitches!

21. Spaghetti sandwiches and the Big Stinky at A’s house in the country. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing a Big Stinky in action you are truly missing out on one of life’s most vile inventions, and the spaghetti sandwiches aren’t too far behind.

22. Marathon text adventure video game sessions at Mike’s and Jeff’s houses on the Commodore 128. For all of our law-breaking and underage drinking, we were still just nerds at heart. How about the computing power on that 128? She’s a beaut.

23. Being chased by machete-wielding Shabbona townies down a dirt road outside of town. I guarantee that Nancy’s Ford Escort (or any Ford Escort) has ever been driven that fast in reverse. Bo and Luke would be proud.

24. Inadvertent school evacuations because Justin and I underestimated the smoke-producing capacity of potassium permanganate, sugar and match heads. I’m surprised we didn’t permanently disfigure someone with the unsupervised science experiments we performed on a regular basis.

25. Study sessions at Rachel’s house. We actually studied…most of the time.

26. Plastering the school with Hitler photographs because McCheezney was such a douche bag. Oh my holy God was that guy a jaggoff!?! I used to delight in sending him subscriptions to Playgirl and Butt Lust magazines. My guess is that he liked it as well.

27. Homecoming. The fall air. The buzz in town. The bonfire. The weeks of preparation. Contests at school. The parade. The dance. The game. It was all…electric.

28. Pillaging the IGA whenever Bubba or Nancy happened to be working. How much does this cost? Nothing? How many of these can I fit in my bag? I’ll just come back for more then.

29. Lusting after Beth, Tammy, and Donna when I was a freshman. A more accurate statement would be that I (and the entire male contingent of the Waterman student body) lusted after them from the time our ancestors climbed out of the primordial ooze. Just couldn’t help it, Ladies.

30. The millions of games of 21 and 32 played regardless of weather, and the numerous victims of my free-throw prowess and furious slam-dunking onslaught. The constant smack-downs must have been demoralizing, guys. I should have let you win more often.

31. Hanging out at ball games and track meets with Josh, or just walking around town having the odd heart-to-heart. We weren’t trying to solve the problems of the world, we were just trying to figure shit out. Awesome.

32. On again, off again relationships with everybody (and then everybody else). Let’s face it. We basically lived on a ship in an ocean of corn. It was inevitable that everyone was going to date everyone else, right? I think I even made out with Bob a couple of times. I still miss it.

33. “Discipline yourself so others don’t have to!” If you know the originator of this quote, you probably just shot coffee out of your nose all over your keyboard.

34. Bouncing a sheep’s eye lens into Mrs. Tuntland’s cleavage in science class. It’s the small things in life, you know?

35. Playing pool and ping-ping in Crawford’s basement while drinking all of his dad’s booze. We always pulled the classic “replace the vodka with water” trick as well. How did we ever get away with that shit?

36. Beating up on the Mooseheart kids at whatever game they chose. How could they suck so bad at everything? The Newark clowns weren’t too far behind.

37. Concerts at Alpine Valley, The Vic, and The Aragon Brawlroom with the Malta boys. We saw some smokin’ shows back in the day: Smashing Pumpkins, Black Crowes, Lenny Kravitz, Neds Atomic Dustbin, Jesus Jones, etc. Well maybe not Jesus Jones, but I think you’re picking up what I’m layin’ down.

38. Literally waking up in my dog’s doghouse after a bender with Freddie C. Hey, at least we made it that far. At least I think we made it that far.

39. Going to the midnight basketball leagues in the city to play ball with the gang-bangers. Doin’ some dunks and draining some threes on the boys from the big city was always fun. I got next.

40. Midnight showings at the movie theater in DeKalb when Rach, Chad, and Matt worked there. There was nothing quite like chunking down a cooler full of beer in the aisle and watching a new release with a select few of the Maltonians. Top marks there.

Anything sound familiar? Did it clear the cobwebs out of the dark corners of your brain? Just me then? In retrospect I don’t see how any of us avoided incarceration or cirrhosis of the liver. It seems that we grew up in a place and a time that was somehow protected from the ills of the world. If our kids are even half as lucky as we were I think they’ll be O.K. It’s good to see some familiar faces around here (on Facebook). Let me know what you think and definitely feel free to add to the list.


TJ said...

Lots of happy memories. Good times. Oh, they had nothing to do with me, but I've got oodles of those myself. It's fun to think back sometimes. *sigh*

Dan said...

Seems I just don't do it enough lately.