Another Sunday night and I find myself hitting the blog hard and fast because sometimes I just have to sit down and write about the things that bounce around the old melon. This is going to be one of those posts in which I tell a story but intersperse it with bits and pieces of other things.
You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid– The Offspring
It is 1983 or ’84 and I am about 14 years old. I am standing in the parking lot of my junior high school staring at a bus. I am part of the school newspaper and we are about to embark on a trip up to Fresno. We’re going up to participate in a writing contest and to participate in some workshops.
I am excited. I know, if you are familiar with Fresno that is hard to envision. But remember we’re a bunch of kids on hormonal overdrive heading off to stay in a hotel. There are a few teachers along for the ride, chaperones to keep an eye on us. But we know that we outnumber them and that there is no possible way that they can monitor us the entire time.
It is hard not to be excited. The prior year I went on a school camping trip and learned all sorts of things. We played spin the bottle on the beach. Some of the girls I had kissed during the game are on this trip as well. The boys and I huddle and wonder aloud if they’ll play again or can we up the ante with Truth or Dare.
The bus ride up is typical. We don’t quite know what to with ourselves. We try to impress the girls by being cool but spend more time wrestling in the aisles. It is not easy to be a 14 year-old boy. You have limitless energy and try hard to be mature, but the confusion that comes alongside it all makes it hard.
Eventually we arrive at the hotel and are given our room assignments. I am pleased that I am sharing a room with three friends, because I could have been stuck with some people that I didn’t particularly like. It is junior high so things like that are important.
Inside the room the conversation is going a mile a minute. “Did you see how that Ann Stacey was looking at me. You know she loves me,” I exclaim breathlessly. I barely finish the sentence when David starts to shout about how Melissa put her head on his shoulder and slept there for half the trip.
In between the declarations about who is hot and who is in love we start discussing strategy. We all vow to bring a girl back to the room. In the midst of this Michael throws a role of blue squares on the bed.
Silence ensues. I am not really sure what I am looking at, but I have my ideas.
“I went into my dad’s drawer and grabbed a bunch of condoms for us to use,” he says.
We all nod in unison and reach down to grab one or two. None of us want to admit that we haven’t the foggiest idea what the hell to do with them. Ok, maybe one of those guys did, but I didn’t. But I sure as hell wasn’t going to admit it.
I can’t say that I remember everything that happened after that, but I can say that I took a moment to look at it. My first Trojan in the blue wrapper. I put it in my wallet. I remember thinking that I’d always have my wallet so if I needed it there would be easy access to it.
The conference and contest came and went. We had a blast. Discovered that the mystery door in our room had a partner on the room next to us. It just so happened to be filled with four girls from school. We had a field day with those girls and spent a ton of time running back and forth between rooms laughing about how we had fooled our chaperones.
Anyway our last night in Fresno featured a big dance. The four of us spent most of the dance talking about what we would do if one of those girls gave in and did what we were sure they wanted to do. Of course not one of them did.
Who knows if they would have. It definitely saved me some real embarrassment. And so the conference ended and we headed back home, the condom still tucked safely away in my wallet.
Too many years have passed for me to remember all of the details of the next event, but I remember enough. I am in my English class and somehow one of the other guys has gotten a hold of my wallet.
Out flies the condom. Great. He has three older brothers in high school and college and recognizes it immediately.
“What do you need a condom for, JACK!” “Are you having sex, JACK!” “I bet you’re really big JACK!” “Did you make sure to buy the extra large rubber, JACK!”
As he shouts I am chasing him around the classroom, desperately trying to get to him. I am really embarrassed and I can’t stand the taunting. The teacher walks in and he darts into his seat. His poker face doesn’t hide the laughter in his eyes, but the desk barely hides the condom in his hands.
I am just about to give up when he offers a cheshire cat grin and flashes the condom at me. The teacher can’t see what is happening because my back is between her and him. It is too much and snap.
I grab his desk and dump him and it over. I can still see the shock in his eyes. He didn’t expect that from me and had it not been for the sharp words of our instructor I probably would have followed up by trying to kick the crap out of him.
Not surprisingly that was the last time he ever teased me. But thanks to him I got to hear about that stupid condom for the rest of the school year.
Fortunately that story didn’t follow me into high school, but I have wondered from time to time how many people still remember. I half expect it to show up on Facebook one of these days.