November 2, 2007

The Fabled Galindo Punting

I think I was eight years old. Now, I should preface that by saying that when I try to remember stories from my childhood I somehow always think that I was eight years old. I don't know why. I guess it's because I have a hard time remembering the specific dates from my past, so I subconsciously place those dates on the back of eight year old Steve. However, I'm pretty sure this event actually happened when I was eight year old, so that's good.

It was me and my brother Joe, who was around eleven or twelve at the time, my mom and the Comon (Cum-own) family. My family was always very close to the Comon family, mostly because we were both Mexican families in a predominantly white private school. We hung out a lot, went to movies together, and she was my only women friend and at times my best friend. I would ruin that in eighth grade by dating her and having her break up with me something like six times. But back then we were friends and we were all out somewhere. Where we were at wasn't important. It's what happened when we got home.

Once we got home Britney wanted ice cream and it was agreed all around that we should drive to the new Dairy Queen they opened up down the street.

But I didn't want to go get ice cream. I was the only one who didn't want to go get ice cream.

You know why? Because it was almost 2:30, which meant that Gumby was about to come on channel 15. I loved Gumby. I didn't have a lot of friends as a kid (what's changed?) and lot of the white families in my neighborhood wouldn't let their kids play with me or let me in their houses, so I would pretend that Gumby was my friend and we'd play together inside books. Pathetic but true. I loved Gumby and on this particular day I wanted Gumby instead of ice cream.

I couldn't stay home alone so my brother had to stay home and take care of me while my mom took the Comon family to go get ice cream. But Joe was angry. He was pissed off! He wanted ice cream. He got angry and stomped his feet and SCREAMED because he wanted his ice cream. But my mom said no and he was sent into the house to babysit me while I watched Gumby.

I was already in the futon room watching Gumby. Joe, pissed the hell off, walked into the hallway and saw me sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the tv singing along to the Gumby theme song, my eyes wide with happiness at getting to watch my favorite show.

Joe was so angry, so deeply, hideously angry at me for making him lose his chance at ice cream that he ran towards me as fast as he could and as hard as he could he PUNTED ME, kicking me hard in my ribcage and actually getting air on my defenseless body as I flew off the floor towards the wall.

He seriously took a Charlie Brown kicking the football-type running charge and as hard as he could he kicked an eight year old kid in the ribs. He punted me. He literally fucking punted me! Can you believe that?

I blacked out for a few seconds. When I came to Joe had already walked back into his room and slammed the door. I was there on the floor holding my sides and crying nonstop. I was all alone. So I ran out of the house to see if I could catch my mom and the Comon family but they had just pulled out of the driveway and were driving down the street. Crying and screaming, I ran into the street and started waving my arms, hoping they would see me and they did.

I sat in the backseat of the car and, in between hyperventilating breaths I told them what Joe did. My mom didn't believe me, though. She said, and I'll never forget this, she said "Stevie ... if you really wanted to come and get some ice cream you could have just said so but you don't need to lie to me about it." She didn't believe me. My brother just punted the shit out of me and my own mother didn't believe me.

When I got home from the ice cream my brother, who had the bigger room at the time, peeked his head out of his room and laughed at me. I got so pissed off that I grabbed the first thing I could find, in this case one of those 1980s hard rubber WWF dolls, a Randy Savage I believe, and I threw it as hard as I could at Joe's head. Now I'm not the most athletic person in the world. I wasn't then and I'm still not now. But believe me when i say that I was so incredibly pissed off at my brother that probably for the first and last time ever in my life I threw a perfect throw. This thing was Dan Marino. This was Bullwinkle J. Moose throwing for Wossamatta U. This was the absolute perfect throw, incredibly fast and extremely long and going right for my brother's head.

But that bastard walked away and Randy Savage went flying through my brother's bedroom window.

That's how my brother punted me and I got in trouble for it.

And still, to this damn day, my brother doesn't remember a goddamn thing about it. he doesn't remember losing it over ice cream, doesn't remember getting pissed at me, doesn't remember punting my eight year old ribs all over the futon room. I'll usually bring it up when we're drinking together, one of those trademark Galindo late night kitchen parties my friends used to love me for. I'll tell the story real animated and my brother will blush and try not to smile. For a while he refused to believe it actually happened but a few years ago he admitted that it probably happened.

I laugh about it now but the pain and the humiliation has haunted me for exactly twenty two years.

October 19, 2007

Why I HATE Forrest Gump ...

The summer before my senior year I spend a few days at a high school journalism convention at Northern Arizona State University in Flagstaff. I had already been chosen as the Editor-In-Chief of my school newspaper for my senior year. I was the first male editor of my paper and the first Latino editor of my paper, so I was expected to go to Flagstaff and mingle with other, peppier, much much WHITER editors. Having already gone to two other high school journalism conventions, I brought a ton of comic books and cassettes that I could play on my little handheld cassette player. And a ton of money so that I could walk over to that kick ass massive used music, book, comic book, video game, and magazine store and score some good cheap stuff.

My first day there I walked to the place and managed to find a used cassette tape of the Forrest Gump soundtrack for only $8.99 and that was a deal because it was two cassettes and super expensive. I remember walking back to my temp dorm room with a spring in my step because I couldn't wait to lock the door, crank up the Forrest Gump soundtrack and just rock out in the way I'd normally rock out in an empty room.

Walking into the lobby of the dorm, there were a massive scattered group of forty or fifty kids just sitting all over the floor braiding hair and chatting and playing games and hitting on each other. These were all upperclass white kids that I didn't know. Not a lot of Mexican high school editors in 1994. As I walk to the elevator this really attractive blond girl WHOM I HAD NEVER MET BEFORE asks me what I got. I told her I bought the Forrest Gump soundtrack. She squealed in the way that teens do and told me about how much she loved that movie and loved that soundtrack.

So this total stranger chick WHOM I HAD NEVER MET BEFORE asked me if she could borrow it. I stammered and said no. She pouted and asked why. "Um, because I don't KNOW you" I answered.

She pouted and said "But don't I LOOK trustworthy?"

To tell you the truth, she looked like a cast member of Gossip Girls but that hadn't been created back then. I stammered some more, during which she pathetically begged me to let her borrow it with all the energy of a hyperactive squirrel on speed. "I can't let you borrow it," I said. "I don't know who you are or what your name is or ..."

She spit out her name so quickly that I don't even remember it, then continued her begging. I remember the people she was sitting beside, rich looking white kids no doubt from some upper class suburb like Tempe or Scottsdale. They were looking at me with an open mouthed look of humor, their teeth occasionally poking out of their laughs at me.

"I don't know you. And besides, I bought it. And I haven't even listened to it yet. And if I let you borrow it then how will you find me and give it back to me?"

"Aww, come on, don't be such a wuss! Just let me borrow it!"

I was sixteen back then. Now I'm thirty years old with an amazing younger wife and two amazing daughters who both love wrestling and dancing in the kitchen to Beatles music. My life is good. I'm a successful storyteller and children's entertainer and I make twelve bucks an hour as the manager of the children's section of a major bookstore. I live in California and my life is damn good. I am a stark contrast to the shy little person that I used to be back in Arizona.

See, I mention all of this pointless back story bull because the Steve from California? He would have cut that bitch off, put her in her place, yelled at her and gotten angry with her and cussed her out for having the balls to come at a total stranger and demand something like that. I have numerous times and at great length come up with whole other things I should have said and ways I should have reacted, ways that would have satisfied me, ways that would have showed that I wasn't such a stupid, weak, shy, worthless little loser back then.

But yeah. I let that complete stranger borrow it.

I went back to my temporary dorm and played my warbly R.E.M. cassette for the 100th time and daydreamed stupid thoughts of the girl so grateful to me for letting her borrow my tape that she'd hug me or even kiss me and we'd start dating and fall in love. I imagined us dating and even made a list of the places we could go on dates.

The next day on my way to classes she found me, tossed me the cassette, and mumbled a small thanks.

She might as well had ripped my dick off.

I am so ashamed of myself for that. Who in their right mind would buy something and then let a complete and total stranger borrow it? Me, apparently. And the thing that sucks is that the Forrest Gump soundtrack is one amazing soundtrack, one of the best soundtracks ever. And now I can't listen to it. I can hardly even see the movie.

It all stands as a reminder of how weak I used to be.

And still am. Inside.

October 17, 2007

"Look At That Kid. He's Not Crying!"

My father was and still is a highly athletic person. When I was growing up he was a successful semi-professional runner and cyclist with numerous trophies and medals all over the house and a massive collection of race t-shirts that I would kill to have now, although I'd wear them ironically. My dad was a bit elusive and hard to pin down when I was younger. I felt like I hardly knew him. He works as a contract estimator which means that he's always traveling to his next job and leaving one company for another one. I didn't get to see as much of him as I would have liked when I was a kid and growing up I tried really hard to impress him.

So once time when I was around eight or nine I decided to run a race with my dad. Most of his races usually also had 5K "fun runs" that kids and old people would do. I figured I'd run the 5K and really impress him. I pulled my socks up. I got some short running shorts. I stretched, or what I thought stretching was from seeing my dad do it before races. I even had a secret plan - I would, once the gun went off, start running as fast as I could and maybe even win the race. That would really impress him. This was it. I was ready.

Once the gun went off I started running as fast as I could. I was in the front of the pack. I smiled. I was so proud. I looked back and saw my dad purposefully running slow so I could beat him. I never felt so proud before. I really felt amazing.

And then I tripped. I fell hard on my right knee. A second later someone tripped on me. My knee was stinging like hell. I straightened my glasses and looked down as my knee. It was covered in blood and dripping down my leg. I started crying like mad.

My dad caught up to me but since he was on my left side with people running past he didn't see my knee. I'm crying and bleeding but he thinks I just fell and now I'm crying. He gets angry at me and yells at me to stop crying and get up. He calls me a crybaby. I tried to tell him about my knee but I'm crying and hyperventilating, so it all comes out in unintelligible screeches. He says to stand up and keep running or he'll run without me. I try and tell him but I'm still crying too much. So my dad just took off running, leaving me and my bloody knee there on the floor.

I wanted to impress my dad so much though that even though I was in extreme pain and my right leg was covered in blood and I couldn't see thru all the tears, I stood up and limp ran my way through the rest of race. I remember passing my mom on the way and she made this angry face like she was pissed off and ashamed and she wanted me to stop crying. I pointed at my leg and all the blood. She just made this shocked face. I probably should have stopped. Fuck, I probably shouldn't have stood up at all. But I wanted to impress my dad and so I kept on running until I finished the race. I did it, though. that's one thing I can say. I finished the damn race.

Someone saw me at the finish line and rushed me to the first aid tent. They had me lay down on a cot and told me they'd soon make the pain go away. But then I guess they took off to help other people outside of the tent because they just left me there. They took off and I was all alone for a very long time, just me and my heavily bleeding leg. Eventually I stopped crying and got scared, wondering where my parents were, wishing they'd walk in and take me home. But I was eight years old so there was a part of me that actually thought they were ashamed of me for falling and crying and hurting myself. That word, crybaby, just echoed in my head. Maybe they were ashamed of me and left me here. Maybe I had no parents anymore.

Another person came in escorting a hyperventilating overweight teenage woman. She could hardly breath and she was crying like crazy. She kept sobbing that she didn't finish the race and her dad was going to kill her. The woman who had escorted her pointed at me and said "Stop crying. Don't be a crybaby. Look at that kid. HE's not crying?" That made me feel like the worst person in the world.

Eventually my parents found me and the first aid people wrapped my knee up. My mom tried to change the subject and put a bright spin on things by taking a picture of my brother and I, the two successful joggers. I still have the photo. Joe looks like he doesn't care where he is and I look exactly like you'd expect me to look. And my right knee is covered in gauze. I'll occasionally find it lying around the house. I'll look at it and I'll remember how bad it felt, my dad leaving me there with my leg covered in blood.

And to this day there's still a part of my right knee that's slightly darker than the rest.

October 10, 2007

Face In The Mud And My MC Hammer Pants

When I was in eight grade there was this big kid in seventh grade who would make fun of me all the time. I was ashamed because I was older than him and yet this kid would bully the hell out of me. I told my parents about it once and they just laughed at me and said that I should defend myself but I didn't know how. It's not like I've ever been the strongest person in the world.

One day after school it was raining really bad and my parents hadn't showed up to pick me up yet. I was waiting for them to show and the damn bully kid comes around the corner with his friend and he sees me. I didn't want to confront him so I just looked dead ahead and kept walking, pretending I didn't see him. The asshole trips me, sending me falling face first into a huge puddle of mud.

I stand up, totally crying, completely covered in mud, and he starts laughing. That's when I lost it. I charged him, intent on beating the shit out of him. But instead I threw the weakest punches ever. Weak, wide girl punches, more like slaps, and he gives me this W.T.F. look as I just keep crying and throwing these pathetic ass weak girly punches at his arms and shoulders that do absolutely nothing to him. He just keeps looking at me and I just keep crying, mud all over me, slap punching him. It was one of the worst moments of my life.

I weak punched him for about ten seconds before my older brother Joe, wearing MY oversized MC Hammer-ish parachute pants for reasons I never fully realized, runs out of his car (apparently he was there to pick me up and didn't notice me until he started laughing at the kids in the mud, then realized that the kid in the mud was me) and he throws him up against the brick wall by his neck like the Terminator. He threatens him, saying "Don't you ever fuck with my fucking brother EVER AGAIN or I'll fucking KILL YOU, you hear me?" He made my bully cry, something I'm eternally grateful for, and then he wiped me off as best he could and took me to his car so that he could drive me home.

I sat there in the backseat of Joe's car covered in mud and crying my eyes out. Joe's friend Schmike with the fake teeth was in the passenger seat and asked me how I was. I remember thinking "Why the hell is Joe wearing my MC Hammer pants?"

The kids never bothered me again. But I'm still haunted by his laughter as I'm covered in mud and my weak girly punches. That's one of only two real fights I've ever been in in my life. Since that time I've worked out and trained my fist and my knuckles to accept pain and punishment, which is probably one of the reasons why I punch walls at work.

There's a part of me that secretly wishes that I could get mugged or attacked or beaten up so that I could fight and let loose all this aggression I have inside me.

But there's a part of me that lives in fear of fighting again and realizing too late that I still punch like a girl.

That bothers me ALL THE TIME.

October 9, 2007

My Stupid Blog ...

This is going to be nothing at all but the stupid, unedited, unadulterated mistakes I've made and the horrible things I've done that have haunted me my whole life. Nothing but my stupid things.

Every second of my life I feel plagued by the stupid things that have happened to me in my past, stupid little things that I can't seem to let go of. I'll be at work and I'll be doing fine and then I'll remember that time when I was seven and I asked my mom to marry me or that time I had a nosebleed in third grade and my teacher called me a nosepicker in front of the whole class. It's impossible for me to forget the mistakes and embarrassment and tears of my past, every one from when I was a kid all the way to earlier today when Lance got pissed off at me and almost made me cry.

That's it. This is my stupid blog.

I usually go by Steve. In fact, EVERYBODY in the world knows me by Steve or Mr. Steve or Reverend Steve. But my name is Esteban. Esteban Christian Galindo. When Bizarre magazine wrote an article about me they printed my real name, my full name.

I wanted to cry.