This is Nato Kitsch

The innate argument of biographies, I believe, is reality vs fantasy. You are essentially selling yourself to prospective people who have little to no desire to read a resume and would rather get to know you in five lines or less.

Thus, you have to balance your own skills with boosting your ego in order to seem like you are an expert that someone would want to hire as well as feeling confident enough to invite people to collaborate with you on projects. Because of the nature of creative individuals, stretches of your personal achievements are made to benefit your “brand” and thus make you more attractive.

With that in mind, and my utter hatred of About Me pages, I have decided to skip the summary and, instead, write a detailed, intimate, and partially fabricated account of my life, because no one  is 100% truthful on their About Me pages, so why should I be?

Please enjoy my About Me page.

 

Prologue of Prologue:
The Prologue

In a small town tucked away in the Davey Crocket National Forest on a hot night in the early days of July, a being of life was brought into the world to a Conservative Lawyer and an Independent ESL Teacher. As he emerged from the gateway that separated life and death, his name was trumpeted from the heavens by doves and pigeons. Morphine was apparently involved.

As the moon set behind the tall pine trees and the stars shown, a small baby child was taken home and put on a small basket where his parents wished him well, then placed the basket on Lake Livingston, and nudged it, hoping the child the best for his future.

The basket drifted down through crocodile-infested waters as “Tonight You Belong to Me” played, the cover by Nancy Sinatra to clarify. Actually, it’s probably the cover by The Bird and the Bee, but that wasn’t out yet, so we’ll go with the Nancy Sinatra version. As the small child looked up into the sky, he could see the face of Jesus as he drifted towards uncertainty, excitement, future, and what all of those held for him.

Thoughts rushed through his head. Who am I? What will I become? Will I be eaten alive by crocodiles or by the slow acidic juices of life? Will I be ever floating a la Dr. John C. Lilly, or will I tip over and drown? If I drown will I be found? What is consciousness and the nature of the future? Maybe I'll find that one day. Maybe I'll find it making a website.

 
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Prologue: The Beginning

I awoke to the faces of two beings, one of which was my mother, and the other, my father. A mobile spun around my head with the planets. I wore a NASA onesie and my eyes were blue. Like most children, I had a larger vocabulary in my head than I could articulate at the time, but if I were to try and communicate the deep, thought-provoking ideals my brain contained, it would consist of “I am hungry, give me food servants” and “I seem to have soiled myself and my tiny arms are incapable of tending to it.”

The next year was filled with monumental milestones such as my first steps towards anarchism and progress, being taught about conforming to social norms, such as pooping, and, most importantly, experiencing the gluttony that comes with liquid food. It was a mixed bag, but one that came with airplanes forcing their ways into my mouth, even though plums are disgusting.

The vague recollection of crawling along the vanilla floors and hiding in a shoe for days on end, the only thing that brought me comfort were the sounds of crickets and old John Denver records haunt me to this day. I kept telling myself that this was the best life was going to get, and to prepare for nothing but disappointment as life is nothing but downhill after you’re born.

The perpetual cycle of life continued. I was taken from relative to relative to be introduced, most of whom I would not accurately meet for at least 5 years, as any normal child. Their names were as vague as my concept of time, and much like the presents they would give me for later birthdays, it was the thought that counted.

I was a fat child. 

 

Chapter 1: Post-Prologue

The day came for my first word. My mother and father attempted to get me to say something traditional like “mama” or “dada” but I decided to go for the untraditional word “dookie” which I assume was a declaration of acceptance that my best days were behind me and my slow trek through childhood was about to begin.

Soon enough, my consciousness would form more, leading to an imbalance of my acknowledgement of life and my ability to interact with the world.

My mother went back to work and placed me at a daycare with a self-proclaimed stripper in the hopes I would befriend her son, who was by all accounts (i.e. my impression) an ugly child with an inflated ego. One day, our sitter asked me, her child, and the two other random persons at the daycare what we wanted to be when we grew up.

I wanted to be a ninja.

I made nunchucks out of toilet rolls and rope.

If I knew any better, I would realize those would not be effective against assassins.

I also lost my favorite LEGO person in some hay. I will never forgive them for not finding it.

After graduating from daycare, which I received both a piece of paper and fuel for my later therapy, it was time to head towards pre-k, as I was deemed too stupid for first grade.

 
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Chapter 2: Enter Sandman

The general consensus of pre-k as an experience is that naps are involved and no one is really certain of what you’re supposed to get out of it. You’ll learn the ABCs again in first game, same for numbers, I guess the most important lesson I learned in pre-k would be that bees are evil and only exist to try and murder you with vicious vigor.

We had a sandbox below a small fort-like structure and swings in the backyard. A fence surrounded it to keep the wild boars away. Unfortunately, the fence also housed a hive of bees and one day, whilst following my brother to jump over it and learn about how to follow instead of lead, I inadvertently upset the order of nature and was immediately swarmed like a swarm of bees on a small child.

If I were to estimate, I believe that because of me the entire hive became extinct by the number of bees that attacked me. I found solace knowing the child that my parents would have to replace me would not be attacked by them and find a dry husk of a bee hive under the fence and then learn of his middle-big brother’s sacrifice so that he may swing towards the sky and never obtain true freedom.

It was a week in the hospital wrapped up like a poorly made Halloween costume that allowed me to reflect on the lesson I had just learned and quickly ignore after healing.

My phobia of ants were planted in my mind during my 6th summer of existence. I remember it vividly, as we visited my Grandmother’s farm on a family outing. The sun shown, I wore black rubber boots with red soles. I had on an Elmo shirt and blue shorts. There was a mountain of dirt, and, as a stupid child, it seemed to call to me to jump in it and get muddy and experience my parent’s disappointment would linger for days as the smell of grime would permeate the house.

Fortunate for them, it was not dirt. Unfortunate for me, it was a giant mount of hell. Giant (to a child) fire ants flew out of the ground, like demons from the bowels of hell. They crawled up my legs and covered my body, biting all my skin off to take it back to their Queen who desired the flesh of a small child.

My screams filled the air, and the following ambulance ride was one of many I would experience during my life. I decided not to tell my peers of the experience as not to be seen as a dumb-dumb, which marked the first good idea I ever made. 

 

 Chapter 3: Making New Experiences

First grade was a good change of pace for myself. Like most children, first grade was the time to make connections that will follow you through the rest of your life. You could make them by participating in normal games such as that one where you throw a ball to other children, or the one where you kick a ball to other children, or the one where you kick and/or throw a ball to other children. Being a rebel without a concept of what a cause would be, I lucked into a far better way to guilt other children into being my friends.

I got diagnosed with cancer.

No one is entirely sure what causes Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), but if I had to guess, I would say racism. it’s as valid of a theory as any other I’ve heard, so I’m just going to go with that.

The worst thing about cancer is probably the knowledge that I could not play Tree #3 in the first grade Christmas play. Sure, I wasn’t Rudolph, or Santa, or one of the Three Wise Men, or Frosty the Snowman, or The Grinch, or the Little Drummer Boy, or the Krampus, but I was Tree #3, damn it, at least until I got cancer.

To make this depressing story even worse, they gave me a VHS of the performance to cheer me up, which only made me more depressed that I was not Tree #3.

Some people are born to play certain parts. Shelley Duvall was born to play Olive Oyl, Tim Curry was born to play every British person ever, and I was born to play Tree #3, a character who is silent, gets cut down and dragged off the stage by a lumberjack. It was a dream role, one I will never get the chance to relive, and watching it on a TV with limited channel options secluded to a small room with a bed and the sound of an IV dripping, seeing the role I practiced for over months, possibly years, crushed my spirit and I blame this moment for becoming a pessimist.

I am being sincere when I stress that, if it were not for this VHS tape and the inability to play Tree #3, I would not be the depressing, fun-sucking asshole with little to know friends and a strong work ethic.

 
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Chapter 4: Cancer

If you were hoping for a chapter detailing the horrible, painful experiences I encountered over the three and a half years of treatment, including the lawsuit my parents filed to get the insurance company to realize that it wasn’t a pre-existing condition, then I have bad news that you will hate.

This chapter is all about Cancer.

I don’t think I’m going to step on any toes when I say cancer sucks. It’s a crab. Name me one crab who doesn’t suck or is portrayed in a negative light. Crabs are selfish pricks who are incapable of holding hands in a meaningful way and walk as if they have PS1 era tank controls, which was quite common in the early days of 3D platformers.

Cancer sucks for many other reasons, such as its constellation being an upside down Y and looking nothing like a crab. That doesn’t even look like the sideways 69 they have on necklaces at the Ren Fair. Ren Faire? Whatever.

I think the worst thing is being a Cancer who has Cancer because then they just cancel each other out and leave you a void of nothingness in a sea of more developed individuals with distinct identities. I often find myself questioning if I actually exist or if this was just the first step towards slowly fading into the background.

Were other children just nice to me because they thought I was going to die and when I didn’t, they went along with it out of the awkwardness of the situation? Do you really survive Cancer or does it just prolong your shortened life? Does the radiation just make you a hollow husk a person slowly deteriorating away and when you try to escape from the stigma of being a survivor it comes back and just yells “YOU HAVE CANCER” because you can’t escape, you want to be normal, you want to just go over to a friend’s house and play but you can’t because you might end up dead from a wild boar or some kind of bacterial infection, maybe your cancer spread to your butt, you have no butt, it’s gone, bye bye butty, you’re in a constant state of fear and panic that any day it could all come back and kill you, you are aware of your mortality and wish it had all ended back when you were 7 before you had to consider this every day of your life, before you became numb to the existence of how short life really is and how insignificant you are, you aren’t going to be fondly remembered and have stories of you passed down from generation to generation, mainly because we don’t know where the heck your Cancer came from, it might be genetic, and since you had it, your child could have it, or his child, or his child’s child, and it’s all the fault of you for getting it in the first place.

My parents were supportive and I think they and other close family and friends are the reason I survived, whether I realized it at the time or not. Also, I got a Green Arrow action figure, I think that helped as well.

Alright, let’s never talk about Cancer again, and skip ahead three and a half years. 

 

 Chapter 5: More Cancer

In the second grade, my teacher was coincidentally my Mother, it was a good year with nothing substantial happening in it.

 
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Chapter 6: The See-Saw

The playground outside my elementary school had three main portions to it. First was the basketball court with no basketball nets that sat next to a geodesic dome and a swingset, this was known as the “outcast corner” and was only missing goth music and a Starbucks. Next was a jungle gym they made out of discarded tractor tires and pieces of wood, strung together with the hopes and dreams of children, as well as rope. That was known as the “Fun Place” but was run by the cool kids who had enough upper strength to lightly nudge weaker kids into the rock valley that surrounded the obstacle course. Finally, there were three see-saws that whose base was barely connected to the ground.

This was mine, because the rumor was a 5th grader fell off of it and impaled his head onto a loose metal pipe.

I had nothing left to live for, so it was mine.

I think my personal favorite catchphrase is “I guess I’ll do it, I have nothing left to live for” which I’m pretty sure originated on that see-saw. I would sit alone on it, doodle on a piece of notebook paper I had snuck out in my pocket (they frowned upon drawing when you should be playing) and just enjoy the solitude.

There was something strangely tranquil about sitting on it, it was my Sweedish chess game, my flirtation with death. If the other side ever hoisted me up, that trip downward could be my end, I danced with death on the sparsely populated playground and I had won.

It was this rebellious attitude (for 3rd grade) that attracted some peers to eventually form around me, either that or the idea that they got tired of the other two spots, which was more likely. We developed a shared love of sitting and talking, something that was alien in an environment filled with our peers.

We weren’t the smartest, except for Melanie, or the coolest, except for Melanie, or the nicest, except for Zach, or the most well-defined personality, except for Melanie, but we strangely fit together, except for the one I can’t legally name.

We were all in different classes, though. There were three teachers for all the grades, but each one had their own class, I believe it was to teach us about classism in modern society, but it could also be just so one teacher didn’t go insane with 30 kids all at once.

Because of this, the only place I would see most of these persons is on the playground and at lunch, but we will talk about lunch when we get to 5th grade, so for now let’s just pretend that we didn’t need to eat to survive. 

 

Chapter 7: The Best Birthday of My Childhood

When you’re born on independence day, you find yourself with a flag cake, celebrating not only your independence from your mother’s womb, but also the independence of the country, even though Britain has more relaxing accents, let’s be honest.

A flag cake would not be a problem if not for my allergy to red food coloring, something that would not be found out until 2011, and we’ve passed the Willennium and entered the Willennium-and-first year of life.

The movie Cats & Dogs has a special place in my heart, because I finally got to go see a movie that was released on my birthday with my friends, instead of having half of them already have seen the film before my birthday and ruining it for me.

We had a sleepover, played Sega Genesis, and freeze tag.

In the morning, we ate the traditional flag cake before my parents drove us to the movie theater, where we procured popcorn, drinks, and excitement for the fun-filled action film starring Tobey Maguire, or as I knew him, Spiderman.

The opening credits rolled, we could not contain our excitement, I was so happy I was shaking in my seat. Coincidentally, I have a hard time knowing the difference between excitement/joy and nausea/dizzy when it comes to feelings. In this case, it turned out not to be the joy category.

After exactly 5 minutes 29 seconds into the film, I rushed off to the restroom where my body attempted to expunge flag cake from my body. After what seemed like minutes upon minutes, someone had gone to inform the manager of my dire situation.

He was really nice.

The manager understood my plight of wanting to see this movie with my friends, but also not wanting to vomit on them in the process. If he told my mother I was vomiting, it would ruin the movie for all my friends as well, so that could not be done. There was only one other option to be utilized using a “Birthday Miracle” which, obviously, meant the manager running back and forth between the movie and the bathroom, informing me what was happening during the movie.

From what I could tell from his descriptions, it was an amazing movie, possibly the best movie of all time. I dare not watch it to retain one happy birthday memory of a nice man telling me about things I couldn’t see while I was vomiting profusely into a toilet. 

 
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Chapter 8: The Other Birthdays of My Childhood

Since we’re on the subject of birthdays, I have taken the initiative to rank my other birthdays from childhood and add brief descriptions to them from this point onward, since I’m only counting birthdays that were not put together out of the guilt that I might die horribly from cancer.

So here are my other birthdays from least bad to worst:

2006 - I played video games, no one came over but I got to play with friends on Final Fantasy XI.

2000 - It was the new millennium, excuse me, Willennium, as such two people came to my birthday out of the 6 that were invited and one of them lived across the street, so I’m not completely comfortable counting him.

2003 - Melanie, Zach, and (name omitted) went to some kind of Christian festival that had this Australian band as the headliner. It should be mentioned that this Australian Christian Rock Band’s lead singer later dropped out of the band for becoming an alcoholic and having affairs on the road. I thought that was funny when I found out in college.

2007 - I don’t remember this one, but every time I try to think of it, I just hear the Shrek soundtrack.

2004 - We went to Dallas to the Lego Tour. I received a commemorative Lego Brick and bought a Sonic action figure, as well as an action figure of Big the Cat. (name omitted) vomited in the family van on the way back, which also got on my action figures. The smell of tacos permitted from the action figures for years no matter what I did.

2002 - My family went to the town’s 4th of July celebration to see the fireworks, this would be the last time I was taken to see fireworks as when asked how I felt about the fireworks going off for me by a stranger, I answered “I don’t care, please leave me alone, I’m playing video games” which was true. I was grounded for a week for that comment.

I think that is a good ranking and summary of my birthdays that gives a hint on why I really dislike birthdays. 

 

Chapter 9: A Happy Tale

It has come to my attention that these stories may be perceived as being depressing and ultimately make it hard to read through this entire page, which is the point, but as I am dependent on clients not running away in horror to a therapist, I shall attempt to retell a happy tale from my childhood near where I left off in an attempt to say that not everything is horrible.

So, let me tell you about Miss Shiela.

Miss Shiela is one of the most amazing persons who ever lived and took care of me during cancer and afterwards as well. She lived on a big farm with a big forest to the back.

Long before the knowledge that snakes, wild boars, and ghosts existed, I was a pretty free child. Whenever I would go over, we would go outside and collect twigs and build a fort, which never got finished, but that’s not the point.

She had a big barn with a mural a foreign exchange student had done while they were hosting him. Unfortunately, that barn was destroyed in a hurricane. 

Hold on, I promise this is a happy story, just be patient.

After the barn was rebuilt, it looked bleak being plane and red, so she asked me if I would make another mural. I happily agreed and drew a plan for mountains and clouds and religious symbols. By all accounts, it was a great time filled with hard work, lemonade, grilled cheese sandwiches, and satisfaction.

I also decided to try and paint a dove in the top right corner. It did not go well. It looked bad, so I painted over it. You can still kinda see it if you look close.

Despite that, Miss Shiela loved it and offered to pay me, which I would not allow. The experience of making a mural with my limited painting skills was one of the fondest memories I have of childhood that didn’t involve video games.

Who knows, maybe if I did more murals and got better at drawing I would be happier. Then again, if I did, I probably would eventually hate murals and blame them for my seemingly endless inability to find happiness in my personal art.

I hope that is satisfactory to your need for happy stories in an otherwise depressing and cynical existence. 

 
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Chapter 10: Lunchtime Pokémon

My brother got me my first Gameboy, meaning that he traded something or other for it along with my first handheld game ever: Spot (basically Othello) and it was, alright. But a few years later, a cultural phenomenon came a knocking that ate up my time for months on end.

The game was called Dragon Warrior Monsters and no one else in my school played it.

Luckily, Pokemon came about and changed the game, unfortunately, our technophobic school made it very difficult to play with other students outside of the 30 minutes of recess we had.

The only other interaction opportunity we had was lunch, which was 30 minutes of opportunity. The downside was there was a lunch monitor who hated the sound of joyous children.

Gameboys would be confiscated and given at the end of the school day, despite the fact that they weren’t distracting us from learning, just from growing morbidly obese, which would happen to the majority of my class anyway.

Something had to be done, and being a smart-ass, I cut a hole in the inner pocket of my jacket to allow me to slip it inside of it whenever she’d come along. She’d pat my pocket and feel nothing, then move on. Finally, we could trade Pokemon in peace. You know, besides the impending doom of standardized tests and what happened in Jr. High to further divide us, but that’s Chapter 12. 

 

Chapter 11: Losing Friends

6th Grade was the last year of my elementary school life and, as such, it was time to learn about the sadness of classism in modern society. Of course, I’m talking about standardized tests.

I really didn’t care that much about state-sponsored testing, it was always an excuse to mark random answers and then goof off for the rest of the school day. In hindsight, this was not a very good idea as it turns out this specific test was also being used to determine which class we would be in for the rest of our non-higher education lives.

Of course, they did not tell me that before I made random dots on a scantron so I could go draw playing cards for a fictional game my friends and I played that in hindsight really made no sense.

I’m not bitter that I could’ve had a decent chance to hang out with my friends, NO NOT AT ALL.

Anyway, so we were really into Pokemon Trading Card Game and decided to try and make our own based on it. With my elementary-grade drawing skills and our collective ignorance of how card games are played, we succeeded at making an overly complex nonsensical card game that no one could actually win.

In essence, we ripped off Calvin and Hobbes but with poorly-ripped pieces of paper.

Anyway, no one else played the game after we made it, so it was kinda a bust, I don’t know why I brought it up.

 
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Chapter 12: The Dissolution of Friendship

Like previously stated, the dumb dumb standardized test as part of President Bush’s “No dumb-dumbs” initiative, it turns out I was an average-average, but it didn’t kick in until 7th Grade.

Jr. High had all of my classmates sorted into three classes: A, B, and C. The teachers insisted they were exactly the same, but considering the A class got to experience science class with an actual professor and the B class got a volleyball coach, I was very skeptical. 

My friends entered into the A classes, I entered into the B classes. It was the first time in my life I felt truly dumb-dumb instead of just stupid-dumb.

This would also be my first and last year in band. I played the saxophone. I had not had a growth spurt and thus the saxophone was bigger than I was.

During a truly special number of events, our band teacher ended up being a raging alcoholic who would throw erasers and pens at students. One day, he came in and distributed new sheet music and told us to discuss.

We did.

He then proceeded to come in and yell at us for talking in his class, afterwards he demanded we write a one-page explanation of why we were complaining.

I did.

A few moments later, I was sitting across from the principal as he read aloud what I had written and attempted not to break out laughing. This was the first time I had embraced my innate sarcasm, and it made one authority figure enraged and another one almost burst out into hysterics. Truly, this was a sign of things to come.

I was sent to OCS (On Campus Suspension) so it just meant I had to go to school and do work just without going to my locker in-between or having to sit next to students who cheated off my math homework.

It was heaven. Three days of heaven.

Anyway, I was kicked out of band, probably for the best, but this did mean less time to be around my friends in a social and educational situation, so, it was bitter sweet.

Also I had a bad habit of keeping all my books in my backpack because I kept forgetting my locker code and annoying my teachers, so it was easier just to keep it all in a bag that could also be used as a self-defense mechanism. 

 

Chapter 13: High School

My freshman year of high school was bleak enough with the continued isolation of my peers and myself. It’s not that anyone in the classes I was placed in were horrible human beings, it’s kinda like when your parents are afraid you’re antisocial so they pay people to come hang out with you to try and fix the situation, but they’re only there for the money not because they genuinely want to hang out with you, at least from what I’ve seen on TV.

Mornings would always start outside near the 3rd wooden table on the yard, where we somehow claimed as ours (there was a turf war and our budding dismissal of importance when it came to understanding social groups won out) but we still had to get there early. Luckily, my mother was a teacher, so I had to get to school incredibly early, which helped it stay ours for a while.

Halfway through, however, all of this minimal effort and hard work came to an abrupt end as one of my only grounded friend that understood my budding sarcasm up and moved moved to Nevada: a cesspool of venereal diseases and gambling. This, of course, split up the friend group I had formed since around second grade.

Truly, it was not interests in different activities that made us slowly drift apart, it was Melanie moving to Nevada: a cesspool of venereal diseases and gambling.

Have you ever heard the R.E.M. song “Everybody Hurts”? Because had I known that song existed, it probably would’ve at least given symbolic anchor to the emotions I was feeling, not because of romance or anything, more because it meant I had to hang out with (name redacted) which was the worst person in our friend group.

You see, Zach, the awesome one, was into football, which I couldn’t play because I had the build of Mr. Bill (look it up children), and I couldn’t be a redneck like another friend because I was working extremely hard not to have an East Texas accent, so this left me with two options.

First, I could attempt to make new friends. This option was not ideal because of my inability to connect with anyone that didn’t own a Sega Saturn at the time.

Second, I could follow (name redacted) into the group of his new friends he had been gravitating to for a while, mainly because he was trying to reinvent himself as the “smart” friend now that the actual smart friend had gone off to a state that might or might not be in Canada considering none of us actually left the state past its border states.

I ended up doing a kind of Twinkie Weiner Sandwich of the options. 

 
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Chapter 14: New Friends, Huzzah!

Most of the new friends I would make over the coming month fit into one vague category “Students Who Would Graduate Before Me” which is neither a bad or good thing, it just meant your senior year you would have to either plan for or scramble to make new friends out of the paranoia of being left alone or Carrie’d.

The friends of (name redacted) were very interesting. One was a very high-archiving smart and funny Wisconsin girl whom I enjoyed playing Champions of North with her family on a regular basis, and the other was this awesome Pentecostal girl who was mildly dry when it came to humor and had no problem hitting or slapping me whenever I would make a gross joke, like when I started drawing a comic called Multi-Blood-Man (a superhero who had a blood transplant from Oprah and a serial killer and that’s how he got his powers).

In the morning, but not exclusively, I would hang out with a different group who weren’t as high brow, but were just as entertaining and had the benefit of not being friends with (name redacted) whom I got annoyed with quite easily if you couldn’t tell.

My main complaint about (name redacted) comes from his arrogance and entitlement. Upon graduation, he decided not to work hard in college because he “deserved” to get a doctorate. Apparently, he didn’t “deserve” to be kicked out of that college, or the second one he went to, or the third one, but it was just because (name redacted) was so smart that those universities couldn’t handle his immense knowledge of…his knowledge of…umm…four wheelers. Yes. Let’s go with that.

Either way, both groups together gave me a good balance that helped immensely with my growing depression that my hobbies were slowly not distracting me from as much anymore.

Speaking of which, I missed a milestone in my life, let’s go back to that. 

 

Chapter 15: Vomit Birthday (again, but less bleeeeeeh)

Pokemon, Gameboy Color, Mentos candy. There, the scene is reset.

It was 2001, I had vomited in the bathroom during Cats & Dogs, but now that that was over, I received possibly the best present of my childhood life: Lego Studios.

Lego Studios, for those who do not know, was Lego’s attempt to jump on this whole stop-motion craze, brought about accidentally by The White Stripes’ music video for “Fell In Love With a Girl” directed by Michel Gondry and animated by lies.

The set included a meh webcam, a Lego set, and software. Basically, you’d set up the camera and move the pieces one step forward, take a picture, then repeat to infinity.

If you remember near the end of The Lego Movie, they actually called for people to submit their “Brickfilms” to be used in it.

It was very basic, but got me into animation, which I would continue with for a long time, eventually winning a single award, which allowed me to claim I was an “Award-Winning Filmmaker” since it’s technically not a lie.

There was also a game on the Lego website I can no longer play (thanks early Java games) where you jumped around Backlot to collect awards or something and there was some kind of dumb story and I never finished it so if you know how I can play it, please let me know. It was called Lego Backlot. It seemed alright.

The best browser Lego game that I never fully got into was the Bionicle game that suffered from not having a save feature, which, for a long-form adventure game, was kinda weird when you think of it. Like, I don’t think you could beat it in a day, so how were you supposed to keep going with dial-up when your parents needed to call people?

I’m getting off topic, but there was also this one game I can’t find where all the Cartoon-Cartoons from Cartoon Network walk around an island, anyway, that’s too off topic, nevermind.

The point is, in the 6th grade I got into animation which leads up back to-actually, it leads us back to Jr. High. Don’t worry, we’ll get back to High School soon.

 
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Chapter 16: The Rise and Detention of Nate

Somewhere in Jr High I made a dumb three-panel cartoon with friends called The Rok Show (mispelling things is kewl, bra!) and after I outgrew the increasingly outdated software known as Lego Studios, I switched to an editing program called Pinnacle Studios which, incidentally, was also the software used for Lego Studios.

Pinnacle Studios was truly the Windows Movie Maker of editing software and I would not wish that on my most reviled enemies, well, except for (name redacted). It was very basic and not very user friendly, but I used it. By utilizing my amazing skill to draw things using a mouse and MS Paint, I created my first non-stop motion animation based on the previously mentioned Rok Show.

It should also be mentioned that, despite the comic starring a glorified smiley face, that was not my first comic and I was very much better at comics previously. That being said, it was the first appearance of my favorite character, Dead Pope, who is, as expected, both dead and the Pope, but not the Pope, but a Pope.

After completing this short film, it was suggested by a friend that was the IT department for the school that I should submit the film to this festival at Sul Ross State University. Apparently, she would get all of these promos for competitions, and I said ‘why not’ and went for it.

It was an exciting time, as my father, the best father in the world (though I am biased) decided to take me to competition in Alpine, Tx.

Let’s take a side for a moment: I would like to say that Sul Ross was named for the former Texas governor and Civil War Confederate General. The management of this website would like to note that this chapter is in no way an endorsement of slavery and I would totally not have known this if I didn’t google how to spell it’s name for this chapter.

Packed into a tiny RX-7 with a duffle bag full of cassette tapes for the long drive, I passed out and woke up about 9 hours later in Alpine. The next day, we went to the film festival, WestFest, and I was personally disappointed my main/only competition was a stop motion turkey dancing into a pot and cooking itself.

I won, and thus, I am an “award-winning” director.

Upon arriving back at school, head held high, self-esteem finally up now that I had accomplished something, since I wasn’t in athletics, or agriculture, or UIL (we’ll get to it), or anything my school really valued enough to announce over the speaker, no matter how minute that achievement would be.

It might seem like I’m bitter, but that’s because my achievement was met not with praise, but with two days of detention for skipping school.

Anyway, I continued to make small films here and there, but I never went to competition again, since it felt like I had a perfect track record, why test it?

Though, that’s not the most impressive thing I’ve accomplished in my life, speaking of which… 

 

Chapter 17: The Most Accomplished Accomplishment I Have Ever Accomplished

I would like to congratulate myself on achieving the longest About Me page on the internet by surpassing the previous record holder, 99Daz (which you’ll have to look that up on the Wayback Machine like I did to get the actual word count).

I would like to thank myself for this grand achievement of making it past his 6,507 word About Me bio, and, in achieving this great achievement, I will continue on to cement my legacy as an asshole who keeps jokes going way too long until they are unfunny. 

 
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 Chapter 18: Rainbows and Sunburn

Summer usually consisted of one major activity and my birthday. Having already covered the den of sadness and regret my birthdays lived in, there was always at least one activity to look forward to each year, something that would be decided before Summer Break began, and one I would forget about by the time the break ended.

One such instance of an event was 8th grade where I and my cousin were enrolled in an acting class. I am a horrible actor, but that’s beside the point.

The week-long Actapalooza (I made that up, do not remember what it’s called) took place in a community center in a large building. The small meeting room to the right of a skating rink is where we were dropped off, and where we would remain.

The majority of the class could be summed up as “We watched The Wizard of Oz” and another majority of the class could be summed up as “The teacher talked about The Wizard of Oz” with a minor chunk of time to actually learning how to act. I don’t mean to be mean, but I think it’s a fact that most children suck at acting, and I am not the exception to prove that rule.

There were many, many, MANY examples before and after about my lack of acting.

Like the time I was dressed as a Ghostbuster and clothes-lined a guy in a foam ghost costume.

Or the time I broke a wheel chair during a student film shoot.

Or the time I duct-taped myself to the top of a car thinking it was a good idea for a car surfing shot.

OR BEING CHEATED OUT OF BEING TREE #3.

Or the time that I thought I could actually make a film.

The point is, acting is not one of my strengths, but that’s alright. I bring this up because the show we had to put on was a fairy-tale themed trial and I was Hansel, and my cousin was Gretel, and we were suing the witch (no idea). All the other kiddos got more than one role, so the teacher let us do some improv before the show.

This was a mistake. Never let children to improv. You monster.

I think the more important thing to realize about this entire situation is that my cousin hit my brother with a golf club at one point and did not hit me with one.

Also, you probably should be more creative with your summer acting course. Come on, try something new? How about a reinterpretation of Citizen Kane? A musical version of The Godfather? OH! You could do The Seventh Seal and teach a kid Sweedish so that he can reverse translate to be authentic.

Or at least be interesting with your public domain characters. Like, maybe Hansel and Gretel decide to start World War 3 because they really hate Beanstalks because they fear it’s the first step to invading their land? Maybe Rapunzel had a rare genetic disease that caused her to actually become the witch?

Something better than “Hey, let’s have fairy tale characters sue the bad guys” because everyone knows how that will turn out.

There was no standing ovation, and I have personally destroyed each and every copy of that show. I have never felt more alive using a sledge hammer. It was like heaven on a sandwich.

Anyway, let’s move on. HIGH SCHOOL! (again)

 

Chapter 19: High School!

According to numerous sources I found by googling Degrassi: The Next Generation, high school is the best times of our lives, which contradicts my previous assertion that the best time of my life was directly after my first word which signaled a consciousness had developed.

I’m sure people will argue at what point consciousness occurs in persons, but I am not a scientist, I just have google and the award for longest About Me page in the history of the internet.

Back to the subject at hand, if you remember my friend Melanie had moved to Nevada: a cesspool of venereal diseases and gambling, leaving me torn between two groups, much like that dated joke where the guy has two dates and runs between them, but with much less urgency or stress.

High School did mark a turning point in my life, because it perfectly created an environment where I could retreat from all of social society out of mandatory occasions and lock myself in a darkened room alone with a computer and various snacks.

It also helped prove my theory I had insomnia despite the general consensus of parents (not just mine) believing I made it up and just didn’t want to go to sleep. Oh, speaking of which, I have a brother.

In possibly the greatest act of brotherhood to ever occur on planet earth I would like to submit this act of pure kindness and love: My brother taught me how to watch TV at night without being caught. You’d think it would be easy, but all our TVs made this loud BEEEEEP when you turned them on, which would wake my parents and come tell me to go to sleep, sometimes with grounding.

The way to get around this was to turn the volume all the way down as well as the brightness and then turn it just up enough after about an hour after mandator sleep time so you could hear it.

I would literally lie in bed for hours, sometimes until I was supposed to wake up without going to sleep, and for a kid who was suicidally depressed, that probably wasn’t a good idea. So, when my brother kinda figured out what was going on, he showed me how to do the TV thing so I could distract myself until I passed out.

In a way, TV saved my life, something I could not say about Theater. 

 
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Chapter 20: Video Games as Therapy

So, just a little bit about Cancer-Cancer, not Cancer Cancer. I got a Sega Genesis since there really wasn’t much for me to do at the hospital. The story goes that Miss Shiela, our family friend, went out and got an SNES, but because I saw a commercial for Sonic, she went and begged them to swap it. They were out, but found one that had fallen behind a shelf in the back.

Later on, I got Nights into Dreams, the best game ever made by humans, and I played it all the time. Unfortunately, it was for the Sega Saturn, so I got stuck with that for a long time.

This is skipping ahead a bit back to High School, I ended up spending a lot of time at my friend’s house, let’s call her…umm…Jackie and her wonderful family who introduced me to this game called Champions of Norrath, and how four people could play on one PS2. Coming from a Sonic universe, it was very hard for me not to loot everything. It happened some times, but I tried not to be a kleptomaniac. 

Video games have actually played a large role in my development. When I was lonely, there was always Final Fantasy XI: Online I could go play and chat with friends. If I felt down, I could play Nights into Dreams and be overcome with emotion.

If I wanted to be scared, then I would play the scariest freaking game I have ever owned: Axis Arena.

There was this thing called Real Arcade, made by the people behind Real Player and Real Bad Ideas (ha. ha.) and they had a pre-Steam Steam in a way, where you could buy games and play them through their platform. I bought some bowling game with a bad impression of Bill Clinton (Uh, oh, looks like I’m in the gutter), a few other games I don’t remember and aren’t worth mentioning, and Arena.

Axis Arena was a Mech Battle Game where you went around an…Arena…and shot down other mechs. Sometimes you could play it online, but I never could (dial-up was rough, man). Also, I think there may have been something wrong with my copy.

A few years ago, I tried to re-find the game, so I booted up my old Windows XP machine and found it, but then had to go to a Smash Bros tournament, so on the way I looked up videos of the game, and…it had background music. Kinda dumb background music that blended edgy 90s rock with really bad synth horns.

You see, the thing about my copy is it did not have that…the only sound it had were the sounds of your engines and the weapons. Every battle was this incredibly tense affair where you could hear the engines looking for you as they grew closer. They’re all after you, because they never attacked each other. You have to run, you have to hide, and hope you have enough ammo when you hear those engines getting closer and closer and closer and closer and closer and…boom…they exploded you. One point to Jigglypuff or whatever one of those Harry Potter houses was named.

Yeah, it was intense and I never got past the 4th level. I always told myself I could get through it, but, man, like it scared me like no game before it. Hiding in tiny spaces was something I excelled at, like the time I got trapped in a trunk while my friends had sex in the back seat, or the time I got trapped in the trunk with my ex-girlfriend and we had sex in the trunk, or the…apparently, trunks have been a huge part of my life.

What were we talking about? Oh, yes, connecting random emotions to video games.

You know, I’ve had friends leave me, I’ve burned bridges with really good people, because I think that’s just me and my inability to not be an asshole, I’ve lost loved ones, lovers, family, but the only thing I never seem to lose are video games. Even when I think I have, like with the first one I ever played, there is always a way to get them back, sometimes it just takes waiting a few years. But, people don’t come back after a few years. I kinda wish people were more like video games sometimes, so you can just reset them and start over. Try it again. Game Over Yeah. 

 

Chapter 21: DVD Security Device

It has been brought to my attention that this About Me page is not very coherent or easy to gauge when it comes to a stable timeline. Because of this, I feel as though it is yet another time for a happy story that will bring whoever decided to read this far some semblance to comfort and satisfaction.

There are exactly 27 things or moments in my life that are subjectively good and can be agreed upon by the majority of humans using a small gauge of happy faces that begin with a sad face and end with a happy face that are above the “meh” face on average.

This is a fact and not up for debate on this page, as this was an exact science.

One of the greatest constants in my life began in the year 2004, a year that was overall slightly annoyed face to slightly optimistic face. Starting this year and continuing every year since, my uncle has given me the same present every year.

Every year I have received a DVD of the Nominated Short Films from the 75th Annual Academy Awards.

This is not a joke. This is not me stretching the truth. This is something that really happens.

Do not get me wrong, I am being sincere when I say that having this kind of stability in my life is comforting, knowing something is always going to happen at a certain time in a certain way. It’s really, really good for me to know that every year, for Christmas, my uncle remembers out of the dozens of nieces and nephews he has that I kinda maybe do film stuff and started around 2003 and goes on an epic quest to find a copy of the 75th Annual Academy Award Short Films featuring The ChubbChubbs and This Charming Man among other nominated short films.

I honestly have no idea where he gets these DVDs from, but no matter how bad my year is going, or how horrible I feel, getting that very and creepily specific DVD makes me smile, unless it’s him trying to tell me something I don’t recognize, like maybe this is all a coma dream and the coma started in 2003 or…Let’s just go back to high school and talk about depressing things instead of going off the paranoia pool. 

 
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 Chapter 22: The Bees Return

When we last left the bees, they were horrible killing machines that had a bloodlust for small children. Years later, they would return to taunt me.

There were these unbelievably stinky trash cans on the quad of Jr High/High School, and it was this odor of rotten apples, the loss of hopes and dreams, and ketchup. It’s a common smell if you’ve ever been to a high school football game or track meet.

For some reason, this attracted bees to swarm them. As you would need to throw things away, the usual way to do this would be to throw it in a slightly arched direction and then run back and hope they though God was throwing a soda can into the trash.

Even though the trash was cleaned daily, the smell persisted. In the morning, before the bees came, I would push the trash can far away from the location where I would start my day, having learned from experience.

You might be saying “What does this have to do with you?” which I will get to if you’d just be patient.

I didn’t get bullied as most people would perceive it, it was mostly little jokes at my expense, but every now and then it would get physical.

I doubt they knew about my previous experience with the hell spawn of angry thoughts and people who talk during movies. I doubt they knew about our mutual cease-fire for the years since.

Either way, I found myself being put in a trash barrel that was surrounded by the literal interpretation of a remake of a beloved horror classic.

As they swarmed above me, I wondered how I would get out of here unscathed. Luckily for me, the years of peace had strengthen our alliance, so the next thing I heard was the panicked screams of people who were slowly losing their control of the situation. I got myself out of the barrel and found some little joy watching three dicks run away from tiny murder machines.

It was a fitting sequel that surpassed the original.

 

Chapter 23: Becoming Agnostic

Some people will say Agnostics are Atheists with no spine. Yup.

I was raised Baptist (not much choice in a small town) for years, then when I got sick, I was allowed to stay home, but still went to be social later down the line. There was a big auditorium with…not much to do that you couldn’t do in P.E.

And I’m not going to sit here and say I didn’t go on mission trips, or saw christian concerts, or anything like that. Because I did, but this one question completely changed my faith. One question I went to seek guidance for and was asked never to return to church.

One question that no one could definitively answer.

Do angels poop?

Simple, right? I mean, they are supposedly based off ourselves as humans, otherwise you’d just be going around heaven yelling “AUNT GREG? WHERE ARE YOU AUNT GREG?!” it would take an eternity to find anyone. But the thing is, do angels eat? And why would they need to? If they’re living in the afterlife, the good ending, wouldn’t having to eat kinda defeat the point, since that’s kinda a thing you need to do as a mortal to survive? If that’s so, why have a butt as an angel? Is it just a Ken Doll down there?

To clarify, this one question haunted me as a deeply religious Baptist child approaching High School. I already knew I was probably going to hell for the whole gay thing, but this was more important, I could apologize for that later.

Do angels poop?

I mean, poop means that you have to eat, but if you’re living forever, it would just be glutinous to eat, right? One of the deadly sins. But there must be a butt if your spirit is based on your human form, at least from depictions.

Before you say “you’re wrong, they don’t look like humans” remember that Lucifer was an angel who looked like a human, so were the archangels, and the angels God sent down to earth. Even if they took on human appearances, they would still technically be angels and therefore have butts, right?

Ugh, it’s an endless loop of butts. Butt this, butt that, but you don’t understand!

So, haunted, deeply haunted, by the thought of angel butts, I did what anyone would do, go to the preacher.

He stared at me in shock for about five minutes processing my question. Then he responded with a sigh and “this may be one of those things you have to figure out on your own. Maybe you should go find it and not come back until you do.”

And that’s how I became an Agnostic. If anyone can definitively tell me one way or the other if angels have butts, why, and how they can prove their thesis, I will regain my faith (probably), but for now, in this endless butt hole of questions, I still don’t know what to think. 

 
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Chapter 24: Let’s Get Creative!

As my school did not have very many options for creative output, my choices were limited to about four classes.

I could be in band, except I was kicked out and banned from that, so let’s pretend I’m just too cool for those uniforms.

There was an art class that was mainly used by the Athletics Department as an easy A for the jocks.

Yearbook was an option, but we’ll discuss that in the next chapter.

Finally, there was theater. Theater existed for two reasons. The first was so that (name redacted)’s mother could try to hook him up with girls he had a crush on. The second, and less important, was to participate in UIL.

UIL stood for no one really knows or cares. It is a chance for students to get out of class legally, go do some dumb tests, maybe advance and bring honor to their school. I was in Persuasive Speaking, History, and Theater.

I did fairly well at Persuasive Speaking, but my grandmother ended up dying in about half of my stories. Whenever I ended up telling her about it, she would just ask “well, did you win?” and if I did not win, she would make me mow her lawn.

History, which is not the actual name, I just can’t think of that name right now, was about specific parts of history, like the 50s or the not 50s. Mostly the 50s for some reason. I knew my place and was basically there so the team that was actually good at that kind of stuff could participate in the contest. I was like the mascot, you could say. The gay, gothic mascot: Gayfield. Man, I hate Mongays.

Finally, there was Theater, also known as One Act Play. You might ask why it is worth pointing out it is only one act, and the answer is because there is no intermission and not really any secondary sets to transition to another location. The set you saw at the start of the play would be the one you see at the end, but the play was short enough that you’d be able to forget everything you’d just seen.

The thing you need to realize is that none of the above offered courses were really my cup of tea, which is green tea with a hint of lime for the record. I guess you could say that I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it was pretty hard stated that I was not a good actor, and I was not important, and I was the sexiest guy in the class so I needed to be pushed back so that (name redacted) could try and find a mate since he was the bottom 3 of my class as a hole, but there were other reasons to work hard and excel at UIL and that was the hot guys from other schools. 

 

Chapter 25: Hotels and Humiliation

Whenever we would advance to the second level of competition (usually as a group because I still was in the “why try” stage of my adolescence) we would get to go stay overnight at a hotel, usually in Austin or Houston, to spend a full weekend of competing and…competing…Remember how I said they didn’t like us using GameBoys? This was the one exception, because there was NOTHING to do between competitions. Well, not nothing-nothing, but that’s like 2 paragraphs from now.

You have to realize that being a “the gay” in a small town meant you had to also be “the closet” because no matter how much fun dumb shows like Glee made bullying seem, you got the distinct feeling you were going to be “the dead” if you tried to be yourself. Even coming out to your old friends you had known since they were forced into being your friend because they thought you were dying of cancer was like trying to remove cancer from your body with a spiky bat thing. Except for Melanie, she was always the coolest and had always known because she paid attention. Besides her, though, I would just suppress it and not say anything…except when UIL came around.

The actual fun thing about UIL is that you can walk around without any supervision, and there are all these other schools with people you’ll probably never talk to outside the competition or even have to give your real name to someone you thought had really nice arm bones. There wasn’t any “cruising” as it were, but the way you looked at someone and the way they looked back made me feel a whole lot better about myself, even if they were just squinting because they forgot their glasses.

There was one boy, we’ll call him “Charles McFakeName” for his privacy, that I had grown fond of after going against him in competition for two years straight. I would always time it so my test would end right after his and he just happened to be waiting outside the room for me, even though we didn’t verbally plan it, you know how it goes. He was taller than me by 3 inches, bulkier than me by 23 pounds, and his hair was a light brown. His eyes looked like the sky above the beach on a summer day, he had a small scar on the lobe of his left ear, and he smelt of Old Spice™. I didn’t know him well, but I knew him, and he understood me better than my closest friends.

We both liked video games, and we both laughed at the bad ones, so one year I brought the GameCube I bought from (name redacted) so we could play it.

The TVs back then had these weird riggings in hotels to try and keep it so you couldn’t hook up DVD players to their composite inputs, but I got around that by using something like an RF switcher. The first night I bunked with my three closest friends, two of whom I had come out to the day before, and a third one who…I don’t actually remember his name, but he was an orphan if that helps. We tested it out by playing Smash Bros and it worked. The next night, I got moved to a second room because of reshuffling and some students not having competitions the next day. The GameCube worked with that TV too.

Not that I had the room to myself, but he was popular and didn’t ever really stay in the room. I knew what room Charles was in and went to invite him to play some Super Mario Sunshine. Full Disclosure: I suck at Super Mario Sunshine.

It was an almost perfect afternoon, only muddied when some of my friends called my room and pretended to be the downstairs residents and saying I was being too loud. They just kept on going, and so I just went “uh, huh, yeah, sure” and really just wanted it to end. It was like I was walking on the clouds, and they were the gravity dragging me back down into a place I never wanted to be, what’s worse, they probably never even realized it or cared.

In the end, that moment is so vivid only because it’s a coffee stain on a white dress shirt. It stands out because everything else about that day was so perfect to my eyes. Being able to see Charles about twice a year, even though we never exchanged emails or phones, or knew each other’s full names, and we’d probably never recognize each other if we met today. Still, that was probably what I really needed to prove my life wasn’t completely horrible.

We never did more than kiss, and yet, I really never wanted more than the 6 hours we spent together over 3 years. I’m just gonna leave this chapter here on a nice note, because the remainder of my high school life was a black hole of depression and regret. 

 
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 Chapter 26: Yearbook

So, this is going to be weird, because this chapter is intwined with the next few chapters, but you’re going to forget it shortly, but it’s important to state that Yearbook class will be important in two chapters, but won’t make sense chronologically if I put this chapter after the next one.

Anyway.

I signed up for Yearbook because I wanted more creative classes that would allow me to do new things. The only real thing I can remember about my first year doing it is something about watching a movie about the Hitler Youth and then the teacher left to go on a mission in Africa, like you do. The teacher who replaced him though, was a boss.

You know Amanda Waller from the Justice League animated series? That was Mrs. R. She didn’t have time for your crap, but you wouldn’t be in trouble unless you got behind on your work. She came on for the second year I did Yearbook and that was the year I got to be Editor. A girl in the year under me got made Assistant Editor. We dated, it was pretty cool on paper, ha.

We worked hard, there was a lot of delegation and planning and I felt really in control, it was nice and we got a fair amount accomplished. We only missed one deadline, as opposed to the previous years which could be summed up as: Deadlines? What be those?

Having a relationship was great too, though she kinda knew I swung for both sides, and one side more than the other. Didn’t mean she was my beard though.

That relationship ended like many other relationships to come: in utter disaster, which is why this goes first.

So, they found cocaine in her car, it was her sister’s (the car and the cocaine, her car was in the shop), but what are you gonna do? She and her two younger sisters got expelled aaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnddddddd cut to me in a car trying to drive off school property in a panic attack only being stopped by my best friend Zach standing behind my car, betting his career as an athlete against my mentally unstable state.

This happened during Theater, and now is the time to say that the Theater Teacher, Mrs. (name redacted) was going to become the school’s counselor after her son graduated that year.

I spent the next two periods upstairs in the prop/costume room completely panicked and her trying to comfort me by offering to sneak a puppy in school. Not sure what that would accomplish, but I commend her for trying, I guess.

That night, I talked to my parents, who had heard what happened, and I got to go to therapy. The first thing my therapist said to me was “There is nothing wrong with you” followed by “You know, I was the editor of my yearbook too.”

He was the best therapist I’ve ever had.

Even without my AE, I plowed on with Yearbook to make a great product, one that would be praised for years to come! Unfortunately, time was always an issue for being able to work on what I wanted to accomplish with the yearbook. Fortunately (kinda), that would all change very, very soon.

 

Chapter 27: Filming and Filming and Filming

Actually, I feel like this is about to get really freaking depressing, so let’s hold off on this one for like…two chapters and make some fart jokes, alright? No? No sense putting off the inevitable, you say? I’m wasting enough time, you say? It’s Chapter 22 and I’m not even 22 years old, you say?

Fine, whatever, let’s get on with it.

The second semester of my senior year had three major things occurring, the first was the whole Yearbook half, which mainly occurred during the first semester, and the second was me getting more into film production. Part of that was because of a transfer student from Houston named “Denis McNotRealNameStein” and he started becoming best friends with a guy I had a crush on, and Dennis was into film and I was into film and so he wanted to do a video project for English based on the Canterbury Tales, and hey, Nate’s not in this class, but he has a video camera, he could help out. Yeah. Fun.

I’m so excited to go out in the woods, film a poorly made script, get drunk with my classmates and spend the entire night just sober enough not to yell out I find someone attractive.

Yeah, this went on an entire weekend, part of which I drove one actress to take her SATs while mildly hungover.

The movie was horrible, they got an A, but the most important thing was I got in with Dennis and Denis (the one with one “n” is not the hot one). We hung out and talked film stuff and goofed off.

There was this one time they wanted to skip school, but since my mom was a teacher, I would get in all kinds of trouble, so my therapist wrote me a note to take the day off. The best part of that story was the secretary at school didn’t believe it was a note and called him. I could hear him on the phone saying “of course I fucking wrote it” which was, uh, the best way that could end.

I was never as close as D&D were, and I was still kinda trying to figure out how to ask if they would be interested in doing this short film I wanted to make when everything fell apart in a Rube Goldberg Machine of unlucky events, also known as… 

 
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Chapter 28: How I Got Kicked Out of Theater

I should mention that I was building up my confidence through therapy, and it was really working. People weren’t walking over me as easily and I felt like I didn’t need to try to drink bleach and accidentally discovering where my brother hid his alcohol anymore.

Things were getting better, I had new friends that had shared interests (not knocking any of my other friends, except fir (name redacted)), I was accomplishing things as the editor of the yearbook, and I was Stage Manager for a play I didn’t care about.

The Theater class only really did two plays, one was Confederate Letters, and the other was Vietnam Letters (I forget the name of it, but both were written by the same person). They are as dumb and poorly written as you would think. One tries to justify the Confederacy’s existence and the other does the same for the Vietnam War.

For this year, we were doing the one that focused on how slavery was no the focus of the Civil War and how the Confederacy was not fighting for the right to own slaves.

That has nothing to do with the story, I just felt like I needed to include that fun fact somewhere in here.

Anyway, long story short, D&D were in Theater too, and then they mysteriously disappeared from the earth and were never seen again, the end.

Wow, that was easy and not depressing at all. Welp, that was High School, let’s move on. 

 

Chapter 29: Life in One Act

I remember falling once in a dream. It wasn’t the dream where the lawn was made of snakes and a giant snake drug Melanie under the bunk house as she screamed for help, but I was afraid of snakes so I went to go get some cake, but it was around the same time.

I read something, somewhere that if you jump off a really tall building, you’ll die before you hit the bottom. I’m not sure how they determined this or who would volunteer to find this out. Do they just hear about someone jumping and then go calculate the time he jumped and how long-I’m getting off topic.

I remember falling once in a dream.

I’m still not sure what I was falling to or from, but I was falling nonetheless. At one point, I yelled out for help, but it just echoed around me. 

My descent slowed, as my feet touched the ground, it was graduation, I was handed my diploma as everyone cheered, my mother held back tears she was so proud of me. All my aunts and uncles and cousins were there as well. (Name redacted) gave me a hug and wished me well and Zach whispered in my ear “I will always be there for you, bro”.

It was the best end to college I could possibly have, falling through all of this uncertainty, feeling alone, by yourself, and then doing it. Not only did you survive, you kicked ass. You may have been that weird kid, but you looked damn good doing it. Your animations got you into college, you have all your friends with you as you transition into adulthood, and that feeling of calm and joy has finally chased away all your depression.

Oh, hey, blood is dripping on me from the ceiling.

Why is this? Why is this happening? There’s blood everywhere. They’re all laughing? Oh, no, this isn’t reality, this is a delusion that’s finally being crushed under it’s own weight.

There are demon pigeons with rocket launchers shouting about volleyball.

Mom’s tears have changed from joy to sadness, as they fill up the auditorium.

I’m drowning. No. Why is this happening? I can’t die like this, why can’t I have anything happy? I just wanted this one thing. Why can’t I let me have this one thing? This one ray of light in my life where people loved and admired me? One time I’m not a failure or a disappointment or losing people?

Fine. I’ll tell you what happened. Are you happy? 

 
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Chapter 29.5: I Can’t Have Nice Things

Ok, so D&D did not disappear out of nowhere. One night, a coach got them drunk, gave them molotov cocktails and spray paint, then proceeded to tell them to go vandalize a neighbor school.

One of these people had no interest in Football, by the way.

The next day, no one knew who did it, until the third person, who was not mentioned until now, went around saying “you’ll never guess what I did last night!”

So, they got arrested and put in DAEP, which is basically on campus boot camp. We’re gonna leave that there for now, but to summarize:

Students who were not connected in any criminal activity before made a mistake after getting drunk with a football coach on campus.

We good? Good. So, this would all be fine, they’re paying for their actions, the students not the coach, when all of a sudden, Mrs. (name redacted) comes into class and proceeds to…say that the, uh, I’m gonna quote here, that’ll be easier.

“(Dennis) and (Denis) are really bad people and I wish they were in prison for what they did. I’m going to try to get them kicked out of my class if they ever come back, and none of you should associate or help them otherwise you will be seen as criminals.”

I’m not saying vandalization is acceptable or making excuses for their actions, but if your job at this time is to give counseling to students and aid to help them, there is something just wrong with saying you won’t help people…when that is your job…Which is what I said to my therapist, because I had no idea what to do. After a short talk, I realized I could not, in good faith help out a class run by someone who has elected herself the moral authority on everything, and would respectfully decline to go to contest with that class.

So, I went into her office the next morning, and I did not lie to her. I said, I had been under a lot of stress lately which had been having a negative effect on my life, and I felt that everyone was giving it their all in the class, but I couldn’t give as much as they could and that was unfair to them. I politely requested that she put the two girls who were the Assistant Stage Managers in charge, the ones she hand picked, because I, a person who had a very defined history of suicidal thoughts and depression, could not do a job I felt was adequate. I’m really proud of being honest without pointing fingers or yelling wit how I handled the situation.

“How could you do this to me?” was the response from Mrs. (name redacted) looking like Darla Dimple when her facade cracked. “Do you think (Jenna) and (Elfman) could do a decent job?” “I mean, you picked them, so I thought you’d have faith in their ability.” “And what are you gonna do in my class then?” “I will clean the prop room, I will help out with the cast boxes, whatever you want, I’m just don’t feel comfortable going to contest” and so on until she told me to get out of her office (the school counselor’s office) and never come back.

Later that day, an acquaintance came and asked if I had really marched into her office and demanded money because they couldn’t win without me. Turns out, (name redacted) was not too happy and that was the story that he and his mother were deciding to tell. To counter that, all I really said was “no one is getting scholarships for Theater, why would anyone demand money for a worthless competition?”

Oh, and during one weekend practice the I wasn’t at, Zach apparently slammed (name redacted) to a wall by his neck when he was bad talking me and told him to shut up. Zach is such a great friend and amazing person.

About two weeks later, there was a deadline for Yearbook, so I asked one teacher if I could go work on that, since nothing major was happening in class. She agreed and I went over to finish up the pages that needed to go out. Shortly after, the Principal came in and asked to talk to Mrs. R, then, seeing me there, said “actually, this concerns you as well.”

Apparently, someone who was a teacher and the school counselor and not happy, had come into his office and demanded I be put in OCS for the rest of the semester. You may remember OCS as a place I liked, so it wasn’t going to be that big of a thing for me to be honest. He suggested that since Mrs. R had requested more time for Yearbook that it would solve everyone’s problems if I just went to her class to work on Yearbook instead of going to Theater and we both eagerly agreed.

I remember having a short conversation where Mrs. R tried to hold back laughs and asked what I’d done to piss of Mrs. (name redacted). Oh, fun times, fun times.

The Yearbook sold out before it went to press. We didn’t miss one deadline. It was the first full-color yearbook in my school’s history. It was the first yearbook to be written about in the local paper in 20 years. There was only one complaint on file for that yearbook, and it was over one joke that Mrs. (name redacted) didn’t like.

Theater didn’t make it past round two of the competition, but it wasn’t not because of me leaving. I just found it funny that they had the whole “we can show him” fake mentality and still couldn’t hypothetically show me.

But, I want you to consider this. A kid who is depressed and in therapy because he’s depressed goes to someone he trusts who is an authority figure and says “hey, I’m going through a lot right now and I don’t think I can do this, I had a long talk with my therapist before I came to this conclusion and we both agree it’s in my best interest if I don’t do this thing but I will help out in any way else I can” and your response is to vilify him and try to kick him out of your class and punish him when he is already punishing himself probably more than you realize. This is a kid who literally almost drove off campus and was going to do who knows what one semester ago, a kid who was in therapy for depression and had thought about this and politely requested not to do this. Sure, I didn’t say “because you’re doing a crappy job and turning your back on people who could use some help” but look what happened anyway. She turned her back on a student who needed help instead of doing her job. I know I’m harping on it, but literally you proved the underlining reason I requested to be removed to be true.

Anyway, also started going and hanging out with D&D more, which scholars are still debating the good or bad of that decision. 

 

Chapter 30: Five Guys on Goat Island

There’s an old joke that gets passed down from generation to generation that I just made up where five guys go to an island straight and three come back gay.

I don’t get it either, no one has ever said I make sense.

So playing with D&D was pretty rewarding and helped boost my teenage angst, which wasn’t bad, but it’s something you need to grow out of, not grow up with after a certain point, but I’m just bitter and getting way ahead.

One day, kinda spontaneous, D&D decided to go to an island out in the middle of Lake Livingston that I won’t mention for privacy reasons, but it was going to be a party, and like any good party, I was promised that twins would be there.

So, I took along my camera, jumped in a kayak and went along for the ride, like any true documentarian. Since the Discovery Channel(’s ripoff youtube channel) is sponsoring this chapter, I will go ahead and say a buzzword like “And what I found I never would’ve expected” even if it was totally expected, there are no surprises in life, everything is predictable if you pay attention.

We arrived around 6:00 p.m. and it took three trips back and forth to get everyone in that tiny kayak along with the supplies, and we began to trek to the center to set up camp.

I know, it’s thrilling to do mundane things such as walking through tall grass filled with Harvest Mites (I am not using their nickname) and the ever looming threat of being attacked by crows, but after a short while we made it…to a place that was not the center, but they assured me it was (it was actually closer to the north side of the island, you liars) and so we sat around and basked in our achievement. Me. Denis, Dennis, and two twins that apparently lived close to them that were there for some reason.

It was getting darker, so we went to go gather wood to create a fire so we could stay warm. It was around now that I realized for beds they had brought a tarp…and that’s it. They would’ve done so well with the Donner party.

The sun was setting by the time we had gathered a small, but decent amount of wood for the fire before we ran into the next problem. They were trying to light a fire with a bic lighter…well, Denis was, Dennis was kinda laughing his ass off. It was time for me to step in as I called on all of the survival skills I had acquired from that one summer of boyscouts and living in the forest for my entire life. Yes, you heard me right, this was my moment to shine as I walked over to the fire, a chorus of angels cheering me on, everything was in slow motion as I was about to save the day!

Truly, they will remember me in history books as I arrived five feet to the small collection of wood we would ignite, Denis looked at me with hope in his eyes as Dennis stood next to him. This was my moment.

I gave Dennis two twigs and told him “you’re not going to light a fire like that, try using two twigs like in the movies.”

Truly, TRULY, I will be the only person who survives the nuclear apocalypse.

Anyway, after that failed, we sat around, when Denis said “I need to think, who wants to light up?”

Please Note: I don’t really care about marijuana, it never did anything for me, and is still illegal in many states. I’m not here to argue it should or shouldn’t be illegal, just to give a somewhat accurate retelling of my life for an About Me section on a website no one will ever come to.

This was my first time smoking the ‘hoochie poochie’ or whatever those darn kids are calling it these days, and let me tell you, it didn’t do crap for me.

But, I didn’t want to be a buzz kill around guys giggling their asses off, so I did what any normal person would do in this situation. I said I was going to go save the princess, ran off behind a tree and played Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons on my GBA for a little while.

Please Note: Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons is an excellent game.

After I came back, in the darkness, Dennis laughed and said “Dude, you were sooooo high” and then laughed. Thinking about it, maybe my cynicism made me immune to weed, oh well, there was a bigger problem. It was cold, and we had a tarp.

Desperate times called for desperate measures, so I gave Dennis some sticks and took two myself and we started frictioning all over the place (of the designated fire location).

Then, it happened, the fire started. There would be no Donnering tonight, thank goodness. The conversation continued as we all laughed and had a good night sleep…Well, they did. I was an insomniac and couldn’t sleep, so I sat by the fire.

At one point, Dennis woke up and came over and we joked around about things. It was actually the first time we actually talked by ourselves, I think. It was nice and we laughed and got a better understanding of each other. Specifically, I understood that I really didn’t like his laugh, it was annoying as watching someone try to light a fire with a bic lighter.

The next day we kayaked back and Denis’ grandmother picked us up. We went back to her place and had pancakes and my legs started to itch, but we had to go to school.

In Home Ec, my teacher asked why I was scratching so much, and I said “I don’t know” so she asked to look at my leg and said “Oh, you have chiggers” which, admittedly, I said “excuse me?” but they are harvest mites that I had to go home after school and pour alcohol on my legs to get them off.

Could be worse though, I also got really sick because of the smoke coming from the fire and spent most of the day dizzy and nauseous, so that’s how it was worse.

I guess the moral of the story is: Never go get high on an island with tall grass. I’m not telling you to go get high on an island with no tall grass, but I am saying if you do, don’t do it on an island with tall grass.

 
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Chapter 31: Spooky Spooks Chapter

Truth be told, I don’t know if I believe comas actually exist. I haven’t written for a while, so I just chose a place at random and decided to write a chapter about Halloween, since it’s currently that spooky season known as the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Halloween has never been the most memorable time for me. There was one time my costume was a TV, which comprised of a cardboard box and a black see-through fabric.

I think the Halloween I remember the most from my childhood was my Jr. year of Highschool. I had become bored going to the church to catch fish for some off-brand, stale, melted candy, so my friends and I just walked around town while I wore a Hawaiian T-Shirt.

Outside of childhood, my first year in college, I went trick-or-treating, and apparently most of the houses thought that everyone else was babysitting me. I’m cursed with genetics. I felt like I went into a candy coma that year. Never have I had so much fun on Halloween. I even dressed up as John Waters, my hero, which probably helped with the whole “young person trying to look older” thing.

The only other short Halloween story I have is the year I don’t remember what happened, except for Satan and a Ninja helped me back to my room because I got overly wasted. Also, they helped me back to the wrong room.

After about 10 minutes of trying to open the wrong door, and possibly scaring whomever was in there half to death, my nice, police, RA came out and inquired what my sarcastic butt was doing, then helped me back to my actual room.

He had nice shoulder bones.

There’s one other Halloween story, but it’s not short, so we’ll pick this back up in Chapter 63 or whatever. Cool, see you then. 

 

Chapter 32: Odds and Ends

I seem to have missed a few things that didn’t really fit in story-wise, so while we’re at a good transitional spot, let me fondly remember the moments of my life that happened before we go to college.

In the middle of my senior year, my mother and I went to Nevada: a cesspool of venereal diseases and gambling to go see Melanie. It was a nice trip, I was an asshole at one part, which I still feel sorry for to this day, but it was a nice road trip, except for the Grand Canyon, which is glorified hole in the ground. Also, this trip was how I accidentally chose my college, but we’ll get to that in the next chapter.

My brother skipped two grades over one summer so that he could graduate and get out of the town we grew up in as fast as possible.

I would go at least once a summer to go see my favorite aunt. About my junior year of school, I would sneak out at night to go chill with some transvestite prostitues (that’s how they would describe themselves to me, so that’s the terminology I’m using).

I played Donkey Konga with Peggy and got in trouble for it.

For about 5 years I worked in a law office shredding old files from the 60s.

My cousin hit my brother with a golf club at mini golf.

I was driven off the go kart track by a jealous ex-girlfriend during my cousin’s birthday party when I was in Jr. High.

I went to film camp at UT the summer before graduation and made a horrible short film with some really cool people who deserved way better. I have the only known surviving copy and I’m only keeping it to make sure no one ever watches it.

After taking 7 aptitude tests and all of them saying I should be an accountant, I rebelled and applied to a liberal arts institution.

One summer, my aunt took my cousin and myself to Galveston. After getting lost we got a motel for the night, which is always a bad idea. We were woken up by someone asking if we had any change. My aunt replied “No, but I have a gun” and we may or may not have heard gunshots, I don’t fully remember. The important thing is this is one of the reasons I am very, VERY scared of hotels and try not to use them unless I completely have to.

In an attempt to be more social, I had the bright idea to have a study club at least three times a week after class. Hardly any studying occurred, we mostly goofed around, and one time Melanie got locked in a closet.

For a while I started straightening my hair. This was a bad idea and did not work out well.

Alright, I think that’s all, if I think of anything else, I’ll just interrupt the narrative to bring it up. 

 
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Chapter 33: Let’s Go to College

As previously mentioned, my Mother and I ended up taking a tour of the College of Santa Fe on the way to Nevada: a cesspool of venereal diseases and gambling. It felt like fate as I had just finished reading Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphasis and the college, henceforth referred to as CSF, was putting on an adaptation in the theater department. Also, it felt right. A group of misfit artists all in one place, ones that didn’t fit in during their high school years. What could go wrong? (see Chapter 28)

After getting accepted, the first thing they encouraged me to do is sign up for the myspace rip-off to meet other students. One of the first people I chatted with, and one of the people I chatted with the most, is this guy named Coery Awesomeson (name changed for piracy reasons) who would go on to become my best friend in the male category subsection: post high school friends. Funny story, when we first met, I did not recognize him, because he was very tall. Very, very tall, like an inch taller than me, and had long hair, much like a serial killer in a Rob Zombie movie that wasn’t released yet.

My roommate was a person who was not on the CSFspace website, so I had to do some digging (see Google Search) and found out he was a 45 year old man living in Dallas. Turns out his father had the same name as him, which was a relief because I did not have much in common with 45 year old men at that time.

The good news is that he was not only significantly less than 45 years old, but he was also pretty cool. We played Syphon Filter together once and then never played it again. At one point, he procured an Urhu and, I believe, got pretty good at it eventually. There was an easier dynamic there than living with a 45-year-old man, I assume, and communication was healthy when we had an issue, so there wasn’t any major drama that I remember.

I probably screwed something up somewhere, but denial is amazing.

 

Chapter 34: Some Kind of Ranch for Ghosts

One of the first events that happened was a “community building” event the school hosted, which essentially means that they put all of us on a bus and shipped us out to a Ghost Ranch.

Sorry, I meant “The Ghost Ranch” which is a real place that Georgia O’Keeffe lived and worked out of, and since I did not work at the GOK museum in Santa Fe, that’s as much as I know about the place.

I get nostalgic looking back. Me with pretty good hair, fair complexion, sitting alone, looking out the window and listening to ‘Bleed it Out’ by Linking Park, which I had purchased on my iPod the day before, uncertain about the future and wondering if I would be alone for the rest of my life, slowly losing myself to bad luck and self-loathing. I was wearing my denim jacket, a green polo shirt, blue jeans, a red hat, and my favorite Osiris shoes.

Much like my experiences going to camp during my time dying from cancer, we got to choose activities to attend.
Unlike that time, I was not told I couldn’t do something for fear I could drop dead.

The events themselves started off fairly simple, explaining that they were out of condoms and then showing us how to make dental dams out of latex gloves, followed by us splitting up and going to classes that may or may not pique our interests for extracurricular activities.

They were fine, nothing exceptional, but it was nice to see that the school was offering some nice things, like a student-run TV station, and other things I don’t remember. I really only remember that one.

After a full day of lunch and mostly unmemorable activities, we got back on the bus.

Getting home a little after dinner, I collapsed on my bed, sighed in relief because I felt like this was the place I was meant to be, and all the feelings of being outcast that I endured led to me being rewarded with this, and nothing was out of place.

A few moments later, I realized my hat was gone.

I should mention it was the red Flameboy hat I stole from my brother after he graduated and moved off.

I was a dead man, Wil was going to kill me and bury my body in some ranch where I would haunt it as a ghost for eternity, begging for someone to find my body and free me.

Some kind of Ghost Ranch, if you will.

I called the bus service and Ghost Ranch, but no one had found the hat. It had disappeared.

After a bit of searching online, I found out that, it was actually quite rare and given out at events, never actually sold, so the chances I would find another were quite slim. Worse than that, I have searched through the years and either almost found a hat (color was off, pose was off, etc) or just missed being able to buy one for sale.

It is quite possibly the one item I have lost that I will never get back.

My brother and I were never that close, so I just assumed I would be put into manual labor to pay off this horrible debt until I died or something. That was unfounded, of course, as he didn’t even remember the hat, but I didn’t learn that until later.

I mean, this was not a very good first weekend for some country kid from a small town that finally went out on his own to find his place in the world, right? Wait, where were we?

So, I’m in my room, hat is gone, I’m fearing the worst, and then a knock comes at the door, and my paranoia suddenly got a whole lot worse. 

 
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Chapter 35: Bonfires and Nudity

There is a strong distinction to be made between being kidnapped and sitting in a car, confused and not knowing who the heck is driving or where you’re going.

It becomes even more confusing when you don’t know the area you are in and your only practical life skill is how to break someone’s nose when they’re making improper advances on you. Either situation, it was at this specific moment that I realized that high school had not prepared me at all for the real world, and I had to put my hopes that this well-built, conventionally handsome, chiseled-jaw beast with blonde hair and blue eyes that would make your heart melt had no ill-intent for me, some random guy whose name I forgot, and Corey Awesomeson in his 2004 tan Jeep with a slight crack on the back window and well-worn seatbelts.

We were headed up the ski basin to some mystery get-together for freshman put on by the seniors of the film department. It would be helpful if I was given that information, but I shouldn’t complain about everything.

As the car pulled to a stop, a man in a beanie with a flickering flashlight came and greeted us and told us to follow him exactly so we wouldn’t be hurt.

I would like to mention again I was not told anything about what was happening, and it was dark so he was probably just being really nice and thoughtful.

As we walked up a trail, a small glow grew closer and closer along with what sounded like indie rock being played on a boombox someone got at Goodwill. Being antisocial, I did not have the best practice when it came to making friends, let alone around a bonfire. Heck, last time I was around a bonfire I learned that smoke from fires made me really nauseu-

I vomited on someone. I don’t know who, I was a beer or five in at that point. It was never brought up to me either, so I probably shouldn’t have brought it up here. Oops.

So, hindsight is 20/20, and here’s what really happened.

The seniors threw a meet and greet for the freshman to help them relax and maybe meet some new people, chat about experiences, make connections, possibly make out.

It was very safe, and they always had people cycling out with cars to take kids back to campus that got too drunk, or got sick, or vomited on another kid.

I missed out on meeting a majority of my class because no one had really told me what was going on, so in a paranoid panic I tried to ease my tensions by drinking, then dancing around a fire, inhaling smoke, and, again, vomiting on some random person I never met or apologized to, then was driven home to rest in my dorm and say I just went to Denny’s.

Arriving home, I felt better, and thanked the nice driver before going back in to my dorm. Now, I don’t believe in fate, especially knowing how this part of my life ends, and I don’t believe in love at first sight, but the moment I opened my door open, another door opened down the hall and my eyes saw the most handsome mold of human clay I have ever seen, and he was followed shortly by his boyfriend as they went to shower.

I went into my room, and made small talk with my roommate, then passed out.

And that, dear friends, is how to properly start your college years. 

 

Chapter 36: You’re Not Special

The first classes you encounter during school will tend to be the most alienating, especially if you grew up in a small town with little to no experience making a film. Going into a situation believing you were the top of the game and realizing you brought checkers to a golf game are par for the course, but it’s not your fault.

For this comparison, during Into to MOV (Moving Image Arts) we brought our cameras for show and tell. I was excited because I was well-versed with my Sony Handycam, but my excitement slowly vanished when all the other kids had these prosumer cameras.

One guy told the story about how his father worked really hard to buy his camera since he was so happy his kid would be going to college in the states.

Another girl talked about how she used the winnings of school-sponsored film festivals to buy her $7000 camera.

And so on and so forth.

I could imagine the laughs if I pulled out my camera, so when it came time for me to show, I did not exactly lie. I said I didn’t have much experience with cameras, since I mainly knew animation and talked about working in Flash and felt like that was a good enough explanation, as I hoped no one would ask what was in the bag I brought.

The teacher responded that I really should have a camera, but then transitioned it into talking about how I could check out on in The Cage (the equipment rental place on campus) for projects. I did for a bit, before I asked if my Christmas present from my family could be an actual camera, and also asked not to explain the situation further.

That’s how I ended up with my Panasonic, a camera I would love and use for years to come. It still wasn’t the best, but I liked the way it felt and was easy enough to figure out.

It was an easier thing to mend than learning that I had no idea what I was doing. Scripting, lighting, directing, all were out of my wheelhouse, but I did do well editing, so hoped that would make up for some of my shortcomings.

Although, making films is nothing if you don’t have people helping you. Luckily, the campus was pretty open, and you could pretty much ask random people to help you out and they would. For the first project I had to do (one-shot-take) I pretty much pulled one random person from a D&D game, another who was walking by the day of the shoot, and two people from my dorm I had gotten close with.

I also helped in other projects, like photoshoots, giving feedback on paintings, and editing others projects. Not that I was any good at the photoshoots or feedback, but it was more about making yourself available to help out than being a hard “no” when someone needs something.

If nothing else, it helped people who would recognize you as “vomit boy” to completely forget that.

 
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Chapter 37: Music to Do Music to or Something

While classes were pretty standard from that point out, including flunking out of a class the teacher introduced as “half of you will flunk out of this class” and, as established, I am not special, there were other things to do to grow and expand my knowledge and grow my skills. 

Alright, not all of the activities did that…exactly…

Back when I was a kid, I took piano lessons, and they kinda ended, and I already talked about my experience in high school band, but 12th time’s the charm right?

A neighbor in my hall was a music major who later became a film major and has a much more successful life than I do currently, but during one of my dumb out-side projects, I asked him for help on a project and if he would do the music. I’m kinda fuzzy how that ended, but we ended up making some music together as Babies on Fire, a band that I think we can all agree on proved I was not a natural singer.

It was still fun though, we worked on a rock opera and then got busy and then it kinda officially died the second semester of my senior year.

That wasn’t the only musical thing I got up to the first semester of my freshman year, but the next thing required me to actively not sing, so everyone was better for it.

On campus, there was a club called Sluts on Stage, which put on semesterly…semester-wise…once a semester they put on a shadow cast of Rocky Horror Picture Show. If you have not been to a shadow cast of RHPS (as we cool kids call it), I highly recommend it.

I first saw a shadow cast of it my senior year of high school when I went to a tennis camp for youths and my aunt, whom I crashed with, took me and my cousin to one night.

It was great fun, so of course I want to be part of a cast, what could possibly go wrong?

I should also mention that my mother was very upset with me seeing it and I do apologize if she’s reading this.

Originally, I was cast as Crim the Criminologist and also misc background characters. That all changed the night of when one person, for some reason, couldn’t make it, so the director, someone who is also far more successful than me and amazing, gave me a thong, a link to a video and told me “learn this routine in 3 hours” to my confused, worried, freshman self.

During the intro song, “Science Fiction Double Feature”, shadow casts usually have a nice lady do a strip tease for the audience, get them built up. Guess what role I was now playing.

I would also like to apologize to Corey Awesomson, because I ended up giving him a lapdance during the striptease. Despite that, he’s still my best friend in the male category.

The show was tons of fun, and it was energetic like no other thing I had ever been part of, not even when I was dressed up like a Ghostbuster and clothed-line someone in a ghost costume.

Another plus was the cosmic perfection of the guy down the hall, whom I haven’t thought of a good alias for yet, was playing Rocky in gold boxer shorts. Oh, his boyfriend was playing Frank, should probably mention that.

The show ended and we all had a blast, and it would be a staple for me going forward that I would always look forward to, well, until second semester, but we’ll get there when we get there.

At the end of the first semester, Corey and I started working on our own music project, Instant Wonton, after I had watched Nick work on his tracks for Babies on Fire and steal his knowledge.

We put together one album under the name Instant Wonton. It was alright. Since then, I’ve ended up sneaking a track or two on every other music project I’ve worked on, so it was a good starting point.

But, hey, to my mind, if this whole “film” thing didn’t work out, I could always probably do music, right? More on that later. Let’s talk about how much of an asshole I am.

 

Chapter 38: Nerf Wars

The Nerf Wars felt bigger than they were, I should say that first. It probably felt bigger because nearly everyone’s doors in LaSalle were open, so you could easily just sneak by and then shoot a nerf gun at them. That’s how it started, from what I understand, and it spread to the commons area, whose furniture got built into forts, and daily battles would spring up.

Everyone had their own gun, and we were all art kids, so every one was customized some way to reflect our personalities.

Mine was flashy and useless, which is the perfect representation of me. After paining it silver, I decided it would be a good idea to duct tape two together to double the amount of bullets I had on me. That was factually true, and duel wielding is hard, man.

There were never any sides or any winners, it was all fun, and like most fun things, it was destroyed in the face of some outside person coming in and thinking it was a safety hazard, specifically the President who just so happened to decide to go through the commons area during a battle and said, with a blunt, monotone voice: “You shouldn’t stack chairs like that, they could fall on you and then you could sue the school” followed by telling the RA that night who was forced to shut it down.

I should mention the hilarious part of this, which was the RA being there for that event as well. Actually, that’s a lie, but it would be hilarious if he was, right?

 
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Chapter 39: Love Lovey Love

It became pretty clear that I did not want to be a virgin my entire life and Spiffy McSexypants probably didn’t even know I existed, so it was time for plan…9?

I had dabbled in internet dating before, mostly by accident, since Neopets had a pretty friendly gay community. Almost all of it was chat, and nothing too serious, but it was nice for my chubby fat ass to feel wanted.

No, I decided to go big and find love on the internet, the place that got me a bootleg copy of Flash so I could animate better. Much like that bootleg copy, I feel like the most I’ve gotten from internet dating is buggy and overall disappointing.

I met this one guy and we started actually dating. He lived in Houston, I went and visited him when I went home for Christmas break, he came to college with me for a week, my roommate was paranoid we had sex in his bed, the guy was mentally abusive, really into Harvest Moon, it was my first adult relationship, and he would end up stealing my DS.

This was the one, you know? We made so many memories, he made me smile, I just really don’t know where to start. I just had a feeling this was going to be it, you know? The guy I would spend the rest of my life with. 

 

Chapter 41: The Chapter that Skipped 40

There’s some stuff that happened which ended in the emergency room on my birthday, which was the single worst birthday I’ve ever had, and it’s a long and very sympathetic story that wins me brownie points and lots of uplifting “you can do anything” speeches, but let’s just skip over that and pretend it never happened like a well-adjusted individual in this modern and evolving society. 

 
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Chapter 42: A Semester Abored

So, after the missing birthday, my parents agreed it would be a good idea to withdraw me from CSF and re-enroll me in therapy. Also decided to enroll in community college for a semester, so my college career continued, and things were looking…alright?

The head of the art department was a family friend and I moved into the only dorm on campus, and 30 minutes from home was the “it’s safe” move. They didn’t have a film department, so I was just a general art major. It was very tame, very calm, nothing really exciting happened, so I’m just gonna reach for strings or whatever.

We had this one teacher who hated anime that looked like Penn Jilette, there was also this lady named Joy who name was apparently ironic, because she was a horrible human being.

In Jr High one of my friends moved to Lovely and she and another person I briefly met were going to the same college, so it was nice to have some familiar faces there. Did not meet a lot of new friends, to be honest.

Anyway, that was also the first year that I participated in something called the 48 Hour Film Project, a project where you make a film in 48 hours. I was brought on to do editing, and I will be nice and say I had an interesting time in which I did not get to do that, even though I was brought on with that being my job.

I would do it 3 more times, just not with the same director, it was fun, but I am old now and have no energy.

Another thing that occurred was I met a guy named Mick (not real name) who is still one of my close friends and will get brought up in a later chapter.

I think the perfect sort of summary is the weekend the power in East Texas got knocked out due to a hurricane, and the most depressing part of the entire situation was the knowledge I had just bought a pound of kolaches that were sitting in my freezer, and they were going to be ruined.

After a few months of therapy and getting over the events in Chapter 38, and also not being really that satisfied with the community college, I decided to head back to Santa Fe and re-continue my education like nothing had happened at all!

Man, I need to work on that sarcasm thing, it probably won’t translate well through text.

 

 Chapter 43: Like Nothing Changed At All

So, first day back at college, everything is gonna be great. Didn’t burn any bridges, everyone is understanding of my situation, back to learning about film and I got promoted to Frank for Rocky Horror, I even got a single room, but UH OH, they accidentally gave me a double, but I get to keep it anyway. Silly gooses.

Isn’t life great, and fantastic, and perfect in everyway.

Yeah, it was like one week into the semester when they announced the school was bankrupt and the doors might be chained close tomorrow.

Everything is fine and dandy!

Ok, so I believe it was around week 2 that we all got made the announcement that the school was out of money and they weren’t sure if the college would stay open or not. I distinctly remember the sentence “You might go to class and find the doors chained closed” being said.

This was a shock, mainly because this was pretty much the exact opposite of what I really needed mentally. The one place I actually felt creative was pretty much one elephant from extinction or something poetic, I wasn’t a creative writing major.

Optimism was low, but things started happening.

One class had the teacher get up in front of the class, told us to take out the syllabus and ripped up his copy in front of us and said “This is production, but you came here to learn. Whatever you want me to teach you, we’ll do it, even if it has nothing to do with this class.”

Another class about film appreciation basically did something similar, but with movies to discuss.

It was an uplifting come-to-Jesus moment of any film, but that energy was marred by the despondent attitude of some of the students.

Notoriously, the dorms became dens of chaos. At one point, police were roaming the halls and knocking on doors to try and find drug use. My neighbor would constantly have music blaring through the night.

There was this one night I really couldn’t stand it, so I went and asked my friend Angela if I could crash on her floor, and just before I passed out, her neighbors started having loud sex so we went to Dunkin Donuts for a few hours.

The college’s only shot to survive was to become a state school, so it partnered with Laureate, who were described to students as the “Sylvan Learning Company People” but they backed out so the college partnered with NMSU.

Students went and protested in front of the government building, they fought to save their school, but were defeated by pigs.

Literal pigs, as pig farming was put on the ballot for a vote instead of the school.

The school did manage to stay open for the entire semester, and it was possibly the best semester of learning any of the students could’ve hoped for considering the circumstances.

After it ended, we packed our bags and went home, not sure what would happen.

Oh, and the Live-Action Statue of Perfection I had a crush on told me I had nice legs. That’s the end of that story, sorry if you were hoping for it to work out in some romantic gesture that proves love is real or something.