Posted on October 24, 2016
If you’re reading this, I finally got around to finishing my YouTube cartoon. Check it out here:
I’m hoping to turn this page into more of a repository for my humor (outside of just written pieces). We’ll see how that goes.
Is it Throwback Thursday again already? Alright, picture this scene:
It was the summer of 1993. The Braves had not yet won their third world series. Whispers of the Olympics coming to Atlanta made us almost as excited as Saved By the Bell reruns on TBS, and no one yet knew what it was to do the Macarena. It was a time of slap bracelets, hand-me-down stonewash jeans, and weird trend where shirts and jeans featured Looney Toons characters in street clothes. I was seven years old and playing old DOS games on my sister’s old IBM 386 tower PC, tinkering around with the settings for the original Prince of Persia sidescroller when suddenly I see the error message:
THIS PROGRAM HAS PERFORMED AN ILLEGAL OPERATION AND WILL BE SHUT DOWN
An illegal operation? Was changing the factory settings on a game somehow against the law? What had I done? I panicked. My hyper literal mind couldn’t differentiate between a computer error and a felony. Surely the computer had contacted the police who were already in route to my house. Never mind that the computer wasn’t connected to the internet. I’d seen COPS – I knew how this worked.
Clearly my only option was to hide until this all blew over. I crawled to the back of the guest room closet, hid behind some of my sister’s old prom dresses, and tucked my knees into my chest. How would the other kids at school treat me after my arrest? Would I finally be popular? My parents would probably disown me, but at least I’d have that badass street cred to set me apart from the other 3rd graders.
After what felt like hours (but was probably only about 15 minutes in reality), it occurred to me that maybe the police weren’t coming after all. Relieved that I wasn’t in trouble but also disappointed about my lost reputation as a hardened criminal, I crawled back out and kept playing video games.
I’m not scared of heights. I’m scared of a weird desire to fall forward once I look over a high ledge. The French have a phrase L’appel du vide to describe this sensation – literally the call of the void – that makes looking over a high ledge not nearly as scary as the question of surviving the impact. Luckily the Bouldering walls at Stone Summit climbing gym don’t get much higher than 10 feet. And the padding makes for a comfy impact as long as you don’t hyper-extend your wrists. Or fall on your face.
Patrick invited a bunch of us to give the climbing gym a try with a free pass, and few things attract my attention like free crap. I’d climbed a few times before but never in a space so large and sweaty. Not that the smell was a turn off. If anything, I’d be suspicious if the gym didn’t smell like a wet gym sock on entering. It’d be as surprising as finding a chef who isn’t fat.
“few things attract my attention like the idea that I don’t have to pay for something”
The cool part about climbing is that it allows for all body types. Let me explain with a Dungeons and Dragons analogy: the benefit of being as muscley as I am means that I have a fairly high strength score, meaning that short bursts of energy to hoist myself up aren’t a problem. This manifested when I got stuck on a course 10 feet up in the air and clung to a hold with only my hands. I was able to dangle for a long while by just my hands and, while searching for the next holds, do pull-ups around the boulder face until I knew where to go next (point of bragging: my climbing companions were seriously impressed by this). But the other side to this is that people with high strength scores tend to be freakin’ enormous, meaning they have low agility and endurance. Case example: courses that involve supporting my entire body weight solely on my fingers ended poorly for me.
Elliot on the other hand is sly and nimble, which let him to spider up walls with speed and dexterity that rivaled an angry koala. His endurance bordered the robotic, and his only trouble came in moments that required an extra push to reach the top. But even then he completed more courses than I did.
By the time we were finished, I wanted to die. Which of course means next time I’ll try harder.
Last night around 1:30 AM, Matthew L. and I drove up to the Kennesaw Mountain Park fields to catch a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower. The conditions were pretty optimal (few clouds, low light, etc) considering how close we were to the city. All in all there were more bats than meteors, but we still saw about 16 shooting stars. The meteors more than made up for the sad, unfortunate slice of cake we’d just had at Gino’s pizza with Marky and the gang (side note: I still feel personally wronged by how bad the tiramisu cake tasted; it was the dessert equivalent of coming downstairs on Christmas morning and finding out you’re adopted).
We spread a picnic blanket out on the field and faced toward the northwestern sky, seeing meteors once every two minutes or so. And every now and then a bat would dive close enough to us to make me nervous. Not that I’m afraid of bats, mind you. I’m afraid of incurable diseases. Can rabies be transferred by spit? Or hot breath? If a bat swooped down and tenderly recommended his favorite restaurant into my ear, should I worry for my health? This was immediately forgotten once the meteors came out
On the way home I asked Matthew if he wished on any of the stars.
“Nah, not this time. Did you?”
“No,” I said. “I don’t do that anymore. It doesn’t feel like it does anything. Kind of like voting.”
I’m exhausted today after barely getting three and a half hours of sleep, but it was completely worth it.
(Header image by Jack Fusco)