Monday, January 31, 2011

Story series - Mom, it wasn't me! It was that man's fault!

When Copyboy of Not Worth Mentioning! blog posted yesterday about the douche kicking sand in the dork's face, he had this picture up which triggered a memory recall.

When I saw this ad in one of my comics back in the 70's, I thought the only way to look like Charles Atlas was to do what the guy did in his room (see above, 1st picture in second row).

After trashing my room, I was standing there in my undies, looking at myself in the mirror and trying to see if muscles had somehow appeared on me (see above, 2nd picture in second row)...when my mom walked in on me.

Naturally, she wasn't happy about the condition of my room and I panicked...I said, "Mom, it wasn't me! It was that man's fault!" (pointing at Charles Atlas) as if she would believe that a man in a comic book had come to life and trashed my room. No matter how hard I tried to convince her that it wasn't me, she made me clean and put everything back in their places.

It took me a while to learn what all those words in that ad meant. Subliminal advertising. ;)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Story series - trying to blend in anonymously, part three

Bully #3 came into my awareness in my junior year at the beginning of winter. I was trying to cut across a snow-covered baseball field since the campus is large and I was already running late for a class.

This guy saw me trying the shortcut and ran over to talk to me about something. I didn't understand him and I tried to be polite with him by using the usual "I don't understand you. I am deaf" tactic.

He kept talking to me and he was using his mouth in such a way that was not conductive to lipreading; barely moving the lips and speaking too rapidly. I tried again but that didn't seem to get through to him. I shrugged and turned to leave. I happened to look back and I saw him bend down to scoop up some snow.

I ducked before he could hit me with the snowball and I laughed at his clumsy effort as I walked away. I thought I wouldn't see him again since I had never seen him before. Not so. The next day in a hallway, someone leaned into my peripheral vision and did the mocking mouth movement. When I slowed down to look at that person, I recognized him from yesterday and I realized that I had never noticed him.

Each and every time he saw me, he would mock me. I was already well-known at the school, despite its size with 2,000 students and I hated that because it meant that I had to endure the looks and the whispers (like I can hear them!) as I walked by. My self-confidence was nowhere to be found so I really hated being "outed" like that and that guy was doing that every time he saw me.

He never touched me. He never waved his arms. Never did anything to me except let his friends KNOW who I am. Every dang time. Then...a new semester came around...

That meant new classes. Wouldn't you know it? He happened to be in the same physical education class with me. I had always looked forward to P.E. every semester because I got to play sports and I got to show everyone that being deaf didn't necessarily mean you'd be terrible at sports and I loved knowing that I wouldn't be the last one picked for teams. Loved that...and there he was.

I had this friend who sat next or near me in alphabetical order. Never forgot his name. He was already a stud - he was a drummer and he worked hard on his body and his long flowing hair so he would look hot. Rock music was the rage in the 80's...and he saw this guy mocking me in P.E.

In a flash, he stood up and walked over to him and said "Stop! Don't do that anymore!" and came back to his position and resumed his conversation with me.

Just like that.

The guy was left speechless, and so was I. Never had anyone stand up for me like that. Especially not the guy who could have any girl he wanted without having to work for it.

I was never ever bothered by anyone after that. Coupled with the fact that my sister had finally become one of the most popular girls in her sophomore year (remember, she was one year behind me), nobody wanted to mess with the hot drummer's friend or the popular girl's deaf brother.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Story series - trying to blend in anonymously, part two

Last week, I wrote about Bully #1 in my math class during my freshman year. Bully #2 was never in any of my classes, but we were both sophomores. He was someone I would walk by often in the hallways on my way to my classes.

My high school has 20 buildings on a sprawling campus. The campus was formerly used by a community college before my town got bigger and prompted the need for a bigger campus to handle the rising number of students. The vacated campus created a perfect opportunity for my town to split up into two high schools.

Bully #2 wasn't a jock, an artist, or even a popular guy. He was a nerd. Apparently, he couldn't stand the thought of having a deaf nerd in his clique. Yes, I was a I acted with others didn't allow for me to fit into any of the cliques except for the nerds.

Physically, he was unremarkable - wore glasses, kept his hair short, didn't change his clothes often, and always preferred one pair of shoes. He was slightly heavier than me and about 2 inches/5 centimeters taller.

One day, he worked up some courage (or was it more likely his hatred moved him into action?) and he got physical with me by deliberately bumping into me with his shoulder, knocking the books out of my hands, pretending not to see me and get into my way.

I simply adjusted by getting a backpack (since I knew others would do the same thing) and stepping out of the hallway for a longer route to my classes. That drove him nuts since he couldn't get to me at all. Took him until the next semester before he could get to me again.

January came around and he put into action what he thought was a perfect plan. Let me explain the layout of the school. About half of the buildings are connected by hallways and every once in a while there is a small grouping of offices for teachers. One such cluster was largely abandoned (due to poor location and too few teachers) and that's where he was, hiding and waiting for me to walk by.

He came out and asked to talk to me privately. I knew what he had in mind and I wasn't scared of him at all. I followed him back into that "lounge" and he told me to go ahead and put my backpack down. The second I did as asked was the second he grabbed hold of me and pushed me back into a wall.

I was actually amused by that because of two things: 1) he wasn't really doing it roughly like he meant it and 2) his eyes were showing fear. Seeing my smile on my face scared him more and he twisted his fists deeper into my shirt. Big mistake.

I already knew what to do. Digging deeper into my shirt meant that his hands weren't readily available for defense and he was completely exposed. I had been in fights before; even took on three boys at once and lost that one...but not before I made the leader pay with a gash in his head and a lingering headache by making a brick wall meet his head.

I decided that the best way to deal with this scared bully was to make him temporarily deaf. I clapped my hands on his ears just hard enough to achieve that effect without bursting any of his eardrums. I wanted to burst one just for hassling me, but the school was notoriously tough on fighting - an immediate expulsion if caught.

He let go of my shirt in shock and cupped his ears. He stood there and did not say a word so I moved in and pointed at his face and said "Bother me again and I will burst your ears. If I see you in the hallway, I will burst your ears. You better turn around and walk away if you see me coming. Got that?"

He just stared at me, incomprehensibly. My voice got louder and sterner, "GOT THAT?" and he nodded. I smiled sweetly at him, picked up my backpack, opened the door out to the hallway, and walked away without even a glance.

I almost never saw him again until we graduated as seniors.

Part three will be published next week. This one is a doozy - you'll like it. ;)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Say What? "Light commerce"

My wife and I were talking about how we meet people and how some of them came into our existence when she said "light commerce".

Naturally, I had this look of...yes, you guessed it from other Say What? posts...confusion on my face. Again wife had this look of amusement on her face, eagerly awaiting to hear what I thought she said.

What did she actually say that didn't make sense initially?

Latecomers. LOL

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Story series - trying to blend in anonymously, part one

Gillian, from A Daft Scots Lass blog, made a comment on my "That Was It?" post which helped inspire me to post another story. She said, "This story really made me smile. I love to hear of bullies getting what they deserve." and that stirred a memory from high school. I had three bullies at my high school and I remember them all clearly. That's why the title of this post is "trying to blend in anonymously, part one".

I had made a mistake of putting myself on an accelerated pace of Algebra in 8th grade (I was trying to compete with other students for "first place" that existed only in my mind) because I found myself in 9th grade Algebra where it was normal to have two or three sections assigned daily. Why was that a mistake? I didn't understand what was going on, let alone learn effectively...and to exacerbate the matter further, I felt like a fish out of the water.

Didn't help that I was the lone deaf student in that class. A student took advantage of that. Never forgot him...his last name was Nugent and he made a big deal out of that by wearing Ted Nugent shirts. Never was related to Ted...he couldn't possibly have since his actions were more on par with the Neanderthal than with the homo erectus or even homo sapien.

Each and every time the teacher turned around to write things down on the blackboard, Nugent would try to bother me. At first, it was easy to ignore him because he tried to talk to the back of my head. Hello...I can't hear you...and you're in this class? Wow.

He finally figured out that he had to touch me in order to get my attention and that fed his feeding frenzy. I could tell that he wasn't being friendly to me - laughing at me and looking at his friends for encouragement is a dead giveaway. I tried to pretend to stare blankly at him as he either mumbled at me or spoke rapidly on purpose. That didn't work. I tried to ignore his taps on my back. Didn't work. Even tried brushing off his "touches". Made him more motivated than before.

I had to report Nugent to the principal when the teacher didn't believe me on what was going on. Nugent claimed that he was trying to help me understand whenever he talked to me. He was only reprimanded and the teacher was ordered by the principal to move Nugent to the opposite side of the classroom. Remember, this was the 80's. No suspensions, no detention hall, nothing.

Nugent kept bothering me in the class. He learned from one of the students that waving arms was an effective way to get my attention from a distance. He would laugh and wave his arms at me. I was extremely frustrated and that made it inifinitely harder for me to learn. The problem went away only because I was struggling too much to learn anything and I was moved to Intermediate Algebra.

That, was the "lightest" instance I had involving the three bullies in high school. I never interacted with Nugent again after I was reassigned to Intermediate Algebra. My sister moved on to 9th grade the following year and I found out from her why Nugent had disappeared. He got in trouble with the authorities over drugs and his parents moved away to avoid the shame.

Next Wednesday, I will write about Bully #2. Be sure to come back next week!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Say What? "Now nothing has happened, it's a runaway"

My wife and I were laying in bed, making small talk.

Wife: "now nothing has happened, it's a runaway"

I get puzzled at that. Nothing makes sense. I chew on that a bit.

My wife sees that I am confused and she looks at me with a look of expectation on her face. I know she's waiting for me to tell her what I think she said. After a roar of laughter from her, she said "No...what I said was now that I've had a nap, I'm wide awake."

I passed out from fatigue 5 minutes later. :)