Sunday, April 29, 2007

Things That Stand Out

At age 4,
In the basement as a child I thought a robot would assemble itself from parts, and it wouldn’t be friendly.

At age 6,
Four boys in my class beat the tar out of a new kid in the bathroom. He vomited pink. For the rest of elementary school those 4 boys were the popular ones. I realized that mobs have power, and that they are bad. I also realized that I don’t like most people very much.

At age 11,
I had a crush on a little girl and rode 5 miles twice a week to watch her practice little league. I would follow her home on my bike afterwards. One day she hid under a car, and I knew she was there but I didn’t look because I knew it would be awkward. I rode home and never followed her again. They didn’t have the world stalking yet.

At age 12,
I made an obscene phone call to the operator and she called me back to tell me boys can go to jail for that. I waited for the police to come.

At age 12,
I started a chemical fire when I was alone at home. It flamed 3' high in a glass cup while I ran to take it outside. It burned my hand and sooted the ceiling. I thought the house would burn.

At age 13,
One of the only kids that was friendly to me found a nice crystal in the playground. I was jealous and I stole it. I never gave it back but I felt great guilt and I knew it was a mistake.

At age 14,
A redneck gang leader beat my friend while I watched. It happened fast and I was afraid to help. I swore I would always protect my friends after that even if it meant taking a beating.

At age 14,
In 9th grade I stole potassium ferrocyanide from the chemistry lab. I thought it was toxic and I accidentally spilled it outside. Panic.

At age 15,
I took a shower with one of the dumbest girls I have ever met. I was afraid I got her pregnant even though the sperm would have needed space suits.

At age 16,
I accidentally boiled mercury. Don’t ask. I wondered if and when it would catch up to me.

At age 17,
My girlfriend got Chlamydia and before I learned it was curable or what it was she told me I might have it too. When the doctor was testing for it he inserted the biggest q-tip I have ever seen into my penis. Do not enter. I didn’t have it, but they gave me the treatment anyway in case of false negatives. I still wonder why the fuck they q-tiped me if I was going to get the antibiotics anyway. Satan doctor.

At age 17,
I accidentally electrocuted myself alone at home, and my heart stopped for 15 seconds

At age 19,
I found out that my girlfriend had just been raped by her boss. I felt the deepest rage and humiliation.

At age 20,
I barely had the will to prevent myself from killing a man. I was consumed by a hatred so strong that I forgot who I was.

At age 21,
I saw my father in a hospital bed, weakened and suffering and on morphine.

At age 22,
I wrecked a scooter in the middle of nowhere in Taiwan and my shoulder was torn apart. The police thought it was funny. They didn’t help. I had to hitchhike to a hospital but my friend and a local couple helped me.

At age 22,
I hid in the bathtub when the lover of my date came to visit. He was armed police and she said he was her brother. I stood in the tub while he urinated, watching him through the curtain and thinking what a good story this was.

At age 22,
I was trapped in the streets of Taipei during a Typhoon. There were live power lines in the street, and big pieces of signs flying through the air at 60 miles an hour. Clay tiles were falling off of roofs everywhere, and all I could do was run to find shelter. That was the most alive I have ever felt.

At age 27,
My cat Buttkiss ripped my eyelid in half, bit into my scalp, and pierced my cheek. When blood gets in your eye it isn’t red – it is like Vaseline. I drove myself to the hospital. A little girl in the emergency room cried when she looked at me. The police came to interview me at the hospital and told me they knew I was protecting my friend. They wanted me to tell who really did that to me. "If someone beat me up," I said, "don't you think I could come up with a less embarassing cover story than that my housecat did this to me?" Buttkiss was declawed several days later. I wonder how many people have had the experience of cleaning their own blood off of the ceiling.

At age 27,
Venture capitalists funded my startup. I was proud and excited.

At age 29,
I had sex with a woman I didn’t know and she stayed the night at my hotel. In the morning she told me she was HIV positive. Then she asked me if I wanted to go to breakfast. I had worn a condom but it shook me and made me think about my life. I stopped having sex for 6 months until I passed my test. I was strong and I am proud of that.

At age 29,
After 13 years of searching I still hadn't found the woman I would marry. I was doubting.

At age 30,
I am older than I could ever imagine myself being when I was a child. I wasn't sure I would make it this far. I didn't know what I would become as I aged but now that I am here I understand. It takes a lot of experience to look forward but looking backwards is always easy.

At age 31,
Two guys were beating an unconscious man on Mao Ming Lu in Shanghai. I rushed in screaming and I was ready to fight. My friend and I chased them away. You shouldn’t stomp on unconscious people’s heads.

At age 34,
I am married to a wonderful woman. We love each other, and I am happy. This surprises me every day.

A few people close to me have passed away – I didn’t mention these because they seem both too personal and universal. My parents were the biggest positive force in my life and they gave unselfishly to their children. I didn’t talk about this because it is too big and too blankety.


cancer disguised said...

Great post. I don't think it's too personal at all. I think it was just enough to capture my attention. You left me wanting to know more. I was a little sad when it ended.

Rod said...

A great post. Very 'human', very recognisable. Honest, raw, true (presumably) and typical of a persons uniqueness. I enjoyed it.

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Jamie Liu said...

Wow, first, I saw your blog on google's blog community and thought your lines were gimmicky. Now, after reading your concise life report, I say, "boy, you rock!"

More details would be fun, I think people love peeking into others' privacy.

sevenwarlocks said...

This is a cool style indeed. And these are interesting stories, despite the fact that I have heard a lot of them (and can even vouch for the authenticity of a few.) As a writer, you are starting to remind me a bit of Spalding Gray (which is, like, praise). His story, "Sex and Death to the Age 14" has a similar tone.

cowboytf said...

Wow...I don't really even know what to say, except that, despite the hardships you encountered I'm glad you found someone to love and make new happy memories with.

A Cowboy's Wife

Gregory A. Becerra said...

That was you in the tub!

Eve said...

Wow... I can't believe how many of those stories I've never heard. How is it possible that we've grown so far apart, still living in the same town? You were my best friend for so long...

You forgot to mention making your little sister give her beloved, golden, tiger-eye butterfly necklace to the stalked girl as a gift "from you", and the phone calls you made me make to her, extolling your virtues. (Though I guess those parts were more memorable to me than to you...) Poor Brenda. She was very beautiful though.

Peter Haslam said...

Glad you shared. Often we forget we are not the only ones that has had a less than perfect life

Leon said...

Great post!

Carmelo Garcia said...

Had a good time reading your post. -it was refreshing. =)

Nikhil said...

Hey there,

That was strong content indeed. I liked your work. I'm not quite where you are. But I'm getting there, slowly.

Possibly going through the very same points you did.

Do keep posting.