HyphenSite

graphic design, comics, photos, movies, hip hop, & things that don't matter

5

High School English with Mr. Obadiah

Mon 01.10.11

Oh, what a delicious story!

Words I had heard almost daily during my junior year at LaSalle Academy, when I had an English course with Mr. Silas Obadiah.

Mr. Obadiah went by many names: Mr. O, Obie, and Obie-Doobie-Doo. He was a short, ageless man with the face of a cherub, who spoke with a thick Nigerian accent. Mr. O was always fairly laid back and he would often giggle like a schoolgirl after he spoke. He was either wrapped in a nice, subdued suit or a vibrant dashiki. He taught English at LaSalle Academy, but was also a full time professor of anthropology at RIC. I don’t actually recall what I learned in his class, but I know he encourage creativity, for which I am grateful.

Mr. O was not a fan of troublemakers or those “pregnant with problems.” I, however, fell into his favor. Mr. O let me get away with writing some ridiculous shit. One time he went out of his way to tell me what a wonderful student I was. Mr. O chirped that I was such a good student, I did not have to adhere to the assigned seating; I could sit anywhere. I asked if I could sit at this desk or that desk or – even – the light fixture.

“Ooooh yes Mr. HaitchPeeea, you can sit on de light fixture. Yeeeees.”

Obie certainly had a way with words. He referred to just about everything as “delicious.” This test was delicious. That student was delicious. Mr. O was delicious. If he caught you peaking at another student’s answers, he would accuse you of “giraffing.” I had a friend in class with a long Italian last name, who had a penchant for making animal noises at random intervals and generally being a bit disruption. Unable to pronounce his last name, Obie would tell him, “Oh, Mr. San Fransisco, you are pregnant with problems.”

LaSalle Academy was a Catholic school and as such, before each class we had a prayer period. Like little teenage robots, we would mutter “Saint John Baptist de LaSalle, pray for us.” Obie would then delight us with some sort of parable that no one would understand, but we all loved to hear. For example, Obie would produce a crude drawing of an onion on the blackboard and utter these meaningful words:

Todaaaaay, I want to praaaaay. For. Dah onion.

See? Da onion. Has many… laaaayers.

That was the entire prayer.

Mr O had stories about everything. Peer pressure, babies, and pigs. I was always a fan of the Tale About The Dog Who Was Almost Hanged.

There once was a group of children playing in a village (oh ho ho). And they were so happy and they played and one day they found a puuuuuppy (ooooh). So they played with the puppyyyy. They ran with th’ puppyyy and they played fetch with th’ pupppyyyyyyyyyy.

Then one of th’ little boys said “Oh let’s hang th’ puppy!” And everyone cheered “Yes yes! Hang him hang him!”  Little Silas kept saying “No, don’t hang the puppy. No, not the puppy.”

Sooo they hung the puppy.

And Silas came back a minute later and cut him down and him and the puppy were friends forever. So, this is about peer pressure and if you see someone doing drugs: Run. Away.

Another fan favorite story (that no one can seem to quite recall the point of) was about the pig and the baby. The gist was this: a woman set her baby down at a barbecue and a pig ate it. There was also the time that when Obie was at Brown University, where he saw a hawk steal a baby squirrel.  He sat there all day and waited, but when the hawk did not bring the baby squirrel back, Obie was sad. This is what we would pray for. Or about? Or against? I think.

Mr. Obadiah’s personal life was a mystery to us. We would ask him about his girlfriend and Mr. O would insist he was married. We would ask him about his wife and Mr. O would insist he was dating a dozen women. Eventually we assumed he was a polygamist. Regardless of his situation, it was impossible to get a straight answer out of him.

Q: Mr. O, it was St Patty’s day yesterday, how much Guinness did you drink?
A: 4 Kegs.

Q: Mr. O, it was Valentine’s day yesterday, what did you do with your girlfriend?
A: She died.

Q: Mr. O, how many babies have you killed?
A:
I never counted.

As a sophomore in college, I returned to LaSalle Academy to visit some of my old teachers. I ran into Mr. Obadiah – still as cheery as ever – and had a nice chat. We even traded email addresses, but he never replied to my email. I guess the only solace I have is the Mr. Obadiah Fan Club on Facebook.

2

My First Memory

Mon 01.03.11

Happy New Year, everyone! The start of a new year is a perfect time to sit back and reflect upon past experiences. You can’t get any more “past” than your first memory!

Do you know those wooden standees that have the faces cut out? I’m sure you do. You stand behind one and stick your face in the hole, then someone takes a stupid picture of you as a lion or a strongman? They are always poorly painted pieces of plywood, with no sense of perspective and suspect balance? Yes, those.

I was maybe 3 or 4 years old. I had a big head full of curly brown hair, giant blue eyes, and I was excited to be visiting the Purina Farm in Missouri. The farm had one of those questionably built, standing cut-outs of a circus wagon. The ringleader was up front driving the wagon and then there were various animals in the back with holes for heads – so children could get their pictures taken as a caged gorilla or a caged lion or a caged elephant. I was so excited at the prospect of pretending to be an indentured animal that I jammed my head right through the hole. Because of my oversize baby head and baby ears, I found myself unable to unjam my head. I was stuck.

The rest of my memory is spotty, but I recall a wave of panic. I recall the crying. I recall discovering that if your face turns purple, your mom gets very worried. I don’t remember how I got out that Damned Circus Wagon, but I heard rumor of a chainsaw being involved. The last bit I remember was the employees on the farm bringing me cup after cup of lemonade, to make sure I was alright. And so we didn’t sue.

That was my first memory.

19

My Cat Is Trying to Kill Me

Tue 11.30.10

I am now giving in to the pressure of the internet and I am going to write a post about my cat. This is quite possibly the lowest thing you can do on the internet. It’s just barely above slapping some Impact font with a 2px black outline over a photo of a cat.

This past summer, I was home from work with the flu or a hangover or temporary diabetes or something. I had been talking about getting a kitten for sometime, but never could due to a series of banal excuses (such as a previous room mate’s allergies). Now free of such trivial issues, I could get all the kittens I want! Ever a believer in the scientific law of “shit or get off the pot,” I began lurking CraigsList for casual kitten encounters. Upon finding a poorly worded ad that described a kitten that was just the right size and color, I boarded a train and rode north to basically New Hampshire and came home several hours later with a kitten.

She is helping me work.

I named her Sisyphus.

Sisyphus is a lunatic. Her favorite activity is climbing the walls. More accurately, attempting to climb the walls. She jumps about 4 feet in the air, grasps on with her claws, and slides down – producing a deafening screech, like a dozen fingernails on a really big chalkboard. Sissy’s second favorite activity is meowing in the kitchen at nothing. This is adorable, so I let it pass.

This is her killing things.

Another favorite activity of little Sissy’s is to cause sleep deprivation. I already have a rocky relationship with sleeping. I love sleeping, like a wine connoisseur loves wine. But, I hate going to sleep, like a crippled wine connoisseur hates climbing stairs.  Sleeping usually equates to about 45 minutes of rotating under my covers until my body stops moving, and then about 5 hours of jolting awake in 45 minute intervals. I sleep most solidly in the last few hours before the alarm ruins my life. Naturally, this is when Sisyphus wants attention.

Night terrors, thy name be kitten.

Around 4am, Sisyphus realizes that something is missing in her life. The taste of sweet, succulent flesh. Any flesh will do, but mine seems to be preferred. Or should I say prefur’d? No, spell check is indicating I was right the first time.

When Sissy gets the taste for flesh, nothing can stop her. She will slowly skulk across my bed, find a patch of exposed skin – be it my arms, my legs, the small of my back, or the back of my neck – and she will begin feverishly licking it. This is not just licking, but Detective Monk-style obsessive compulsive behavior. If I kick her out of my room, Sissy sits outside my door, yowling. Then she starts throwing herself into the door.

I’m sure you must be thinking “Oh, kitty wuvs you with kisses!” or some such bullshit. No. Don’t fall for it. It’s a trick.

Do not trust this face.

Let’s just set aside that this tiny, 3 pound kitten is trying to eat me nightly. What she is doing is akin to torture. This is sleep deprivation! Do you know where else they do this? Guantanamo Bay. Sisyphus does not give a shit about the Geneva Convention.

Torture was only the start.

Being a man of proper hygiene, I had just stepped out of my evening shower. My hair was scented with the finest of Head & Shoulders, my wet, dripping body wrapped in but a towel. It was erotic, I tell you that.  I step out of the bathroom, clothe myself enough to not feel ashamed to walk by the windows, and finish my grooming process. Part of this process is to clean my ears with an off-brand Q-tip. I nonchalantly inserted the off-brand Q-tip into my head when, out of nowhere, Sisyphus leaps to the top of a nearby chair, and rushes into my arm. If not for quick thinking and nearly inhuman reflexes, I would have a Q-tip lodged into my brain. I would have died, seizing, vomiting, and wetting myself.

Murder murder murder kill kill kill.

War. War never changes.

At this point in time – by which I mean as of the moment I finish this sentence – Sissy is barely 6 months old. Every day, she is growing. Her legs becoming more powerful. Her teeth sharper. Her knowledge of the vital pressure points on the human body all the more detailed. If Sisyphus continues to escalate at her current rate, she will be able to leap over my head in 2 months time. In 5 months time, she will keep me awake indefinitely. In a year, well… I might be dead, my torso hollowed out, transformed into a morbid cockpit, Sisyphus sitting within my ribcage, controlling my body by pulling on my tendons like a terrible marionette.

Isn't she cute though?

2

J. Edgar Hoover Says…

Mon 11.15.10

I’ve been working on a fairly major project since April, so posting design work online has had to take a back seat. It’s unfortunate, but necessary because this major project is going to knock your socks off. Anyway, here is a little something I created over the summer.

The origin of this poster is simple. I got tired of cleaning my roommate’s spit out of the bathroom sink, so I made this as inspiration. It has yet to work, but the poster is cool. An older version of this poster now sits, lamented, on my bathroom wall.