Posts Tagged ‘the past’
After the 5th grade, I moved from my home of 5 years – a small town in Massachusetts – down to my grandparent’s house in Rhode Island. Through high school, I stayed connected with a few of my grade school friends. It became traditional that I would spent a week during winter break and a week during summer break back in Swampscott, visiting Tyler.
Tyler was an only child, but constantly had friends over, so the house was always busy. I had been at Tyler’s for a few days and was leaving the next. A few friends showed up at his door and Tyler said that he had something to show us. He walked to the corner of his bedroom, four guys huddled around him. Under a stack of old papers sat a set of wicker drawers. Tyler opened the 2nd drawer, lifting old magazines, rubber band balls, a few old knives, other assorted crap, and removed the Holy Grail: An honest-to-God porno mag.
While this doesn’t seem so amazing now, please keep the following in mind: This was the late 90s. At the time, the internet was a luxury. My house did not have an internet connection until midway through my freshman year of high school. When we were finally blessed to have AOL, we had to drag a 50-foot phone cord from the PC to the phone jack, unplug the house phone, plug in the PC, pray no one called, wished for no one to trip over the wire, and hoped to find an ISP number that wasn’t busy. Porn was still easy to find, but by the time a single .BMP loaded, the connection timed out.
These were the times when hordes of teenage boys would roam the woods looking for caches of porno mags. The terrible truth behind this scenario is that we would actually find some. Someone in every group of friends knew where to find a stack of damp, torn, and stained porno mags. There was even an honor system. No one took a magazine unless there were plenty left behind. As time passed, evidence of adolescence sin would be washed away over the changing seasons.
Now, I was resourceful. I had seen naked women before, but I had never seen a real softcore porn magazine. This had boobs! This had nipples! It even had full frontal nudity! One of the girls seen spreading eagle in an outdoor shower (a common occurrence, I believe) looked a lot like Gabrielle from Xena: Warrior Princess. This was a big deal. This was life changing. I flipped through the pages and realized that this is what I needed. I needed this magazine. My raging teenage hormones overrode any sense of ethics or morality I had in me. Tyler was my friend, but this was Highlander; there can only be One and it was going to be me.
The week was up. Tyler’s parents would drive me back down to Rhode Island, where they would have Boring Adult Dinners with my mom. After the car was packed, I implied to Tyler’s mom that I had to use the bathroom. After I flushed, I slipped into Tyler’s room, my heart pounding so hard it might have cracked my ribs as I parted the curtain that substituted for his bedroom door. This was Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom type shit. I tiptoed down the two wooden steps into his room, over the motion sensors, under the flying arrows, defeated two reanimated Samurai Warriors, and approached the wicker drawer. I removed that magazine like Indy grabbing a Golden Idol; not an item in the drawer left disturbed. I rolled the magazine up and tucked it in my pants like I was holstering a glock. Once at the car, I slipped the mag into my back pack and returned home.
When I returned home, I hide the porno mag in the old sewing desk I did my homework on. My heart pounding. Catholic educated, I was waiting for God to strike me with a bolt of lightning the next time I got an erection. I kept the magazine for a few months, but I became too paranoid. I lived with my grandparents; my 80 year old grandmother could find the magazine while cleaning my room. My mom could find it, just digging around, being nosy. Any of my four younger brothers could stumble onto the magazine when they came into my room just to make me livid. In the end, I had to throw the magazine out, my poor heart could not take the paranoia any more. This would be the last time I would look at pornography… until we signed up for AOL a year later.
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.