Centre of Attention

Aug 26 2012

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ABaum: I sat at a table. I was a happy young boy at this table. Happy birthday, birthday girl. “You can’t. You’re a boy. Boys play with boys and girls play with girls.” Segregation. Heartless bitches. I never went back to that table.

Snarkster: I have always been a terrible athlete. Anything that requires co-ordination is not where my strengths lie. In high school, all of my friends were on the soccer team, and the year before they had gone on this big overnight soccer trip that sounded like the funnest thing ever. Even though I was not very good at it, I sort of enjoyed soccer, and all my friends encouraged me to sign up for the team. I was repetitively told that getting on the team was all about the effort you put in, not how good you were, and that it was about fun and not too competitive. I really wanted to go on the trip with all my friends, so I signed up. Tryouts were a couple weeks long, I went to every one, all the practices, put in my best effort! When they posted the list of who made the team, my name was not on it. People who were more skilled but had only shown up to half the tryouts did make the team. I felt betrayed by all this talk of “we care about effort and commitment more than skill”, but I also felt like it was reality. The worst part to me was that I wouldn’t get to go on the trip. I moved on with my life! Then about two weeks later, a couple of my friends were like “hey, could you come to the mini-gym with us?” I reluctantly followed, not knowing why I was going there. When I opened the door, I saw the entire soccer team sitting there. Someone made a speech about how the team had decided to cut their non-committed members who weren’t showing up to practice, and then they asked me if I would like to join the team. Everyone was staring at me. This was horrible. Then one of my friends was like “yes you would!” and I just went along with it. I felt the pressure of being the centre of attention, and I just couldn’t muster of the courage to say no. So I went on to go to every practice, sit on the sideline for 90% of every home game, and never get to go to any away games because there wasn’t enough room on the bus. And to top it all off, there was no big overnight trip that year.

Larrybrains: I was drunk at a bowling alley and I was singing My Humps by Black Eyed Peas and dancing while holding two 5 pin bowling balls up to my chest pretending they were my boobies.

Pat:When I was in grade 3 my Dad took my brother, sister, mother, grandmother, Aunt Linda, Cousin John and myself on an epic road trip to Disneyland. The night before we left, Dad got us all stoked-up by showing “National Lampoons Vacation”. The next morning, all 8 of us packed into the Astro Van and embarked on a 4 day journey straight south to sunny Florida.

America is a truly fascinating place, and I must say that South of the Border was the most memorable part of the entire trip. South of the Border is a truck stop in South Carolina that has evolved into the most elaborate and spectacular tourist trap this world has ever seen. For a few hours leading up to the big stop, motorists will pass hundreds of massive 3 dimensional billboards advertising this tourist/trucker haven. At one point, there is a billboard every 50 feet for about 20 miles. South of the Border itself is comprised of a service station, motel, casino, kids play land, a dozen gift shops, and thousands of shiny, blinking, waving, plastic and plywood Mexican caricatures wearing their big yellow sombreros.

For an 8 year, old this was a dream come true. My memories of South of the Border are much more vivid and exciting than Disney World and Epcot Center combined. The only thing in the world cooler then visiting South of the Border Truck Stop would be to actually sleep at South of the Border Truck Stop Motel. However, as all 8 year olds know, parents only take kids on vacations so they can show them cool stuff and then crush their dreams. “sorry buddy we gotta keep goin, don’t worry, there’s lots of fun stuff in Florida”

After a few days of Space Mountain and floating around the hotel pool on a plastic Shamoo, I quickly forgave my parents for their lack of culture and appreciation of the world’s coolest theme-motel. Florida wasn’t so bad after all. Yeah… maybe they were right; skipping South of the Border Motel in exchange for an extra night in Florida was probably worth it. Little did I know, I was about to have my cake and eat it too.

Just before re-packing our extended family into the van and heading back north, we decided to stop for a chili dog. Within hours, I was sicker than I had ever been in my entire life. The next 3 days of travel was probably the vilest and most dreadful time my family has ever spent. I was an 8 year old machine that did nothing but spew toxic waste. The smell was absolutely atrocious. That putrid, curdling stinch of vomit was causing everyone in the van to gag. We had all seen “Stand by Me” and understood the implications of chain reaction vomiting. Although my dad is a firm believer in driving for at least 16 hours a time, that night he had no choice but to turn in early. By 5 O’clock we were checked in to South of the Border Motel. Sometimes God acts in mysterious ways.

South of the Border motel was everything I had imagined; a rustic-looking wooden door, adobe windows, thick dark stained rafters protruding from stucco walls. There were real Mexican blankets on the bed. A smiling Mexican sat above our window shining beautiful yellow light across the bed.

I had the place covered in liquid shit and vomit within 2 minutes. I have never shat and puked so much in my entire life. Water came up faster then it went down. Pepto Bismol was just pink foam sprayed across brown carpet. The continuous retching and heaving was unbearable. I was just a ruined little man lying on a piss-stained, tile floor begging for death.

A few days later the food poisoning had subsided. I still couldn’t consume anything; however, orange juice was wonderful. Orange juice killed the taste of stomach acid, relieved the hunger, and gave me much needed energy with every cool tasty gulp. For a day straight I did nothing but sit in a van and drink liters of orange juice. On day 3 we stopped in at a true American truck stop for a true American breakfast complete with flapjacks, and grits. I played it safe and just sat quietly sipping my orange juice. The poisoning was gone. I was content. My family was content. It was a beautiful morning in truck stop America.

Dad paid the bill and we got up to leave. I made it exactly half way across the restaurant when my stomach changed its mind and decided, “No, I will not accept orange juice.” In one giant, powerful heave, I threw up several liters of bright orange juice in the center of the restaurant floor. 100 % pure Florida orange juice. There was no wrenching or yakking. Just a smooth constant flow of pure orange juice. The truckers stopped eating. The waitress stopped serving. The cooks stopped cooking. Time stopped.

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4 Responses to Centre of Attention

  1. Magic Face says:

    That is a tragic and then uplifting and then more tragic story snarkster. The world is a cruel, unusual and upside down place.

  2. Muhtick says:

    Around grade 8 I decided that team sports are full of shit….unlike me, so i quit.

  3. francine says:

    What should be the centre of attention is this collage – it is great!

  4. keyboard says no but i say yes says:

    i like the starfish.

    i like organized sports like baseball and ulti. hated floor hockey, used to slash at other kids in the class just so i could sit out the game.

    snarkster that sounds like a horrible experience.

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