A few weeks ago, I was back home at my parent’s house digging through old photo albums. I’m a few months away from getting married (I know, what an idiot), and I’ve been tasked with finding old photos of me for a slideshow that everyone at my rehearsal dinner can laugh, vomit, and shake their damn heads at. Well, the search was a fruitful on two fronts: 1. The unfortunate soul that is putting this slideshow together has a trove of photos to sort through, and 2. I am now reminded of how shitty 13-year-old me was. I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about how absolutely miserable it had to have been to raise me. Hobbies, clothes, attitude — they all sucked. I was the worst.
I don’t know where to start. I participated in so many trash activities that it’s a fucking miracle I was never sent off to boarding school. First of all, I had a paintball phase that lasted at least three years. Fuck paintball. I don’t know how it is now, because I somehow managed to kick that costly addiction, but a decade ago, that sport/hobby/disaster was a money pit. Like many, I started out with a basic gun, a Spyder I believe, but being the 13-year-old little dickhead that I was, that wasn’t enough. “Sorry, Dad, but I’m not able to keep up with the badasses out there with $1,200 automatic guns.”
I somehow convinced my old man to pick me up the hilariously named “Autococker,” because running around like a douche while getting lit the fuck up by older kids is cool as long as you have a $600 gun in your hand. What a joke. And the actual paintballs? They were like $85 per case. Maybe that’s supposed to last a long time for normal people, but not me. No, I was a volume shooter. As soon the ref sounded his horn, I’d be out there firing shots into the air like goddamn Allen Iverson without the drinking problem (that came later). My team had to have hated me. While they were trying to creep through the woods like Tom Berenger in Sniper, I was rapid firing at nothing. What an asshole.
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As hard as paintball was on my parent’s checkbook, it had nothing on the overall shittiness of my other hobby: skateboarding/rollerblading. Was it cheap? Yes. Aside from the skate pass to Eisenberg’s in Plano that I needed every year, skateboarding was not expensive. But it had to be mentally taxing for them to see their only son dress up like a total clown and grow a major butt-cut. Everything I owned was either from Fast Forward, Gadzooks, or a fucking skate catalogue. JNCOs were part of this unholy package of asshole too. That’s right. I owned a pair of twin-cannon JNCOs that were absolutely absurd on anyone that dare purchase them, let alone a 120-pound little fuckstick with poser Kurt Cobain hair. How nobody picked me up and threw me off a building is beyond me.
You know what might be the worst part of it? I sucked. As a rollerblader, I was somewhat coordinated because I had a hockey background. It was still embarrassing, though. I was too much of a little P to go down the big vert ramps, and the same goes for any wild ideas I might’ve had about “grinding” down large handrails. God, that sounds so lame. As a skateboarder, I was absolute trash. Ollie? Check. Kickflip? Check. Anything else? Fuck no. That’s all I could do. And I’m not talking about hitting rad jumps down flights of stairs. No, I’m talking about in my parent’s driveway with a couple dudes watching and playing POGS. What a joke. My dad had to be thinking, “Jesus, not this again” every time my mother forced him to drive me to a skate park.
And then there was my overall attitude. I was still really into Nirvana, and Green Day’s Dookie was going strong, so, naturally, I was kind of an anti-social little shit. If you asked me to do anything that I didn’t want to, I’d probably roll my eyes and think of a Cobain lyric from In Utero that I incorrectly believed related to me. I was so punchable. I wish someone would’ve punched me.
Okay, thus far I’ve addressed bankrupting my family, and making them feel like failures for raising a turd. Here’s where I took things up a notch: I asked for an electric guitar for Christmas. Yep, I jumped right into the Fender Strat, because acoustic guitars were for pussies. Not only did I need a guitar, but I also just had to have a wah-wah peddle so I could butcher multiple Hendrix songs as well as “Bulls on Parade.” What a travesty. Our house wasn’t giant, so of course mom and dad had to put up with me learning the first few notes of “Come As You Are” at all hours of the night. Oh, and because I was completely void of anything close to an ear for music, I had to have guitar tablature books from all my favorite bands. I swear, I knew the fuck out of about 20 seconds of every song on Rage Against The Machine’s Evil Empire album. I’m sure my dad loved listening to me try to mimic noted unconventional guitar player Tom Morello and his expert level, wild ass guitar riffs when he just wanted to drink a beer and watch Freddy Couples. Damn it, I sucked.
Well, there you go. All things considered, it could have been worse. It’s not like I ever pushed a hotdog cart down a flight of stairs and killed a random dude, and I never got busted crushing whip-its behind the gym. I even picked up golf freshman year of high school. But still, I owned JNCO jeans, and I’ll never be able to live that down..