Sunday, November 21, 2010


Summer Union or Some Reunion

After reconnecting with an old friend on facebook, a snippet of my childhood flooded into my mind, and I had to record it on paper. And since my high school reunion is coming up, it seemed appropriate to share...

In the seventh grade I had a crush on this guy named Jared Michaels. He had a mushroom haircut, parted in the middle, and his hair smelled like Pert Plus for kids, unless he was wearing cologne that day. He never knew I liked him although we had frequent conversations about relationships and sex. Of course, they were one way conversations and often involved him calling me a faggot and professing who I wanted to have relations with. I could have cleared up the rumors by expressing how I felt, but he was dating this tall muscular girl who could definitely beat me up, so instead, I took the heat and rolled my eyes as often as needed.

One apathetic day in Social Studies class, we were paired to present a radio broadcast about the historical events of Russia (Don't ask when. I only remember it was about Russia, because we thought it would be clever to have a vodka commercial in between our segments.) I volunteered to bring in my dad's tape recorder and a blank tape into school the next day, so we could get our project done during our shared study hall, although, I would have preferred to meet off school grounds.

I went home and found a tape that was unmarked and could be blank, but I was determined to play it through to ensure I wouldn't be embarrassed later. Knowing my mom's infatuation with Anita Baker at the time, it was quite possible. The first side was blank, and I flipped the radio to Kiss 108 for homework-doing inspiration while the tape rewound. During some pre-algebra problems, the drum solo kicked in through my Sony boom box, and my heart sunk into my chest and shuttered. In an impulsive desperation, I lunged to the record/play buttons just in time for Always by Bon Jovi to be captured on my cassette tape. I spent the night dreaming of Jared Michaels with a soundtrack.

The next morning, knowing how cool Bon Jovi was, I thought I would score some reputation points if Jared knew I listened to quality pop music, not just Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana, which would suggest that I was not only a "faggot" but also a "freak". So, I grabbed the tape and conducted a plan that would reveal my hip taste in music.

We met up during study hall, and I casually mentioned how I may have recorded Bon Jovi on one side of the tape. he interrupted, "I love Bon Jovi. Is it Always?" I nodded. He then insisted we hear it first before recording over it.

So, I pushed my bitten thumb nail into the play button and swallowed as that familiar drum solo started again. We looked at each other the entire duration of the song as we sat in the 7th grade hallway. I secretly wanted the song to play in an endless loop that would last forever. We had a moment, an understanding, the easiest five minutes and fifty-four seconds of my middle school career. When the song ended, we mutually decided that a song this amazing shouldn't be recorded over, so we recorded our radio broadcast on the opposite side of the tape.

Moments before class, students exclaimed how lucky I was to be working with Jared on a project and I agreed. During our presentation, we stood proudly in front of the classroom to show off our radio broadcast of Russia and Russian products to sell during commercial breaks. The end of our presentation left with an awkward silence, just as I remembered that I never checked this side of the tape to determine whether or not something had been previously recorded. I ran to the tape recorder to press stop, but it was too late. Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal was already in mid-song. The class burst out into laughter and Jared exclaimed, "It's her tape." My moment of popularity was over.