In vainglorious attempts to hide the past, I have deceived many about my adolescence and downright lied to all census takers. On resumes I’ve used words like “lacrosse,” “house party,” and “rap battle champion.” But the weight of these obfuscations is on me now like a millstone. I need to unburden my wretched soul! Now the truth can be told. I was a teenage hobbledehoy.
In truth! The only “house party” I was associated with starred Kid & Play. This is also where I learned about rap battles – from Kid & Play! That’ll tell you how I grew up. And lacrosse? Shit, I’m still not sure how that sport works. It’s like hockey, right? On grass? Isn’t that just field hockey? What the hell, lacrosse?!
No, I was too busy gangling up my youth for any of these cool activities. I encyclopedia’d until dawn’s early light, and then went about spouting worthless mollusk trivia like some damn beardless Trebek! This was not the way to score cool friends and hot chicks! I was lucky to end the day with a banana flavored Popsicle! And those things are icy grossicles, let’s face it!
So, young hobbledehoy that I was, something needed to be done. You don’t want to be a middle-aged awkward youth (for which there is no name besides lame ass). Somewhere the path had to deviate like a sorry septum. This chain of stupid gawky decision-making needed to be snapped. I needed to reinvent and create a being of personal greatness.
Out the door went the multi-colored suspenders! Aflame became the periodic tables! Subscription to Archie, cancelled! VHS tapes of Jack Horkheimer: Star Hustler, recorded over! Oh, we were remaking the very soul of this backwards, broken dorkface! There would be a community pillar and polished dynamo of an individual where the nerd tower once stood! Or, as the French say, le tour crétin! (Shut up, dumbass!)
And look at me now! Wild success of a man, pots full of chicken and socks of the argyle variety! I’ve got a wife, three kids – none geeks, I’m proud to say! – a Golden Retriever named Hulk, I drive an SUV that could flatten your house, and the only book in my study is I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. I broke out of the bonds of weird, shuffly know-it-all and became plain, vanilla man!
But the ache in my heart at the sight of a library is very real. My boy asked for an erector set the other day and I laughed in his face and told him to go talk to girls, even as my pride in the little jerk was swelling. My daughter joined in rightfully calling him a weiner sandwich, and I wanted to whack her upside her nine-year-old, lipstick-and-rouge face.
I secretly keep a copy of Infinite Jest in my desk at work. Shame is on me like a shroud.
For the sake of future generations, I’ve outwardly renounced all things hobbledehoy, but that doesn’t change the facts. Deep in the breast of this mountain of a tailgating idiot burns the desire to see a Renaissance Faire or kill an afternoon staring at Water Lillies. I caught myself doodling a bowl of fruit the other day and immediately punished myself with The World’s Deadliest Explosions marathon on FX.
I hope my children don’t turn out like me. But secretly, I hope they turn out to be my secret me, but in secret as well. Life’s too hard to go through it as a hobbledehoy, that’s for goddamn sure.