Six-Year-Old Heroism - Reconditioning Batteries

Once when I was six years old, I was in the back seat of my mom's blue Toyota Corolla sedan as she ran errands. It was an overcast day, and I held one of my airplane Transformer toys up to the window and pretended it was flying.

Mom pulled into a bank, locking the doors and leaving me strapped in the back seat so she could run in, make a transaction and leave.

"I'll be just a couple minutes, Mike. OK?"

I dropped my toy on the seat. "But Mom -- "

"And after that" she said cutting me off, "I'll drop you off at your friend's house to play."

"No mom, you're in a handicapped spot!"

We both looked forward through the windshield, and sure enough, there was a reflective metal handicapped parking only sign attached to a concrete stanchion in front of the space.

"Eh, I'm already parked. Don't worry about it. I'll only be a minute or two." Before I could voice my disapproval of her plan, the driver's side door shut, the keys jingled outside the door and the locks bolted down in unison shortly after.

Gripped by anxiety, I watched her disappear through the bank's glass doors, and then the burden of our situation descended on me all at once. At some point before this incident took place, I had deduced that handicapped spaces were for mentally challenge people, as if they were all out driving cars around town with us normal folks.

*Oh man, this is bad. This is REAL bad. We're in a handicapped spot and we're not handicapped at all. We're really healthy and smart. What if a cop walks by and sees us here? This is against the law. We're criminals. He'll haul us both into jail for life. I can't let that happen. I have to take matters into my own hands here. I need to do it for both of us.*

After much internal conflict, I finally decided the ONLY WAY to ensure our freedom from the American legal system would be for me to pretend I was retarded until Mom got back to the car.

As a six year old boy, I knew very little about retarded people, so I combined several examples of special needs children who went to my elementary school, and used them as inspiration to create an improvisational fruit salad of retarded. I rolled my eyes back in my head and attempted to bite my own ear off as I repeatedly slammed both of my fists into my chest, attempting the classic "reap" motion. I made a conscious effort to conjure excessive saliva in my mouth, and let it cascade down my chin and dribble onto the front of my shirt.

A man in a blue and yellow striped polo shirt exited the bank and walked by my car, glancing at the entity in the back seat. Fearing he would contact the police and send my mother to some unforgiving Russian gulag, I turned my performance up a notch. *It's showtime, Mike.* I continued everything else, but added the stomping my feet on the floor of the car and a rhythmic grunt that can only be described as a car with alternator problems trying to start and a pelican's mating call. "REHHHH. REHHHH. REHHHH."

The man quickly averted his gaze, picked up his pace and half ran/half walked to his car in the parking lot. I breathed a sigh of relief. *Good. That was good. You're getting the hang of -- *

My thoughts broke off as a woman in a grey business suit with overly padded shoulders and her hair in a bun stepped through the doors of the bank and advanced toward our blue Corolla. My heart began to race. As she got closer, I panicked and over-amplified my acting. My tongue lolled out of my mouth like a panting collie as I smeared the saliva still dripping from my chin (you'd be surprised at how hard it is to will enough spit into your mouth to do this) all over the right-rear passenger window. "REHHHH. REHHHH. REHHHH" was replaced with a garbled Gerber Baby cooing mixed with an inquisitive inflection, as if I was trying to ask the woman a question with a mouth full of Legos. "AHHHHH AHHHHHGGHHHHH?! AHHHHH AHHHHHGGHHHHH?!"

The business woman turned to the car, saw the saliva drenched whirlwind spinning out of control in the unsupervised interior of Mom's car, and instead of awkwardly fleeing like the last adult, decided to wave to me.

"Hello, little guy!" She smiled and looked me right in the eye, freezing my performance in its tracks. It was everything I feared the minute I realized where Mom parked. This woman was going to realize I wasn't actually retarded, and Mom and I would be in handcuffs going to prison ten minutes after that. That's how it worked, right? *I can't let that happen. I can't let that happen. I can't -- *

"AAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOGGGGGGGGAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!" Almost as if my body took over the control panels that ran my motor skills when my brain cut out, I bellowed my impression of an old-timey car horn and waved back, smearing more saliva on the window, and followed it up with a toothy, crooked smile.

Just as her smile widened and I realized I'd saved the day again, I heard the jingle of Mom's keys and the clump of the driver's door opening.

"MICHAEL, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!" She had left her perfectly normal son in the back seat of her car for four minutes, and came back to a flailing, drool saturated special needs child having some kind of heart-to-heart with a Good Samaritan from the back seat of her car.




Mom sighed, started the car and began backing out of the parking spot. The woman in the business suit, locked into position by conflicting feelings of confusion, anger and disbelief, stood there and watched us drive away.

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Code Brown Mentality -

I worked at a local water park every summer for seven years. During those years I saw my fair share of people moving their bowels in public. When this happened, it was referred to by employees as a "code brown" (this particular water park is where that term originates from). I've watched teenagers laugh as they purposefully shit in the wave pool, adults purposefully shit in public picnic areas because they were too lazy to walk to the bathroom and parents drag toddlers with blatantly full diapers into shallow play areas, only for said diaper to explode on contact with water like a fecal pinata. Code browns were as plentiful as they were simultaneously mystifying, depressing and amusing.

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Exploring The Anti-Fiction Reader, and Why I'm Not Dead - July 11, 2013

I was at a party recently, and at that party I got into a conversation about literature with someone. He asked me what I read, to which I responded "pretty much everything". I've found that a "pretty much everything" response is bullshit 99% of the time, especially if you're talking about what kind of music you listen to, but it's the absolute truth when it comes to my reading preferences. I'm usually in the middle of seven or eight books at any given time, switching from one to another depending on my mood that day. I haven't listened to music while in the car or out walking the dog for over four years because I have an audio book playing at all times. The topics range from fiction to memoir to reference to study manuals to text books to self-help to graphic novels and beyond. I've been an equal opportunity book slayer for as long as I can remember.

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Road Rage - August 6, 2012

I was just at the drive though ATM of my credit union, and I noticed I had been waiting in line far too long. I look at the newer model Hyundai in front of me that is parked next to the ATM, and the driver, a middle aged man with a button down shirt and glasses, is just sitting there reading his receipt like it was a novel. I wait another minute or so because I'm fairly patient when it comes to things like that (I space out all the time), and when he didn't budge, I tapped my steering wheel as to give a little chirp of the horn instead of a blaring "fuck you" horn and causing an altercation my pre-coffee sensibilities just weren't ready for.

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Update - August 31, 2009

Life is great. I live with my amazing and thoroughly supportive girlfriend in a beautiful condo which we're going to buy within the next few months, I have an awesome job that allows me time to pursue writing and I have a lunatic smooth coat collie named Rodney that licks my face every morning and shows me how good he is at chewing his toys. I'm in the best shape of my life, running half marathons and actually paying attention what kind of food I shove in my face. My bad credit is slowly being whittled down, I'm no longer having to decide whether I'm going to eat or go to the bar and I rarely go without much of anything. My best friends in the world all live close to me and I see them all regularly. I look at myself now and am amazed at how much I've grown personally over the last five years. The five-night-a-week boozing, fucking and fighting KungFu Mike of five years past definitely didn't see this coming.

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Wanna be a Baller...Shock Collar - April 20, 2009

My girlfriend and I just moved into a condo, and held a housewarming party to celebrate with our friends and family. I was celebrating extra-hard, mostly because I'm finally living somewhere that doesn't smell like a hollowed out horse carcass baking in the desert sun, and decided it would be a good idea to test our puppy's new bark control collar on myself. It took a while for me to figure out that barking wouldn't set the collar off, but a low-level DMX-esque growl would do just right. Luckily, my friend Teddy just picked up a Blackberry and decided to use its camcorder function, albeit late enough that I was forced to electrocute myself twice.

Also, I'm working on a new story for you guys and I should have it up sooner than later. Sorry for being a phantom for so long.

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I'm Not Dead - January 5, 2009

Hello there, Internet Land. I just wanted to check in with you to let you know I have not been kidnapped by Hamas or murdered by some jealous boyfriend. I know a lot of people out there just now lost a bunch of money in their respective "KungFu Mike death pools", and I apologize.

I've been working hard on the book the past few months and I just started a new position that allows me to work strictly from home and on my own schedule, which is going to facilitate my writing schedule in a very positive way. Hopefully I'll have so much time on my hands that I'll be able to pump out some new entries for you guys. I have a list of half sketched-out stories that I'd love to put up here.

One thing that I think about a lot while I'm writing this book is about its believability. The closer I get to finishing everything, the more I'm afraid that my life has been so tragic and ridiculous and self-mutilated that people who don't know me will refuse to believe any of it when the book is done. I mean, I have plenty of people I know in real life who will always vouch for its credibility and I'm not going to get James Frey'd out of existence, but it's still something I worry about because I always feel irrationally guilty about shit. It's the same reason I can't walk out of a store without buying something. I'm worried that someone will think I'm shoplifting so I'll buy a pack of gum, even though I don't look suspicious and I don't have any ill gotten merchandise stuffed in my boxer briefs. I watch Curb Your Enthusiasm and I almost have to change the channel every time Larry David makes a mess out of things. There's an evil gnome in my brain that prods whatever lobe that evokes guilt at strange intervals, and I am slave to it. I'd delve into that further, but that would spoil a bit of the book for you.

I started writing this entry when I was sober, but then my friend called me and I went to the bar for a few hours. Just keep harassing me about those new entries so I don't forget.

Something about this entry doesn't feel right. Cunt. Fuck. Fireworks. Tits. Monster trucks. Dead people. Blowjobs.

There we go.

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