Tokyo Damage Report

IT WAS A GOOD DAY, (CIRCA 4 TH GRADE, 1978)

 

After school, leap off the bus and tear-ass home.

Get my snack on — Graham-cracker-and-peanut-butter-sandwitches, and to drink? Tang dissolved in milk!

Kick the soccer ball up the steep hill and it would roll back down. . . because I Lived in the countryside, so there weren’t any other kids to play with. Or juggle the soccer ball like Pele, using knees and shins too. Kept telling myself if I could get to 100 then I would humiliate the school bully by winning the imaginary “soccer ball juggling championship”. Eventually get bored and kick it as high as I could, down towards my house, watching the huge arc the ball made, seeming to go even higher compared to the steep downhill grade of the hill, my most spectacular non-imaginary display of 9 year old power.

Then, tv ? captain cosmic, goldar and silvar, ultraman, captain scarlett, with chocolate chip cookies in the mix or better yet, tangerine sherbet (don’t spoil your dinner!)

Then put on my space helmet and tear-ass around the outside of the house with a ray-gun playing space. Used to make my own custom ray-guns out of Lego.

Toys ? shogun warriors, micronauts! Shoguns were totally expensive, but micronauts were a total bargain at k-mart, and, compared to GI Joes, micronauts had hella more poses you could do, plus their comic book was way better also. Another fun game was,“Dig a hole and fill it with water from the hose.” The rocky volcanic terrain around the house made hole-digging problematic but it was ideal for Green army men battles!!

Chores ? weeding in my dad’s huge garden, getting a quarter for every hefty-bag full of leaves I raked up, and watering mom’s big collection of indoor plants.

Then, dinner. Fuck no I am not going to eat my vegetables. Fine then, maybe I WILL stay here all night until I am done. M*A*S*H is a rerun anyway.

After dinner, bath. Hella tiny toy boats and The Big Battleship with moveable gun turrets. When I get out it is hella cold so I run wildly up to my room and sit in the center of the dark room with linoleum floors and I am on a tiny sun-shaped knit rug naked basking in the intimate red glow of the space-heater. My body curled around it for warmth, like a second woumb. That’s what i got instead of hugs!

Maybe read the monster manual or some x-men.

Then, bed. Insomnia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Lying down, for hours every night, rolling my head back and forth on the pillow, and singing to myself making up melodies. Dr. don rose on KFRC. “Why dr. don, you son-of-a-(BEEP)!”

Radio right next to the bed, turned on as low as it will go, to test my ears.

One whole side of my room was windows, so every morning I would wake up to light streaming in colored bright golden by the curtains. Waste most of the before-school time in front of the space-heater again, then quickly tear around getting my breakfast on and brushing my teeth with a hysterical, violent ferocity. go walk to the school bus. Lived in the countryside so I’d have to walk like 20 minutes to get to the bus stop. All the neighborhod kids standing in a group and mercilessly scrutinizing whoever showed up next. That sucked. Ride the bus to school, hoping the bullies wouldn’t pick on me. Bus driver all playing top 40 radio ? paul maccartney and wings, dancing queen, and the song “my my miss american pie” which seemed to be in hourly rotation for every single day of my elementary school bus-rides. I tended to gravitate to the more hard-rocking stuff such as journey and foreigner.

At school, recess with achilles bronnemann, a first-generation swiss immigrant with a vast collection of smurfs and a yacht, and dana and eric moes. Dana was a hyperintelligent kid from a huge family of mostly adopted refugee and handicapped kids, headed by his biological computer-programmer parents. Eric was short, chubby and the quintissential spaz whose body seemed to naturally and constantly generate the kind of sugar high that most of us only got from eating froot loops. Achilles and dana would be the core of the group, and play eric off against me, alternately including one of us and excluding the other for their amusement. We would all sit and draw proto-comics of disembodied eyeballs, whoever got the muscles right was the coolest ? and of hyperviolent hamsters; our attempt to both embrace and reject the cuteness which we were in the process of outgrowing.

At recess ? four square! No liners, no take-overs, and no tea-parties which were a problem mostly when girls got in the mix. Or, kick the soccer ball to your friends, which would only last until one of the bullies asked to see the ball “for a second” and then kicked it as hard as he could in the opposite direction. Somehow we never thought to team up on him even though there was like 3 or 4 of us. Then there was “let’s play space” on the jungle gym. . . climbing to the top and imagining it like the prow of a literal space Ship, cruising at great speed through the eternal void, me staring bravely ahead.

In class, always getting busted for drawing while the teacher was talking. I would always offer the same defense ? “I can listen and draw at the same time!” math, which was ok. I ruled the times tables but absolutely hated long division. My teachers said I did it the baby way and I had to learn to do it the grown-up way, although after graduating high school I never once long-divided. I remember in 6 th grade I read the whole dante’s inferno, loving the satanic violence and gustav dore’s insanely detailed illustrations. Skipped the footnotes, though. Tried purgatory and gave up ? not enough blood. As for heaven, forget it. My teacher asked me what I was reading, expecting me to say like “my little pony” or something. I said, dante’s inferno. She looked me right in the eye and said, “No you are not.” Just like that, end of discussion.

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