Thursday, November 06, 2008

34 stories for my 34th birthday, installment 4.

13. For story 13, I was going to attempt to narrate a fictionalized and somewhat more detailed version of the first time that my grandfather, David "Buddy" Eaton, raped my mom, Susan. Probably when she was 12 or 13 years old. Or maybe the 10th or 20th time. But I find I don't have the stomach or heart for it today. I still think this story is part of my story. Maybe I'll attempt it later.

14. I used to like to play basketball. There was nothing really like organized sports in the smallish "Christian" school where I did middle school, nor in the "homeschooling cooperative" that turned into when I was in high school. But the guys did get together and play basketball. I enjoyed it, although I was never super good at it. I tended to try to make up for my lack of skill by being as rough as possible. We never had coaches or refs, so it was "call your own fouls", and/or "no blood, no foul." This generally worked reasonably well. One time, though, the pastor's daugher, Tiffany, who was very pretty and very ... saucy--in the sense that she wasn't really having any of the sort of general-putting-down-of-woman that took place in that sect, played with us boys. My memory is somewhat vague, but I believe she got her nose broken, and I believe I might have been somewhat guilty in the incident. Not on purpose, you understand. I wonder if my memory is vague because I felt really really awful? Can't remember. Poor Tiffness, as we used to call her, had, I believe, several incidents with her nose throughout her growing up, and as a teenager, she had to have this horrible surgery where they rebreak your nose and insert a big nasty plastic thing up inside to give it shape while it heals to it heals in the correct shape.

15. Chad Minnick was, I'm thinking, my best friend in high school. I remember lots of things about Chad. He was one year older than me, and was thus somehow part of a group of older boys that i was never really a part of. Back in the late 80's this rather pretty girl named Danica (Hey Danica =) (by the way, you simply must pronounce it "duh NEEK uh") came and joined our tiny "Christian" school. Chad had a terrible crush on her, and he had a pair of New Balance Sneakers that he wore, which have a big "N" on the side. So above the "N" he wrote, with a pen, "I heart" (that is, a little blue heart he drew), and below the "N" he wrote "ikki". So his sneakers read "I heart Nikki". Which I thought amazingly bold of him. Chad was always somewhat more charismatic and well spoken than I was. He became a politician when he grew up. A few years after the I heart Nikki thing, about 6 or 8 of us, all teenagers, went and camped on the shores of Lake Chelan together to celebrate Nikki's birthday. Chad dared me to propose a toast to Nikki at the birthday meal. I remember getting the impression that he was rather egging me on and thinking I'd embarrass myself. (Realize, of course, that we were all teetotallers, and more or less very good boys and girls all round, and there were of course, adult chaperones on the camping trip. So the "toast" was with juice or something. =)) I thought about it a bit and wrote down a little something and acquitted myself excellently, which I think left Chad both delighted and chagrined.

16. My best friend recently is Russell, whose dad was a New York communist, which among many other things makes Russell amazingly kewl. Russell, more than anyone else in my life, has introduced me to the delight of hanging out at a bar and imbibing good beer and just talking. This is something I missed out on altogether in the teetotalling family and teetotalling sect in which I grew up. Russell is the only person I know who has a greater actual grasp on the dark reality of the world than I do. Despite that, he's much more of an optimist than I am. You rock Russell.

17. I voted, in this recent election, for Washington Initiative 1000, which passed with nearly 60% in favor. It changes the law in Washington state in such a way that terminally ill individuals with predicted less than 6 months to live can request and self adiminister lethal medication. It strikes me as simply absurb that we wouldn't allow people to do this. We are kinder to our dogs than we are to ourselves. This is, of course, true about dogs in other ways than just this. My thoughts about suicide were shifted somewhat by a vignette in Helen Dewitt's The Last Samurai, which you must read if you haven't yet. Note: i just attempted to foist a "must" on you. Consider yourself notified. When I was younger, if I had thought about suicide at all, it would have been in terms of "sin". Now I find that "sin" is no longer a useful paradigm for much of anything, for me. However, I never did think of suicide as some sort of ultimate or unforgiveable sin. I have learned over the years that many people think that way--that if you commit suicide you go straight to hell. This strikes me as absurd on muliple levels, but back when I used the "sin" paradigm, it mostly struck me as absurd in that it was ridiculous to think that God couldn't or wouldn't want to love and help and receive a person who had such extreme pain. By the way, I still think suicide is a pretty bad idea for most people, and if you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, I'd love to talk to you before you do it.

Phew--that's 17 of 34. yeehaw.


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