"You've been nailed to the wheel but never really turning
You know you got to want it allllll!"
Stand Up And Shout...Let It Ouuuut!"
Dio "Stand Up And Shout"
It's been awhile since I've posted a "wasted youth" story. In the words of Monty Phython: "Here comes another one!" After graduating 8th grade a bunch of the local heshers played softball in front of the portable classrooms at our old grammar school, Donlon. Everyone would pile their BMX bikes in front of the outside benches and spots of grass near the entryways of the classrooms. Mongooses & Schwinn Stings a plenty and the rarer Redline, Robinsons and Diamond Back - which yours truly raced on the brutal dirt tracks of Livermore and Fremont.
Alongside the BMX bikes were several skateboards a few Hosois, and a scattered Powell-Peralta. Unlike some towns, the skater/BMXer thing wasn't split between punks on skateboards and heshers on BMX bikes. Just like the jock/brain/redneck nexus didn't soley fall unto one clique or the other. For as fucked up as Pleasanton was in the 80's was - it did at least have the benefit of seeing how two-dimensional people could be. Unfortunately, my friends & I experience two dimensions which were: "he's cool, when he's by himself but get him and a bunch of other bakeheads together and they'll act like total dicks." There were a few exceptions to this harsh reality and we tended to gravitate towards those guys. Especially the ones that were equally music geeky as us.
The summer of '84 was a mixed bag for me. I travelled a lot: NYC and D.C. with my dad & sister. L.A. for the Olympics with my uncle Jim. While there was plenty of tourist-y things I did on these trips. Namely, riding my cheap-ass skateboard down the skatepath from Venice to Santa Monica and getting hasseled by the cops for having a skateboard on a "bike and rollerskate only" path. Fuck you pig! I'm possessed to skate!
Also, I took in thte Track & Field Finals and geeked out by filling in all the first, second and third place finishes in my Olympic memorial edition of Runner's World magazine (note: I've never been much of runner, I suck at it). Plus, I took in the usual Venice stuff like breakfast at the awesome place called Barry's, this amazing old-school (even by 80's standards) Mexican eatery that had an old lady hand-making tortillas. NYC & DC was filled with the usual cool stuff of muesums, big ass buildings and memorials. Not to be left out was the massive amounts of record shopping I did in all three places. Ok,I didn't buy a massive anount of records but the 14 year old me was totally floored by the all the classical rock and metal records I indulged in.
One of the best was "Seconds Coming Records" in in NYC's Christopher Street. I bought Iron Maiden's "Piece of Mind". Interestingly Christopher Street was NYC's traditionally gay neighorhood. The notion only crossed my mind since I was on vacation with my dad, who was out of the closet by then but not so much when he visited right-wing, hypocritical 'burgs like Pleasanton. In retrospect, it seems like metal has had a overlap with my interaction with a lot of gay/lesbian people. Buying 'Maiden records on Christopher Street and of course the legendary Record Vault was on Polk Street in S.F. which all the homophobes knew was "fag central". (I always thought it was Castro St. but I suspect I would've been beat up for even making such a clarification. I'm sure they would've said I was a "total fag" for even knowing it).
Later in the summer, I dealt with a few random instances of getting high from local tough guy & Ritchie White lookalike, Jason Kuntzer. Jason shared some of his weed that summer before the pick up softball games. Jason suprisingly was often more cool to me than not. His rival toughguy, James Rogers was another story and a total fucktard. I was slowly getting used taking bong hits and now even moved on to smoking out of shoddily assembled pipes. The kind that were clandestinely put together in woodshop classes. Somehow the weed made me feel really cocky, not an emotion I experienced then - especially being both rather shy and also only really comfortable in front of 1-2 people at this time. I played outfield with my now tattered 6th grade-era baseball mitt. A high but easy fly popped up in my direction and I couldn't get a hold of it what so over. A bunch of groans and screams of "you suuuck!" came in my direction. I yelled out "just wait...til uh...next time, fuckers!" Luckily, the next batter hit a piddly 'lil grounder to 1st and was out instantly.
I was due up 4th in the line up. They figured the first 3 or so guys could get on base and by that point they didn't give a shit what happened to me. I took the first two strikes and swung at it like Charlie Brown in the Peanut cartoons, all hyperexteded arms and legs. Even swinging around so hard I wacked my self in the fucking knee. Another two innings later I let the first pitch go by, swung at the next and was told by Marc Roble (an asshole hesher dude who I used to race BMX with) "you ain't gonna get shit, you gump!" I yelled out "fuck off Marc, you pussy - just you wait I'm gonna clobber this one down yer fuggin' throat." I was certain to take the next train to Bangkok or at least a victorious trip around the bases. Next pitch - foul tip and uproarious laughter from Roble and this fellow dickweeed insfielders. Next and final pitch "wiff!" Marc: "You suck! Who's the pussy now? Huh?" I came close to going after him but he & I already had a confrontation a few months before that at school. Plus, I didn't wanna repeat of him sluggin' me in the jaw. Another regrettable trip in getting stoned in the boring as realm of mid-summer Pleasanton. Blazing sun, anger, social anxiety + plus lots of weed = a bad mix. Arrgh!