At every school there has always existed the expanse separating the cool kids from the losers. The dividing wall constructed from perfect DNA and wealthy parents, segregating the Rob Lowes and Tom Cruises of the world from the pond scum. I was wedged firmly in the latter camp, with nary a chance of ever migrating to the former.
I’ll be brutally honest: church in Bolivia was never any fun at all. Mum & Dad tried a few different churches over the years with ever loftier heights of boredom and awkwardness. Making things more difficult, in the beginning we weren’t speaking Spanish, like everyone else. Also, we weren’t dark-skinned and attractive, like everyone else.
Midway through highschool we caught whiff of rumours in the wind of another 2 boys joining the school after the summer break. They were coming down from hellish Florida to idyllic Cochabamba to stay with their relatives and live the opulent lifestyle afforded to them by their DNA. This was exciting.
Thursdays were always Mum & Dad’s special day to spend with the child protection lady, so as a kid I spent the afternoons at Joel’s playing with his Micro Machines™. I don’t think we ever ended up really playing with the toys at all. We only ever poured the whole collection onto the floor and came up with new and marvelous ways of divying up the spoils for everyone in attendance.
A while back I wrote about Joel and I racing his Honda motorcycle against my (event winning) BMX. I mentioned there was only one other time when I’d ridden that fast. Now is the time when we take the time to look at that time. I hope you have time… 0 Many years after my astonishing victory against Joel, during my high school internment, classmate Chris and I used to borrow his crazy uncle’s rusty old mountain bikes and cycle around the city.
Since neither set of our parents were really into the whole ‘looking out for you’ deal, Joel & I mostly just roamed free around the countryside growing up, chatting to homeless people and playing in filthy, dark alleyways whilst child slave traders looked on with a gleam in their eye, dreaming of thumbing through reams of greenbacks.
With the 20/20 vision that the rose-coloured glasses of hindsight provide, history can be boiled down to more clichés and monumental confrontations for the most part. Clashes replete with victors and losers. The making and breaking of civilizations. Bush V Gore, The Romans V Everyone, Napoleon V debilitating shortness, the American Public V the chance at decent healthcare… The list goes on.
Years after my damaging MK experiences I spent much of my holidays in Sydney convalescing with my cousins. They lived near the beach, which was a plus. We were all lazy and never actually went to the beach, which was a minus. After dinner out one night we were walking home and happened upon a 2-foot long Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon in one of the salt water 25-mitre swimming pools built along the shore.
Remember when you’re a kid, and there’s always some older guys at your school that you look up to? Not just because you were 2ft nothing. But you know the ones. The embodiment of everything you wanted to be? Purveyors of coolness and suave-erity?* Despite appearances, being fully aware of the amazing mullet, John and Walter, sadly, were not those guys.