so when I’m gone, you’ll know what I did in high school

I’m drinking tea and watching “Wag the Dog.” truth is, I just feel like writing.

“I want you to want me” by Cheap Trick. how fitting. anyway, the live version, I think it’s in Japan. reminds me of the back of Jeff Green’s Oldsmobile on the way to play paintball in high school. Jeff’s back seat was full of garbage. lots of empty Milk Chugs.
I sucked at paintball. I can’t remember ever actually shooting anyone. but I was shot. constantly.
thing is, you need dough to play paintball. those guns cost money, and you have to work to keep them up, clean them regularly. improve it. buy new barrels and tanks and hoppers and triggers and all sorts of bullshit, and I never had any money. I bought a gun with some cash I saved up from my after-school job, but it was a cut-rate one and that was about all I could afford.
Jeff had dough, though. his dad owned the biggest towing service in Valparaiso, which kept Jeff flush. hs gun was nitrogen-powered. nitrogen, for fuck’s sake. it was called an Autococker, which sounds awfully gay now that I think about it. the Autococker was like a tiny-machine gun and it was perfect for Jeff. he’s a big person, doesn’t move very well. he could just stake out a place on the field and hammer away from a distance. 
anyway. Jeff now has two kids and manages a Buffalo Wild Wings in Lake County, I believe. I held his first daughter at a kegger in Bloomington once. I remember feeling bad about that.

“blackbird,” the Beatles. Indianapolis, a July evening. on my way home.

my job in high school. I worked at a movie theater, poorly, with Smith, who got me the job. and later, with Josh, who I initially didn’t like cause I loaned him a Fu Manchu album and he gave it back to me with the jewel case cracked. but we’ve grown past that. 
I was an usher, which is what you did if the theater manager thought you were too stupid to work behind the concession stand. I swept the floor, cleaned theaters. I don’t know why I was so bad at that job; it was pretty straightforward. just a bunch of menial tasks for me to do, but I fucked off constantly. I would float theaters – meaning, go into a theater once the movie’s begun, make sure no one’s causing a ruckus, and check to make sure the emergency exit was closed – and instead of doing it quickly, I’d sit down in the back for about twenty minutes and watch whatever was on. doing this, I’ve seen “Meet the Parents” all the way through in fifteen-minute segments. 
I fell asleep once, was in there for a solid hour. I remember our boss, Dixie, was pissed.  which reminds me.

the three adults who worked there, were memorable enough to actually recount. there was Dixie the manager, who was about five and a half feet tall and 300 lbs. she drove a minivan, and would send one of her lackeys out to Burger King for her daily lunchtime Whopper. cut in halves. no tomatoes, I think.
there was JD, the projectionist. being a projectionist is a great job if you shun daylight and human contact. insomniacs are built for this work. you’d never see JD outside of the projection room upstairs. the projection room was as long as the theater, housed all of the reels, and when you got all of the machines films running, that place was deafening.
as it was a projectionist’s booth, it was always dark. no lights. maybe a reading lamp here and there, but that’s about it. JD had an upholstered chair up there where he would chill when he wasn’t changing reels, but I never saw him using it. I remember I’d come across it, and think, signs of life. someone has been here. like I was on safari, hunting dangerous game. I didn’t like that room.
also, JD smoked a lot of reefer on the roof. so I’m told.
Jerry, the part-time security guard. my memory of this dude is a little spotty. he had to have been an ex-cop or something. he only worked on Friday nights as crowd control, which was ridiculous, cause he was never really needed; I mean, it was Valparaiso, for god’s sake. what the hell was going to happen?
he had a full beard, wore a security guard’s uniform, was always very serious, and carried a loaded gun on his hip. I believe he owned a waterbed store in Merrillville. which sounds about right.

“heard it through the grapevine” by CCR. Nebraska highway, summertime, at night. think no cars and wide-open spaces.

13 comments so far

  1. Eric on

    i enjoy your new style of reminiscing, the cinema story is a nice one, reminds me of what i thought america was when i was younger

  2. ashley on

    why would you listen to “I heard through the grapevine” by anyone OTHER than Marvin Gaye? That’s all I want to know.

  3. matt on

    same song, different feel.

  4. Dixie's Lackey on

    and she never even hooked me with any fries

  5. Anonymous on

    I remember coming in stoned almost all the time and talking with the girl that was a manager for a little while that had a baby and lived in portage and that offered to let me hang out at her place whenever i wanted. i also remember disliking smith immediately. proof that you should never second-guess those blink of an eye instincts.

  6. Smith on

    you loved me at first sight. don’t deny it.

  7. Anonymous on

    I must cut back on checking the blog so much. Last night I had a dream that me, Matty, Mike Smith and Josh had a reunion in Bloomington. Mike looked fantastic.

  8. Anonymous on

    he always does

  9. Anonymous on

    dude, on imdb there is a trailer for a movie called doomsday. the flick looks very (i pause to reference your beloved movie) road warrior-ish. the presmise is just as ridiculous i mean almost as awesome as mel gibson fighting in a post-apocalyptic world.

    wait, that’s impossible.

    would i sound like more of an asshole if i went by j.p. martin when signing my name?

  10. Smith on

    Yes. But then again, everything you do makes you sound like more of an asshole so what do you have to lose?

    looked fantastic? ah shucks…. you shouldn’t have

  11. matt on

    well, we certainly are verbose tonight.

    dude, I watched that trailer. it looks awful.

  12. Anonymous on

    yeah…i mean c’mon. that’s kind of its appeal. it’s why i’m anxiously awaiting a v. p requieum on dvd.

  13. matt on

    yeah. that’s gonna be sick.

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