Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Wayback Machine Part 1

The last post about my junior high school romantic misadventures went over pretty well, so why not try another one?  I know I started with Part 2 last time and I’m following that with Part 1… Call me Quentin Blogentino.

All right, time to fire up the Wayback Machine!
“Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 7th grade, Woodward Park Junior High School, 1974.”

The Situation: 
I’m just back from lunch and sitting in the teacher’s chair in the front of the classroom, waiting for Ohio History class to start.  Other students are just kind of milling about.  Brenda walks up and sits on the arm of the chair and begins fiddling with my hair.  She’s never done anything like that before, so my heart is beating a mile a minute. 

See, I’m totally sweet on Brenda.  She’s a very cute girl with glossy shoulder length black hair and big blue eyes.  We’re kind of friends, in that she’s a girl and she talks to me.  She leans close and seductively says, “Hiiiiiii.” (The inflection kind of goes up in the middle.) (OK, that’s what passes for seductive when one is in 7th grade and it’s 1974.)  Anyway, I’m like a deer in headlights…afraid of other people seeing what’s happening, afraid of saying the wrong thing, afraid of being made fun of. 

I respond by kind of mimicking her…”Hiiiiiii”. 

She recoils looking hurt, and says, “You don’t even know how to flirt!”  She stands up and stomps away. 

Sighhhhhh.

Take 2:
She’s playing with my hair, and says, “Hiiiiiii”.  I look up and say, “Y’know, I think you’ve got the most incredible blue eyes I’ve ever seen.”  Then I smile up at her.  If she’s buying it, I reach up and brush her bangs to the side of her face and cup my hand along the side of her cheek and jaw line.  If I’ve been reading her right, she should be swooning right about this time.  (Remember, 7th grade.)  I have no idea what comes next.  7th graders don’t just ask each other out on dates.  (OK, maybe they do now.)  Maybe I suggest we meet sometime at the mall, or roller rink.  But either way, I walk away with my dignity intact and a possible girlfriend.  In 1974, that entailed walking in the hallway holding hands, or going on the moonlight skate at the roller rink.  All I really had to do was to show a bit of interest along with some kind of composure and we would have been Jr. High sweethearts. 

Sighhhhhh.

Analysis:
If I’d made the right move, I believe she would have been my first girlfriend.  Unfortunately, I was a moron about such things.  She lost so much respect for me; I don’t think we hardly ever talked again until we were in 9th grade.  I do know she always thought I was cute.  She wrote as much in my 9th grade yearbook.  To wit:

“Bluz, You’ve really changed since 7th grade, but it’s been for the better.  You were cute to start with, and that’s one thing that hasn’t changed.  Good luck in all you do.  You’ll accomplish a lot.  It’s clear to see that you’ll acquire everything you want.  Love, Brenda ‘79”

I thought she was really worldly for using our graduation year, 5 years in advance.

Also, 9th grade was the year that in music class, near the end of the year, she asked if she could sign my pants.  (I have no idea where that came from.)  So on the knee of my pants, she writes in ballpoint pen, “Brenda was here” and draws an arrow all the way up my thigh.  (You try to explain to your mom that you suddenly had the urge to take your green slacks, and cut them into shorts.)  Yes, this was the girl that I was too incompetent to land.   Like I said, I was a moron.  Anyway, if I could have managed my way through that first prospective romantic encounter, who knows how my young life could have been affected. 

It could have given me the confidence to successfully maneuver my way through my relationships soon to come.  In my first couple of “relationships”, I was so insecure and always so afraid that the girl suddenly wouldn’t like me anymore, I was practically inert.  This could have emboldened me to actually act like a normal guy! 

As I mentioned in the previous post, my family moved 200 miles away after immediately after 9th grade, so I don’t see any Back to the Future-type paradoxes.  It wouldn’t have changed any of my life’s basic circumstances.  But such a scenario would have left me a much more confident person, and better able to conduct a healthy young relationship.

You know, that’s one often-overlooked benefit of moving around a lot as a kid.  If I ever go back in time, I know that whatever trouble I cause by changing the past will be wiped clean once we move.

Now where’s a DeLorean when you need one?

Wait, maybe not… there’s the “Biff” variable… becoming fabulously rich through knowledge of the future.  Do they let 7th graders into the OTB parlor?  Still, it’s an avenue to which I remain open.

If only I could go back and teach Young Me how to flirt.

Eh, who am I kidding… I still can’t flirt.

18 comments:

  1. I was as clueless as you were (notice how I use the term "was", gosh I'm so cute in my naivete)

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  2. Nikki,
    Glad to know I was in good company!

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  3. Hey, Pinky obviously thinks you're pretty good at flirting.

    Personally, I think Brenda sounds a little...fast. You should probably count your blessings that it didn't work out; otherwise, you might've gotten your first Father's Day card in eighth grade.

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  4. Bluz, you always bring back memories, most of them good but some not so good. I was not only "clueless" but a 'good Catholic girl.' In my sophomore year I started dating a guy and we went steady till the beginning of my senior year when he dumped me for a not so clueless and not-a-Catholic-girl. Couldn't understand why until I learned she was preggers. Yep! They married and quickly divorced. I thought that was poetic justice!

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  5. Bluz,
    You've captured what every male in this world wishes they could do. Go back and "Right" every "Wrong"

    I have a list too long to mention!

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  6. Maybe I'm perverted, but I read this completely differently than you meant it:

    "(It kind of goes up in the middle)"

    Hee hee. :)

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  7. I'm with BG on this one. Sounds like a painful, but good learning experience. Had things gone the other way, it may have ended badly. Especially when it came time to move away.

    Ah, young love. ;)

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  8. If I could go back, I would run away from home while I still knew everything.

    You should check out my son's blog today. It is along the same lines!

    Just go to http://mauhaus529.blogspot.com/

    He frequently writes about things he did in high school. He thinks I didn't know, but I did!

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  9. Love this. I've always been totally obsessed with the idea of time travel (always traveling to the past, no futuristic stuff). I wrote a blog post about it last spring, titled "Time Continuum Airways."

    Ah, so many things we'd love to change. But what of the possible ripple effects?

    Yikes.

    I could end up as a homeless junkie. Or married to Glenn Beck.

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  10. eh, it's just as well. She's probably a psycho anyway. :D

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  11. Bachelor Girl,
    Yes, Brenda was fast, but this was 1974-fast. Regardless, I probably overstated my case if I’d have succeeded. She was definitely on a different level than I was. I wouldn’t have been able to handle her (what with being a moron and all.) Even once I had a girlfriend, I had “taking it slow” down to an art form. Even glaciers would go, “damn, dude, pick it up.”

    Cher,
    OMG, was that you?

    J/K, but I have almost the same story, my sophomore girlfriend was a ‘good Catholic girl’ too, except I had no second person to take up with. And as it were, that story is the subject of another Wayback episode. Obviously, I didn’t grow out of the ‘moron’ phase until… well… I’ll let you know.

    Guy,
    Right with ya, buddy! When I first started thinking about things I would change about my history, issues with girls were quite high on the list.

    Cristy,
    Geez, for once I do a clean, wistful, proper post and someone has to drag it into the gutter!

    Yeah, I was referring to vocal inflection not my fledgling erec… never mind. I think I'll go back and edit, to make that clear to the rest of the pervs.

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  12. Jessica,
    Yeah, if we’d have managed to stay together through the next couple years until I moved, it would have been a most unpleasant breakup. Once again, grownups conspire to separate the young lovers… But on the other hand, it would have spared me the Tina/roller skating story all together.

    Judie,
    I did check it out. It’s funny how I could kind of fill in the blanks on a lot of them, even if I didn’t know what he was talking about. It’s quite a set of images.

    Sherry,
    That was one of the things I originally set out to explore… if I were to make a change to the past, in what way would it affect my future? In these first 2 stories, I think the effect would have been much more intangible than concrete. The moving wipes everything clean.

    I didn’t actually write up this scenario, because it’s not quite as entertaining, but one thing I would change is that I would stop giving a shit what people thought of me at an earlier age. In school I spent way too much time trying to please everyone, being whatever people wanted me to be, which is, of course, impossible. When you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one, least of all, yourself. It wasn’t until late in my Junior year in high school that I finally gave all that up and went with a “Fuck ya if you don’t like what I’m doing,” kind of attitude.

    Life got much better after that.

    Miley,
    Well, like I said, it wouldn’t have mattered… I was out of Dodge.

    And let me say that I’m glad you’re using a name now, so I don’t have to call you “Woman” any more.

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  13. I actually always grinned being called "woman" lol

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  14. Hmmmm...

    How about "Miley Woman"?

    Naaah.

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  15. Yep! It happens to all of us! There are a lot of those things that I would like to change, but done is done!

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  16. Judie,
    That’s true enough!

    I’m just enjoying the exercise.

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  17. Your post this time is both educational and entertaining. Note to self - if 7th grade son comes home from school with only parts of his pants, he had been up to no good.

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  18. True enough! Your boy decides to cut off his dress pants, it's time for The Talk.

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