Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

Fifty-six

Posted by ilbebe on June 25, 2010

Geez, those vuvuzelas are something else! I, for one, am all for them. God knows they must be annoying the shit out of the sort of people who vote against funding for elementary schools, so perhaps, like the Blues Brothers, they’re doing the Lord’s work. Did anyone catch that little item? The Catholic Church recognized The Blue Brothers, one of my favorite movies, as a “canonized” great film, and said every good Catholic should watch it! It’s been a really great week. I’ve been watching World Cup matches almost every day, with all sorts of different people, and it’s been a hell of a lot of fun. On Monday, B and I met a guy who claimed to be the goalie for the ‘72 Australian Olympic team at the San Mateo County Fair. He was working in a booth selling nuts and seeds, and he gave me a bargain on some delicious sunflower seeds. He also said that with the money he made from being on the Olympic Football squad, he bought his parents a house with an ocean view. I later looked the matter up on the internet and discovered that Australia didn’t field a football team at the Munich Games. Whatever.

I remember one of the more memorable World Cups I watched was the 1998 contest. It occurred while I was taking Government and Economics in summer school before my Senior year of high school started. It was a magical time. I had been canned from my job a few weeks before the school year let out, and then I went to the junior prom with this girl S who I’d had a crush on for three years. And she asked me! My Studebaker was running fine, and my band was really starting to hit it’s stride. I was writing new songs every week, and Shawn Sloan was in my summer school class.

I walked in like three minutes late on the first day, which was very uncharacteristic of me. I don’t remember why I was late, but you have to understand that was on time to everything in high school, and I only cut like five or ten times in all four years. The teacher was a short fella who was going over the syllabus in a very relaxed tone. I looked around for Shawn and deduced that he wasn’t there yet, and then I noticed it, the most literally awesome symbol I’d ever seen: a huge ‘G’ on the dry erase board behind where the teacher was casually pacing back and forth, reading from the syllabus.

Shawn slunk in a few minutes later and sat on the floor next to me, because there weren’t any seats left. Two or three minutes later, the teacher paused in his reading and asked “Are there any questions so far?” Shawn slowly raised his had and asked “Eh, what’s your name?”

The teacher pointed to the board and spoke plainly:

You Can Call Me G.

Not Mr. G

G.

Any Other Questions?

At that point, my only question was How Much Ass Does This Guy Kick?!?!? We soon found out more of his story; he was going to be moving to Oregon at the end of the summer to take a much better paying job at a private school, and was just doing this summer gig for some money to help pay his first month’s rent on an apartment out of state. Thus it was clarified that he hadn’t been kidding that first day when he said “All I’m really looking for here, guys, is attendance.” The wink had been and was tacit, and it was understood. All understood.

We did the Economics section of the class first, a semester of school compressed into a tidy little two-week package. Activities included watching Wall Street and playing Star Wars monopoly. Shawn and I were put into a variety of unusual group activities with people varying from Joe Baker, one of those lazy stoners who routinely fell backwards into all sorts of good fortune, to Andrew and Melissa, a couple whose common ground we simply couldn’t fathom. Case in point, when Andrew walked in ahead of Melissa the first day of the second session, having neither opened nor held the door for her, and saw one seat remaining, he ran to it and then teased her when she took a seat on the floor next to him. Melissa was no head-turner, but Christ, Andrew looked like a fuckin’ wimpy orc. Did he have money, or what? What the fuck?!

Daily lessons involved going to the school library so people could smoke weed in the bathroom, leave through the windows to go to Jiffy Mart off campus and stock up on cigs, and read old encyclopedias about topics ranging from Nothing To Do With Economics to Seriously, Couldn’t Be Much Farther From Anything Relating To Economics. We found out G had taken guitar lessons from Robert Fripp in the 80’s, and this explained why Fripp was G’s primary influence on guitar. G brought in his demo tape, twenty-five minutes of him wanking on one or two notes every ten seconds while his homemade Frippertronics system manipulated the sound to resemble a disinterested sexy robot nurse. I got an A in Econ.

Then the world cup started.

There were three or seven Mexican dudes in the class, and every day found G walking into the room around eight in the morning to find them already gathered around the TV in the corner, yelling and whistling at the matches taking place halfway across the world in France. I believe Marco’s dad was the janitor, and left the door propped open for them overnight so that they could watch the early games that started at six in the morning. Bottom line, you can’t tell a Mexican of any age or gender to turn themselves down, let alone turn off the match. So my education in American Government was consistently overshadowed by screams of Cabron!, Puto!, and Gooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaal!

Another phrase that was often overheard was “Senor G, Senor G es un profesor mucho beuno!!”

G clearly had won the approval of a portion of the class he regarded with unabashed awe and respect. I can only imagine that he regarded Marco and the gang with a wild and unbridled respect for their irreverence of his reverent irreverence. That the respect was mutual is evident in the way the football fans consented to put the TV on mute for five minutes while we took the one and only quiz of our Government education, a fifteen question multiple-choice exam that featured such handwritten G gems as “The Bill of Rights establishes some basic civil liberties for residents of what nation? A: The US B. The USA C:The United States of America D: All of the Above”

That was a quick five minutes.

On a related note, the month after I graduated from high school the following summer, the San Francisco Examiner ran a front-page story on Independence Day, 1999, about how American high schoolers don’t learn shit any more, and the lead quote was taken from a girl in my graduating class at Liberty High in Brentwood, CA: “Um, the Germans?”

The question was “Who did we fight the Revolutionary War against?”

Wow. I remember that girl saying in casual conversation during my sophomore biology class “I dunno, I think the only concert I could go see not on acid any more would be Bush. Or maybe No Doubt. Everything else, if I’m not on acid or ecstasy or mushrooms, it just isn’t really that fun.”

“Are you on acid right now, C?” This was my question. We were fifteen.

“No, just really stoned and I had a lot of Jack Daniels between classes.”

It was 11:15 AM. Wow. She had somehow foreseen the eventual marriage of Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani. Zwah? Zwan?

You move to the suburbs to give your kids a chance at a better life, a place with less crime and better schools. Your kids gets bored to tears, and eventually you don’t talk to them much because they’ve become, in your eyes, insolent. They don’t give a shit how hard you work to put food on the table and pay for their braces and live in a place with very, very few black people. Yr kids will wind up on drugs, and that’s if yr lucky. If yr a real mother, yr kids’ll wind up in some sort of religious nonsense, or a 9-to-5’r that bleeds what little soul ya allowed them to build up from them at a remarkable pace. Why d’ y’ not see nose rings and funny clothes from decades past as a massive measure of relief?! It’s evidence yr kid’s OK!

Y doom yrself to kids learning more about American government and economics from a short-timer acid head and a class full of people drawing in coloring books and cheering on foreign sports teams in football matches. Things that yr progeny will rightly value as more cool, and more important, than yr message of money and pious dignity that rings false to anyone older than twelve.

He hands you your throat back sayin’ thanks for the loan!

And you know enough to know that you don’t know nothing at all!

-6/24/10, home, Oakland – Really, really Goddamn happy. Heard Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts earlier!!!

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