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Your Weekly Hoodoo Thread: Ole Miss

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Make no mistake, it's not revenge he's after. It's a reckoning.

Well now, what have we here, my friends and followers?

Looks like we may have stumbled onto a little something we like to call a reckoning, no? As we follow our trusted and beloved Crimson Tide into the third week of the Road to 17, we have the pleasure of righting a twice-committed wrong against the bastion of football power in the world. Our Tide will travel over yonder state line to the land of beautiful women and literary men of letters, to a Grove where the champagne bubbles from founts into red Solo cups and the finger foods are served on silver platters by dames rife with the vestiges of Old South propriety.

This is the week that Alabama must face off against the only team to have bested it in the previous two seasons: the cotdanged Ole Miss Rebel Bear Akbars and that swag-gagging quarterback of theirs, Chad Kelly.

The first year, the Akbars caught Bama off guard with a combination of athletic explosiveness and a feisty defense playing from an uncomfortable scheme for our Tide. Last year, it was a combination of the aforementioned AND (apparently) the will of Football Loki, as things happened in that game that flew carelessly in the face of the rightful order of things.

This year, there must…there simply MUST…be a reckoning regarding this upturning of the natural order of the universe. Ole Miss is supposed to be the red-headed younger second-cousin (twice removed) of the Crimson Tide, not the Tide’s conquerer! Ole Miss is allowed to beat Alabama once every 10 years historically, but these miscreants have taken it upon themselves to battle the current of nature, daring to beat Alabama in consecutive years (something no one else has done during the Saban tenure.)

So these wrongs must be righted…there is no time for tarrying. This week, our beloved Crimson Tide will need all Hoodoo’ers on deck to throw down a Hoodoo sacrifice that Football Loki will have no choice but to receive. Bring him your tired, your shameful, your debaucherous, your embarrassing…he wants it all. If you are a saint who is above urinating into t-shirts and the like, then you must commit an act of pain and suffering, something like eating a habanero raw-dog-style, or downloading "Photograph" by Nickelback and playing it on endless loop during your morning commute for a solid week as penance. You people are far more devious and self-deprecating than I, so use your imaginations and come forth with the Hoodoo.

This here story I am about to relay all over you fine people is one of the seminal moments of my youth, an incident which I believe steered me from the course of Rudolph Valentino-ism straight into the proverbial ditch.

Now, step into this Hoodoo time mo-sheen, and I’ll mash the appropriate buttons to whisk us back to my youth…my middle school years to be exact. As I have recounted many times in this space, your narrator didn’t grow up a child of privilege…nay, had I been born with a spoon in my mouth, it certainly would not have been silver, but rather something akin to melamine. I was the son of a proud single mother, my asshole father having long abandoned my younger brother and me to the savagery of the Land of Paternal Lack.

That said, my mother was a second grade teacher at the time, and our financial situation had drastically improved from the early years, when she studied for her degree while earning a $300 per month stipend. We were at that time able to afford a workable lifestyle on her $20,000 per year salary. Whereas before we got whatever shoes were on sale at Payless, once Moms was employed, she was able to get us all of the things we needed, and even some of the things we wanted.

As we step out of this Hoodoo time mo-sheen (don’t mind all the smoke and flashing lights), set your eyes upon my sixth grade state. Now, for any sixth grader, life is tough. (Stop snickering, it is). A young man of sixth grade age doesn’t know which way is up. He’s a dry leaf adrift on a raging current of hormones, swirling with increasing speed down into the nearest storm drain of self-loathing. He’s insecure, he lacks identity, he just wants to melt into the background and not draw attention. So it was for your humble narrator, as a big, bookish kid, I just wanted to fit in like a brown panel in camouflage fabric.

Not to mention, I was a mess in many respects. Because I was born with the wiry, curly hair indicative of my low-born French ancestry, I was in a constant battle against my follicles. I wanted the type of straight, stylable hair I saw on many of my peers. Having that full, straight hair made life appear carefree and easy…a real lark. My hair, on the other hand, made life a living hell of hair products and boar-hair brushes in an ongoing (and often, unsuccessful attempt) to "tame my nap," as my buddy Mook would say. Add into the equation Mobile’s legendary humidity for 11/12ths of the year, and I often looked like I had rubbed my head repeatedly against the World’s Largest Balloon.

I was raised by my mama, however, and like many young men in my situation, I was educated about fashion to a greater degree than your average bloke. Moms taught me how to coordinate, how to make sure my belt matched my shoes and my socks matched my pants. To this day, I can put together a shirt and tie combo like a fan of Broadway musicals and track lighting.

I was also a skater, and often times, these two facets of my unusual personality came into conflict. For to be a skater in that era was to match everything with flannel. Or, for a time, there were these shorts, which now would likely be called "board shorts" in the vernacular of the present day. Only, these shorts were called "Jams," and said shorts carried a patch on the leg that designated them as such. These Jams were all the rage in my coastal hometown (even to non-surfers), with their knee length and wildly-arrayed colors. Some were Hawaiian print, some were other 1980s-inflected neon colors. They were all I wanted as the school year rolled around for my sixth grade campaign, which would see me entering a new school far from the comfort of my elementary institution.

My grandmother decided that she wanted to help my mother by purchasing some school clothes for us, and I saw this as my opportunity to secure these coveted garments that Moms couldn’t afford to buy me. I explained what I wanted, and my grandmother agreed to comply. After a week or so, she called my moms and told her to bring us by to collect our new shorts.

When I opened the bag that supposedly held my "Jams," what I found nearly brought tears to my eyes. They looked kinda like Jams, to be sure. The garish colors were a check, as was the length. But there was no patch that was the trademark of the brand.

"But what happened to the patch?"

My grandmother laughed a little nervously.

"Oh, there’s no patch…I made them. Let’s just say, they’re not Jams. They’re Grams!"

I pert near died. Made them? What in the hell did that mean, made them? Like, cut out some cloth and sewed those sumbitches together typa made them? Apparently my grandmother has missed the memo that the cotdanged Depression was over. I was horrified. I couldn’t go out in public wearing handmade Jams! What kind of psychological torture was this? I had been promised Jams, had already told my friends in the neighborhood I was getting them…and then she trots out these fakes…these sham Jams, if you will?

Concluding my life was indeed over, I slumped into a heap, shaking my head and muttering to myself. In the interest of Southern politeness, my mother, seeing my disappointment, nudged me to provide the appropriate response.

"What do you say?" she asked me.

What do I say? WHAT DO I SAY? I say I am a dead man…I don’t even want to live. Please, throw me into the traffic and offer my mortal remains to the bosom of my beloved Gulf of Mexico.

But I knew that wasn’t what she mean. "Thank you," I grumbled.

Once in the car, moms addressed the 500-pound elephant that was this homespun crime against high fashion.

"Now, I know these aren’t what you wanted, and you had your hopes up. I’m sorry about that. But you know your grandmother…she grew up in a different time, when they made their clothes out of flour sacks and such as that."

Some consolation that was.

"Speaking of depression, that’s what my life will be when the guys see I have fake Jams instead of the real thing. This is not how I want to enter middle school!" I knew I’d be teased relentlessly, so much so that I’d have to pound someone and get off on the wrong foot at a new school with new administrators. I’d been teased as a younger kid about my shoes, with shouts of "BO-BOS" routinely being hurled in my direction. I wasn’t about to relive that horror, not for anybody’s "feelings." It was just a revolting development all around. What had previously been a source of excitement (if not a little trepidation) had now been rendered into a pallet fire of Auburnic proportions.

"Well, how about this. I have a little extra money this month, and so what if I buy you some of those skate shoes you were looking at to go with your shorts? They come in a lot of colors, I’m sure we can find some to match."

Hmmmm….now that could be workable. "Those skate shoes" I had been looking at were not really skate shoes at all, but rather Chuck Taylor All-Star high tops. Sure, a lot of my peers were ridin’ the Nike wave, but me, I always fancied those old-school, flat-bottomed grippy athletic shoes from a bygone era. And she was right, I could get them in any color, and they would be quite a hit with my friends (whose opinions I valued far too much at that age.)

As promised, Moms carried me to the shoe store within days, where I located my Holy Grail…a pair of crimson (not red, not scarlet, not carmine, but crimson) Chucks in the high-top configuration. And unlike most times when I was unable to find the shoe I wanted to fit my gargantuan size 12.5 foot, they actually had them in my size. I could only conclude it had been ordained by The Almighty Himself as reward for my patience and graciousness in dealing with my well-intentioned grandmother the week prior. Before departing, however, I was offered a word of caution from the salesman who had fitted me.

After lacing up the shoes and letting me walk in them, he spoke in lowered tone, almost begrudgingly, offering a sage warning hewn (from the sound of it) from personal experience.

"Now son, you have to remember not to get those shoes wet. Especially if you like the color. You can touch them up with a wet cloth if they get dirty, but don’t ever get them soaked through. That crimson will bleed red all over your socks, all over your pants legs, all over you. Just don’t forget that."

Duly noted. I wasn’t going to be wearing them to swim or anything, so worst case scenario, I’d just have to avoid puddles. Got it.

I loved those shoes so much. Too much. So much so that even though school didn’t start for another week, I conned Moms into letting me wear them early with promises of loading the dishwasher, mowing the yard, and cleaning off the leaf-littered roof. I wore them around the house. I wore them when we ran to the store. I wore them to sleep. About the only time I took them off was when I took a shower, and only then, because of the aforementioned fading issue.

The first day of school arrived. I had sneak-previewed those kicks out to a few of the neighborhood kids, soaking in their ooohs and ahhhhhs like a dry sponge tossed in a bucket. It was music to my socially disenfranchised ears. I remember the night before school was to start, I set out my entire costume for the day: a crisp new Bama tee (a crimson one with the white block BAMA wording that was popular on shirts and car tags of the day), a pair of knee-length khaki Duckhead shorts my mama bought me (hell with those Grams), white calf socks and those beautiful crimson-colored Chucks.

I couldn’t get dressed fast enough the next morning. Was eating cereal and watching cartoons in this uniform by the time my mom brewed her pot of coffee. Since the new middle school was at the top end of our neighborhood, and because my mother herself had to be at school early, I would be walking the mile and a half to school (and back home later in the day).

It was great, met up with my buddy Jokalet and Jeffro Bodeen for the walk. They had already seen my new digs, but as we rounded the corner to school, I was greeted by immediate attention. After all, a white boy in crimson-colored kicks was something to behold, like Man-Dorothy in those ruby slippers doin’ the ease on down-ease on down the road bit. I was white boy fresh, and had successfully announced my presence on this new campus.

Most of that day went as expected, as did most of that first week. I settled into my new school groove…all except for one aspect of middle school life that I had neither anticipated nor been made aware of prior to my matriculation. It seemed that at PE time, unlike in elementary school, I would be required to change clothes in a common locker room, and the bathrooms that were available to the fellas had no separation. As in, there were no doors on any of the stalls.

Now this seemed like a horrible oversight on behalf of the administration. I mean, had they ever met middle school boys? Had they ever suffered the indignity of being "poop taunted" or "sack tugged" in a public restroom by one’s peers? At that point, I had managed to avoid such a horrid fate, but some of my friends had not been so fortunate. On the first day of school, Jeffro had a case of "the nervous stomach," as his mama/ grandmamma called it, and to avoid crapping his ever-lovin’ pants, he had to do his dirty business in such a doorless privvy. Unfortunately for him, nature called during a class change, which meant the bathroom was crowded. Middle school boys can be cruel (and unnaturally fascinated with all things fecal), and they harangued him unceremoniously. By the end of that first week, he’d been affixed with names like "Poop Boy," Fart-acular," "Baron Von Poopingham." People would sing "diarrhea, cha-cha-cha" behind him walking down the hall. It was brutal.

I learned from his mistake, eschewing that communal toilet on behalf of my own burgeoning rep. I could just hold it, after all. I mean, school was only like, what…eight hours?

It was at the beginning of that second week that I began to develop some pimpish tendencies. There was a girl…a girl named Jamison that I’d known from school before but had never really talked to much. She lived in another part of my hood, but I had started chatting her up one morning while standing by myself (since I had to separate myself somewhat from the Quiet Poopstorm that was Jeffro’s reputation). Conversation turned to short walks to the point at which our paths diverged. In a mere few days, that turned into walking her all the way to her house, though out of my way, just to spend a few extra minutes with her.

Things were going well for this sixth grader. I had the fly fashion sense (despite the fact that my curls were plastered rigidly to me head with White Rain, a coif that resembled the helmet hair of a Lego minifigure). I was making a name for myself and growing my circle of friends. I had friendly relations with a girl and potential future paramour. Things couldn’t have been better…middle school ruled!

And then, as has often been my experience, there was a reckoning. A day that marked a sea-change in my fate, an hour in which it all came crashing down around me. And it all stemmed from one…critical…miscalculation (foreshadowing ftw…).

I had learned as an elementary school student that there were some things that the cafeteria served that you simply did not eat. Now, that cafeteria was well-staffed, and the ladies who worked in there back in those days turned out some world-class soul food, not this politically-correct slop that gets trotted out as school lunch these days. These women made greens (with smoked jowl meat). They made field peas (complete with okra). They made country-fried steak (served it with sawmeal gravy). Biscuits. Cornbread…REAL cornbread, not that honey-sweet bullshit some of you people may have come across in your travels. (Real cornbread does not include sugar as an ingredient…at all. Just a PSA for those of you born north of the Mason-Dixon. You now have no excuse for not getting your cornbread mind right.)

Despite all of that goodness, there were pitfalls to be sure. First of all, never use cafeteria ketchup. It wasn’t Heinz…wasn’t even Hunt’s. It was some off-brand foolishness that more closely resembled tomato sauce…just awful. It stunk, it was runny. It was just absolutely, government subsidized gahbage.

There was another product to avoid, not because of its taste (it actually tasted damn good sometimes) but because of the Hiroshima-esque after effects this food would inflict upon one’s colon and lower intestine. That incendiary gut-bomb was none other than "stop-sign pizza."

Now if you went to public school in the South in the 1980s, you know good-and-cot-damned-well what I’m talm’bout. Stop sign pizza. Called it that because it was shaped like a stop sign (though in retrospect, I think our uneducated asses were wrong, it really only had six sides…public school ftw…nevertheless). It had no actual meat, but rather what can most accurately be described as a "meat-like substance." To my young mouth, it tasted good enough because, you know, PIZZA!

But once one passed that vile food-product over the lips, the sizzlin’ fuse was lit. Within 20 minutes, one would feel the first gurgle, a sound reminiscent of the trash compactor scene in Star Wars. The fate, likewise, was almost equally as bad. The gurgle would evolve into a GARGLE-GARGLE-GROOOOOWWWL which would be audible to any nearby ears, often eliciting giggles and sharpening stares. Once the sound turned into a BEEEE-OOOP-BEEEE-OWWWWW, similar in tone to the powering up of the original Death Star, one’s fate was all but sealed. (Only this Death Star was one’s soon-to-be-explosive balloon knot, and the toilet was poor little Alderaan.) That sound signaled the beginning of the end, and one had mere minutes to situate his or her fully-weaponized B-hole over some porcelain (or otherwise) receptacle to ride out the coming effluent barrage.

In the cafeteria on that day of infamy, I went forth with my usual protocol: anything but stop sign pizza. My decision was easy, as typically there were only two options. I often brought my lunch from home, but on this day Fate and the Scarbubba Middle School cafeteria had conspired against me, as I hadn’t time to make my lunch, but rather took the offering of a few dollars from my mom on her way out of the door.

I fell into the lunch line with a few of my counterparts, chatting and horse-playing the way middle school young’uns oft do. When the time came for me to place my order, I noticed the usual array of options was not offered.

"Ummm what is the other choice, anything else other than pizza?" I asked.

"Hahaha, get this one, Eunice. Wants to know do we got anything else for him to ‘choose’ from…hahaha"

Eunice the Lunch Matron didn’t seem terribly amused.

"Yeah, sure, boy. Seeing as how this is a four-star ressa-raunt and all, I reckon you can choose between the pizza, the pizza, or…oh yeah, I almost forgot, the pizza. We also got French fries…ketchup’s over there."

Dammit. Was this happening? Middle school life had been so good thus far. My friends held out their melamine trays to take that damned orange hexagonal weapon of mass colonic destruction. I hesitated.

"You want it or not?" Eunice barked. My friends looked back in seeming judgment, as if to question why I would refuse stop sign pizza? Under the peer pressure, I caved.

"Uh, sure, yes ma’am." That disgusting slab of geometrical cuisine slid onto my tray astride a layer of grease like a tangerine-colored liver fluke. Yuck.

But alas, your young Hoodoo tour guide was a resourceful whippersnapper. I accepted that pizza not with plans to eat it, but rather because I figured I’d see if I could make a trade at the table. After all, some kids wanted pizza but had to eat their mom-packed lunches. A boy named Erk was my ace-in-the-hole, figured he’d trade for sure. He was a birdish kid who suffered from spasms and seizures, and generally, because of his desire for acceptance, he could be crow-barred into doing anything regardless of how reprehensible it may have been. His mom generally made him Sizzlean-and-butter sandwiches that, while not ideal, would not produce Vesuvius-like hemorrhaging from my posterior end.

However, that plan didn’t fly. Erk had to take an earlier lunch wave because of some "special testing" he had to undergo. Dammit. By the time my search for him proved unsuccessful, folks were already halfway done with their lunches. I had no options.

I stared down at the only thing I had to eat. I swear, that pizza winked at me while doing the backstroke in the literal lake of ochre-colored grease. But I was hungry, and I knew if I didn’t eat, my growling stomach would be a cause of mockery throughout the remaining two periods. It was a Catch-22: don’t eat and stomach will grumble, eat the pizza knowing the ultimate outcome and hope the effect is delayed. I was dang old James Franco caught between two boulders, and I honestly would have preferred to saw my leg off rather than incur any of the other two fates presented to me.

Time in the lunch wave was winding down…had to make a decision. I resigned myself to eat the pizza. After all, I’d have one biology class, then PE in seventh period, then I could go home. Nobody would hear the gurgling in PE, so I really just had to get through one class.

"It’s doable, right?" I thought to myself. I’d just have to try to run the "Race With the Devil" diarrhea gauntlet, as unsavory a prospect as that seemed. I choked the stop sign pizza down, and didn’t die. I dashed to biology class, and though I didn’t feel wholly settled, so far the progression of the usual post-pizza stomach sounds went, I was behind schedule. I took hope, because I’d be damned if I was gonna use that semi-private school boys’ bathroom. That simply was not an option.

Then PE rolled around. My "teacher" was a notorious hard-ass, a former third-string fullback at the Barn named Teelhard. He was a perpetually-shouting, rotund cracker who really didn’t take kindly to opposing viewpoints. I had learned this when he demanded we all change clothes or in the school vernacular "dress out", for PE. There was no getting around it, one just had to comply.

I had hoped to take it easy in PE that day to prevent churning the powder keg that was developing in my gullet. In many instances, loathe to prepare anything resembling a "lesson plan," Teelhard would just turn us a-loose to our own devices, casting us out on the track to play pick-up football, softball or (for the unathletic/ foreign kids) soccer.

Such was not the case this day. No, Teelhard decided this particular day provided the optimal opportunity to train his students for the Presidential Physical Fitness Award, a national program that required a battery of pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups and every other kinda damn "up" one can conjure. Not really what I was hoping for.

I figured I’d plead sick. "Uhhh, Coach Teelhard, I don’t feel too good today, you reckon I could sit it out, or maybe just walk track today?"

"You got a note? Cuz if you ain’t got a note, you ain’t sittin’. Getcho ass in line, boy."

(Damn Auburnite. This is what happens when you give those people a little power. Absolute abandonment of logic, reason and common decency.)

I did as ordered and fell in line. The pull-ups weren’t so bad, though I could feel the ebbing tide of my bowel beginning to surge in. The sit-ups were brutal, as you can imagine. Compressing one’s gut muscles while bending in half is not optimal for bowel conservation, to be sure. Push-ups were a relief.

But then came the squat thrusts. The god-awful squat thrusts. If you’re not familiar with the exercise, Google that shit and imagine performing said calisthenic with a fully-loaded poop chute. It’s as if the squat thrust is an exercise solely designed to eliminate constipation and compaction, such is the force it exerts on the sphincters.

I mustered every ounce for Force energy I could to keep my B-hole tightly puckered for fear of leakage. Every squat was a lash against my personhood. Every thrust, a battering ram banging on the gate of my poor overtasked colon. It was like a cardboard dike holding back a tsunami, and had I not been a Sith acolyte, I surely would have lacked the fortitude to hold back the tide.

Finally, after this inhuman torture, the seventh period bell rang. I grabbed my belongings and began my walk home. I use the term "walk" loosely. I couldn’t run, because the shock of such would have surely broken the seal on the tempest I concealed in my colon. I must have looked like a speed walker, trying not to bounce much, as I streaked across the field to the sidewalk.

Now, bear in mind, earlier that morning, I had told Jamison that I would walk her home, as I had done each day for the better part of a week. She even asked me that day if I wanted to come in and watch a movie and have snacks, and if there’s two things this big boy loved, it was watchin’ movies and eatin’ snacks. The fact that it would be done in the company of a female was just icing on the cake.

However, faced with the current situation, that invitation had fled my mind. I was at Defcon 5, I was experiencing a Three-Mile Island of the digestive tract…a mere wink of my brown-eye would have issued forth an embarrassing, irreparable crisis of reputation the likes of which I could never recover without moving to another county (or possibly even state). I went into a zen zone, focused on the toilet in my home bathroom. The bathroom was my goal…I had to become the potty.

I heard Jamison calling out to me from behind as I speed-plodded down the concrete walk in my trusty Chucks. I couldn’t stop, I had no explanation to offer that wasn’t embarrassing. I figured I’d just keep on trucking and later tell her that I was sorry, I must not have heard her, that I forgot about our pre-planed rendezvous. That’s when I heard the patter of her steps on the sidewalk, running up behind me.

"HEY, WAIT FOR ME!"

I froze up socially. I didn’t know what to do. So like Forrest Gump would later instruct, I kept on running and running and running…or rather in this case, speed-walking and speed-walking and speed-walking.

She eventually gave up. Stopped, in a huff, hurt, embarrassed at my shunning of her invitation. I was sure she would never speak to me again, but what choice did I have? Had I cut loose a brown tide at her feet, the outcome would have been the same. At least this way, maybe I could tell her later that I was having a seizure or my blood sugar was low or something.

The only thing that remained between me and sweet release was about four blocks of neighborhood turf. Jeffro saw me and ran up alongside me.

"Where you go…"

"Gotta shit. Can’t stop." I blurted through terse, tension-pinched lips.

"Oh…"

Three blocks. "I can do this," I thought to myself. I thought brave thoughts. I conjured the Marines raising the flag over Iwo Jima. I thought about steel-nerved Phillip Doyle drilling the game winner over Tennessee. I thought about Evel Knevel jumping the Grand Canyon. I visualized the brave men who doggedly survived the Bataan Death march. Home was in sight. I could make it.

In retrospect, maybe I did too much thinking. My stomach lurched with a cramp, and it happened. Like a scene from Alien, my stomach gave way to what had been growing inside since lunch time. Effluent spilled forth from me, like the bowels of Hell unclinching and loosing the whole of its demons into the world. It immediately soaked through my britches. I was so embarrassed, I didn’t…even…think…about…my…Chucks.

Had I considered the progression of events and the natural flow of gravity, I could have kicked them off before the explosion. But alas, what was done was done. The stream that spilled forth trickled down into my beloved, irreplaceable, unwashable crimson Chucks. Not just a little exposure, but a lot.

I wanted to crumble into the fetal position, to lie still on the roadside until exposure to the elements ended my wretched life. But I couldn’t do that. Nay, my more slow-moving compatriots were not far behind, and if there was any shred of dignity I could salvage, it would be in keeping this unfortunate string of events private.

At least I was successful in that regard. I slopped on in my poop shoes, my britches sticking to me in the affected areas. I made it home, unlocked the door, and stripped out of my soiled clothing. I beheld my beautiful crimson Chucks, their once-brilliant crimson hue shaded over with the color of rusty water. I cried. Over a pair of shoes. You damn skippy. And rightfully so, as I’ve never seen another pair of real crimson Chuck high-tops in my size ever again. I’ve seen red. I’ve seen scarlet. I’ve seen carmine. But never, never-ever-ever-ever, have I seen another pair of crimson Chuck high-tops.

When my moms got home, I told her my secret. She, as usual, showed motherly compassion.

"Well, we can try to wash them, don’t worry."

But the man had told me not to get them soaked. I had little hope.

Even still, my moms did what moms do, and she soldiered forth on my behalf. The result, as expected, was a pair of pink size 12.5 high-tops. All was indeed lost.

To add insult to injury, Jamison unexpectedly DID speak to me again. In fact, she spoke to me in great length about my rudeness, using rather ungentle terms, to boot. She then spoke to me about Helmet, another neighborhood kid who found her crying on the sidewalk after my debacle, and who picked up the companionship baton I had cast down ungratefully. Apparently, Helmet ran with it…and ran with it well into his high school years. Damn German sumbitch.

I was left without female companionship, with only a friend labeled as a serial poop artist and a set of shitty pink high-tops. I can honestly say, it was that moment that my Fate likely lurched onto a different, far less favorable course. I started growing my hair out in front, listening to The Smiths and Husker Du a lot. Flannel, lots of flannel, black tees and shredded jeans, you know the deal. Began writing in my journal, which is a glorified name for a "man-diary."

Que sera…such is life.

There ya go, Loki…by all means, feast! Roll Tide.