Friday, July 28, 2006

Giving the Fishworker His Due: Memories of Childhood Cruelties For Your Birthday.

I gave short shrift to The Fishworker's birthday in my last post, but I had intended to add a small tribute later that night. Blogger, however, went a little kerflooey so I couldn't post anything. Now that it's feeling better, I offer a whole separate post in tribute, with some drawings out of my grade school notebooks. (Uh, I'm really not that bad of a pack-rat, I've just somehow managed to hold on to certain artifacts, miraculously intact after many relocations...)

Mike came to St. Pius shortly after fifth grade had begun, 1979. He fit right into the group of friends I had, but squarely at the bottom. He was the default punching bag when our "enemies" were not available for brutalizing. Not just because he was the smallest, but he was a bit on the manic side, and so he could be a real pest.

These notebooks of mine have survived, ironically, because they have so little schoolwork in them. Instead they offer page after page of doodles and comics, mostly by me, but with many contributions from friends. We practically made a sport of stealing each others' notebooks and vandalizing them with our own comics and comments--invariably mocking, abusive scrawlings that were probably more vicious than anything we visited upon the kids we didn't like.

I present a small collection of drawings I did depicting Mike's various alter egos.

Jeff, Mike and I made a comic called "Mike the Barbarian" (though I kept calling it Conan, as I wrote here). We started by each taking turns drawing panels, but the result was less than inspired as all we did was negate whatever the previous artist had done. Jeff would draw a band of menacing thugs arriving, then in the very next panel, Mike (the artist) would draw Mike (the Barbarian) killing three of them while the others are killed by randomly falling rocks, etc. Soon Jeff told Mike he couldn't participate, then Jeff and I started doing several panels apiece, then we lost interest altogether and the comic peters out after about fourteen pages and dozens of confusing plotlines.

Mike also joined in on the rare occasions that we played The Fantasy Trip, a D&Dish role-playing game. We wouldn't allow him to create his own character, tho, so he was forced to be an Irish dwarf named Darby McNuggets (you can guess the nickname). Actually, I think he had several characters, as we'd regularly kill him off on a whim. Once, I believe, he was responsible for the loss of my beloved warhorse, Ripper, so I took it out quite cruelly on the little fella, in reality as well as fantasy.

Super Osh was a generic superhero, but in the era where Ironman Tony Stark turns out to be a drunk, he had a similar human shortfall: an addiction to Flintstones vitamins, especially the potent purple Dino. It appears I just copied the outfit of the Greatest American Hero.

Mike had a t-shirt that said MAD DOG in giant letters, so that led to the machine gun-toting criminal, Mad Dog Osh.

Mike, I guess, came up with the detective character Malcolm Diamond, which he also portrayed on film, much like the time Mickey Spillane played Mike Hammer. I played a tough who roughs Malcolm up in the truest sense of the phrase--I pick him up in my arms, shake the shit out of him, and then hurl him to the floor. People gasp when they see it. It could be the funniest fucking thing we ever filmed.

Here's a drawing I did of Mike with the Smurfs that lived under his bed.

I filled the picture with inside jokes drawn in such disturbingly minute detail that I can only surmise that I was completely mental as a kid.

Close-up of Meeno Peluce poster.

Close-up of Bodybuilder Smurf standing on the bed, with poster of Missy Gold (with very strange breasts). I think she's standing by a pool. Notice how, because he's lifting weights, the Smurf sinks into the bed.

Close-up of wedding photo of Mike and Stockard Channing (which still cracks me up), and poster for Mike's movie Superman II 1/2.

Mike drew the besotted figure to the left on the cover of my seventh grade notebook, to which I added "Mike age 40." Well, he's almost there and no gin blossoms yet, so I take it back. (Although he does have a hat like that.) I think Mike drew the face, to which I added a hat, tie and text, and then someone else put an arrow through the hat. That's generally how it worked; like it or not, everything was a work in progress.

This drawing of mine commemorates the Sixth Grade (?) Field Day, or last day of school celebration. Mike was being such a pain that I took his baseball cap, loaded it with slices of watermelon, and crammed it into the open end of a metal post on a chainlink fence. I got into a deuceload of trouble for that one, and I'm sure I made Mike pay for it again at some point.

Finally, here is Mike's Christmas present to me in 1982, a fifty-cent McDonald's gift certificate.

It expired over eighteen years ago. I reiterate: I am not a pack-rat. Nor am I in love with Mike. Come to think of it, the certificate may actually have been a gift for Howard Shmortz, a puppet I owned. Mike also made him a hat once. It would be ten more years before we got girlfriends.

So, to Mad Dog, Malcolm, and Darby (not to mention Frump, Al White, Bobby Deuteronomy, Frank Witner, Lucas the Blacksmith, Emmett Abernathy, Johnny Poontaka, Buddy Lift, The Throats, Lantern Fishworker, et al): Happy birthday!


Blogger MO'SH said...

Brilliant! Almost as touching as that obituary you wrote for me! Is that really where Mad Dog came from? Where in fuck did I get a Mad Dog t-shirt from (though, if I had to guess, it would've been the Santa Sale).

I believe some sort of tribute to Howard Shmortz would be appropriate in the near future. Everyone would love to read it.

Or no one. But that's never stopped us before. In fact, if anything, obscurity is our fuel.

That was both tremendous and horrendous!

Sun Jul 30, 10:19:00 PM 2006  
Blogger the feeb said...

great. your most sexually charged piece yet!

Tue Aug 01, 05:56:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is absolutely insane for so many reasons. At times I actually feel guilty about the amount of abuse we unleashed on our friends (the kids we actually disliked I don't care). I vividly remember one time Bobby H. and Miguel C. chewing up Doritos and spitting them in Luke's mouth. I was at first disappointed there were none of my drawings in there, but remembered how horrid an artist I was, so unless it was something particularly brilliant I wouldn't want to see it. I have a million thoughts seeing that but the one thing I keep dwelling on is your comment that you aren't a pack rat when you have a two decade old McDonald gift certificate.
Jeff G.

Thu Aug 03, 09:58:00 AM 2006  
Blogger MO'SH said...

He's also got a two decade old McDonalds Apple Pie that he's "waiting to ripen."

Thu Aug 03, 01:05:00 PM 2006  
Blogger psaur said...

No apple pies for me, thanks, though I do still have the invitation to Kim DiG_____'s eighth grade graduation pool party. She wrote "If rains, party will be rescheduled." Mike wrote below that, "If snows, there will be ice skating."

I don't have the half-assed Pius yearbook, but I do have the parody Jeff and I made of it. There is no way in hell that I will ever put it on the web. It is the most vulgar, vicious thing I've ever read, not to mention potentially libelous.

Chris I_____ tells me he still has the actual yearbook, as well as his signature book with the pastel pages. I don't know if mine is about somewhere, but I still remember what I wrote in Mary C___'s book. She was a sweet, mild-mannered gal, so I wrote "Kick ass and break heads in high school." Of course, I was being ironic, writing such a thing to Mary of all people, as well as mocking the kind of dumb sentiments people typically write in these books. Mike made fun of me for it, apparently thinking I was serious. He then wrote "Break ass and kick heads in high school" in my book. What a turd. Next time I see him, I'm going to hock a giant clam on him.

Sun Aug 06, 12:32:00 AM 2006  
Blogger MO'SH said...

Thanks. You know how that that is to get out of a sweater vest.

Mon Aug 07, 12:46:00 PM 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home