It’s nearing midnight and I am about to unceremoniously take my first step into my early thirties. Thirty-one to be exact.
People across the world have been cheering the new year for most of the day, putting another year behind them, resolving to change, to begin anew, to start afresh, to be young again. But I will have aged. Because I was born then, 31 years before, a full day of labor for my young mother, a full day of agony for my sense of shelter.
It is easy to keep track of my age though. How old was I in 1985? Five. The whole year. How old will I be in 2099, the year my favorite Spiderman, Miguel O’Hara, paradoxically “lived”? One hundred and nineteen. The whole year. I attribute my smokin’ decent memory to my birthday as well. Who did I vote for in the mock presidential election of 1988? Michael Dukakis. I liked his eyebrows. I was eight, seven for half the school year. What year did I notice my first armpit hair? 1990. I was 10. Ask my mother. She’ll tell you all about it, wrong, of course, and with embellished humiliation. When did the space shuttle Challenger blow up? Don’t know exactly but I remember the day. I was riding a yellow bus to
. Kindergarten. So I know it was between 1985 and 1986. The flag was half staffed enough for me to recognize it as strange so I’m going to say 1986. Haley’s Comet strolled by that year too. I remember it was ’86 because an Australian classmate named Zena had returned to the Outback and sent the class a picture of her awesome vantage. Out of jealousy, I teased her and Tyler Vandercolt for winning the privilege of sleeping in the classroom teepee together during naptime. She told me I wasn’t very nice. It still stings. In preschool, I remember getting into a fight with another boy over a police hat during play time. Totally kicked his ass. Some snotty blonde girl tried to kiss me all year during story time and a girl named Bridgette broke my heart by admitting that she wanted to marry some other asshole four year old over me. The year was 1984.* In ’83, I was sitting on my father’s shoulders, picking plantains to “surprise” my mother. That same year I repeatedly played doctor with my older sister’s friend from next door. Hot. I was three. 1982 imprinted still images in my head: a skateboard that I wasn’t allowed to stand on; a tennis racket in its wooden frame; Tom & Jerry wallpaper; a crying baby sister whom I was mean to until she was old enough to start hitting me back. In’79, the war half of me was tightly bundled in a single sperm within my father’s scrotum. The love side of me was waiting comfortably in parts of my mother that I will not mention here. I don’t remember any of that though. New Year’s wasn’t my birthday yet. Pillow Elementary School
Fast forward 31 years later, and I’m thinking of people who have absolutely no memory of me and moments that are remembered by no one but me. It was nice reflecting though. Happy New Year.
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Bobby: “What are you doing?”
Carlos: “Writing a blog about myself.”
Bobby: “Am I in it?”
Carlos: “I thought I’d mention you in 1984 but I didn’t have the space.”
Bobby: “Whatever. You should put a little asterisk by 1984 and mention me.”
In 1984 I smashed my arm through the window of my home while mimicking TV’s hit program The Incredible Hulk. As I stood in my living room screaming at the sight of blood spraying from my right arm, my current roommate, Bobbles Almond, centered his face in the frame of the shattered window. He stood in the bushes outside and between his disproportionately large ears and cheeks, his eyes were scared. They were scared because a boy, 9 months Bobby’s elder, a boy that Bobby held and still holds as the pinnacle of manliness could bleed like any other mortal. It was an important year for young Bobby, 1984. I was four. The whole year.