Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Hero's Tale

Being ten years old was interesting because I started to feel more grown-up, but I still had the body of an Olson twin. Elizabeth was getting pretty sketchy around us. The newspaper reported a brutal stabbing on Berwick street in the 100s. My house was 133. I started seeing all sorts of craziness outside, i.e. An old married couple screaming at each other, then the woman smashed the man over the head with a bottle. The man was running after her screaming "Why would you waste that!? Why would you waste that!?" Then my mother had her Oldsmobile stolen right out of our driveway. It was the last straw. Also, I was ten years old and still hadn't learned to ride a bike, a.k.a. Huge Loser! The sidewalks were ruined with jagged concrete and littered with used condoms and old Capri Suns squeezies. I wasn’t skilled enough to navigate through all of that crap.

So we moved to Green Brook, New Jersey. A small, suburban town separated by the Route 22 highway. There were a lot more white kids here, total stereotype but very true, and our new street was part of a cul-de-sac. A cul-de-sac! It sounded so European. Or something I have when it’s cold outside.

My younger sister, Lauren, had a pink bike she was too young to ride, and with the moving van still in my new driveway, I rode the hell out of that Barbie-cycle. My dad was so happy, “All right Mikey boy!” And with the pink tassels fluttering in the wind off the handlebars he said, “We gotta get you a blue bike now. Right?”

I was really fortunate to be able to move into such a nice neighborhood. My parents worked very hard to get us there. My dad worked with technology in New York City and his recent promotion allowed us to make this move. He has the biggest heart in the world, so it always threw us off guard when at random moments there would be scenes like this:

Is everybody ready to go to church?

Can you give me one fucking SECOND!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!

The 50 plus hour workweeks combined with the pressure of buying and selling our homes was getting to him. Our dads are Superman when we're kids. Here was my hero, drowning in Kryptonite.

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