Life can be painful. So very painful. One moment you can be on top of the world, running, jumping, kicking, pretending you’re Bruce Lee stuck inside the Matrix with the fate of all humanity resting on your shoulders, kicking everybody’s ass because you are Bruce Lee and you are in the Matrix. And the next you can be sitting in a wheel chair, watching the world go by as you take out all that inner pain on the poor fools who think they can beat you at Mortal Kombat 64. But nuh-uh, no way, no one can beat a bamf* like you.
Let us go back to the summer after eighth grade. Let us reminisce for a moment on July the Fifth, Two Thousand and One. I had just graduated from my tenure at a certain public institution not a full month before, the siren songs of the summer calling to me from well into their crescendo. My closest friends had gone on vacation and the day was empty. No sport practices, no summer camps, no video games. Personally, all I wanted to do was sit inside, watch some cartoons and then play Indiana Jones in the patch of woods by my house.
Why no video games you ask? Because my parents wouldn’t allow it, they told me that they were evil things that would turn me into a “god damned couch-barnacle” who would “suck them dry of their very lives.” Or at least that’s what they told me. I think I saw my mother do the sign of the cross when we passed a see-through orange N64 at Toy ‘R’ Us. Closest thing I had to a real video game back in the day, closest thing to those glitzy 64 bit universes of infinite entertainment, was a 32 bit thing called Gizmos and Gadgets. It was made by TLC, not the channel, it was actually was an acronym that stood for “The Learning Company.” You had to go around collecting parts for vehicles and put them together in any assortment of ways. It was a lot of funny really… unless you stepped on one of those damned banana peels. I digress, no matter the details of that story, I had no real video games, but that was about to change.
So in lieu of virtual amusements, my mother decided that I would accompany her to a friend’s house. Why? Because her friend was going through some motion or other and needed someone to talk to and that someone was, of course, my mother. Also the fact the fact that the lady had an unruly, knuckle-dragging, extremely advanced and undiagnosed case of ADHftgdtD (otherwise known as Attention Deficit Hyper-fucking-take-a-god-damned-tranquilizer Disorder) having, future-fuck-up-of-the-year, pale-as-shit, pizza-skinned, motherfucking ingrate for a son who needed attention has something to do with my presence. In any case, I had never met this wonderful individual before the 5th of July and I wish I never had.
Upon arrival, I looked out upon the split-level, ranch styled house. It was red brick and red-roofed, there was a lengthy and winding sidewalk that made its way up a suburban hill. The wind was a’blowing, a slight whistle sounded, and I swear I saw a bird die as it flew across the yard. I watched it twirl, twirl, twirl until it thudded. Poor thing.
Now, I’ve never been a coward, but something just didn’t feel right. I tried to get my mother to just go home. But no, she just had to be a god damned good Samaritan. So I followed her up to the front door, cautious as Monk is OCD. Knock. Knock. Knock. The door opens. Rebecca’s waify self stood in the towering door frame, her son Svenlin (god only knows why she named him that, I say it was a pre-emptive karmattack*) smiling behind her.
He was a tall, skinny kid, greasy ass hair plastered to his bulbous nose. His teeth were all gnarled, like a badger’s or someone from the Jerry Springer show, and his dopey little eyes are suggestive of familial ties to former President George H.W. “the Missing Link in the Evolution of Humanity” Bush. Rebecca greeted both my mother and I and then instructed us boys to go play in the basement.
Everything was going well at first. He took out his N64 and suddenly he was okay. I was shallow like that, still kind of am. Who can say no to 3-D? Not even you grandmother, that’s who. We played Rayman and Golden Eye. We were having a ball. Then after the eighth time I’d beaten him in 007 he switched the game.
I could already tell that shit wasn’t going to end well. A red sheen came across his eyes, a zealotry true to only wrestling fans twinkled like a nightmare bought at Wal-Mart. I told him I didn’t want to play. He didn’t care. He kicked my ass in that video game so badly that I actually suggested we do something else. That there was the biggest mistake I ever made in the company of a stranger. And I paid a dear, dear lesson.
I was hoping he’d say no so I could just go up the stairs to my mother and ask her to leave. But instead he agreed and out came the Nerf guns. Suddenly, the kid was okay again. Then it happened. After just mere minutes firing off Nerf arrows and plastic tipped foam bullets, he said he wanted to wrestle. Flashes of that craved, Palin-worthy look played before my eyes like I was a character in a movie who was about to die. I told him no and walked towards the stairs.
I didn’t get there…
From out-the-fuck-nowhere, Svenlin tackled me from behind. Now, he was skinny, but he had muscle. He was also a year or so older than I was. He sat on the back of my legs and tried to pull my knees out-their-fucking-sockets. I struggled, tried to get up. But he was too big for me. I heard six, count them, six popping noises from within my own body. Needless to say that the inherent alarm systems in my body went off and I screamed.
Instead of acting like a rational human being that had anything like a soul, Svenlin merely switched to the other leg and pulled harder. I heard seven popping noises this time. That was it, time to bamf this bitch. He had his chance to let me go but he was an idiot. So I heeled him in the face and got the fuck out (I wish). Actually, I cried like a bitch.
No matter, I wound up having to go to the hospital. The fucker had broken my right knee, avulsed it to be specific. An avulsion fracture is when a ligament is torn from the bone such that part of the bone goes with it. When the doctor asked what happened, I told him. Apparently, the doctor himself had seen this before and informed me that Svenlin had done the damage with a move called the “knee breaker” as seen in WWE.
I spent the whole of that summer in a wheel chair, unable to walk, day dreaming of taking my favorite baseball bat to a certain douchebag’s knees. I still sit and dream of going back to my old neighborhood, finding him as a homeless man and still snapping his toothpick legs in half with my favorite aluminum bat. The undesirable reality of jail has kept me from fulfilling that dream. Yet the world can be kind, amidst all that pain and Mortal Kombat there is justice.
In the middle of a catch up drink at my favorite bar an acquaintance of mine, who also knew Svenlin, got a text message from him. We had just revisited the 5th of July, 2001, and in the spirit, showed me. It read:
(310): Just got kicked in the balls by a girl in tap shoes. Fuck EVERYTHING
*Bamf – short for bad ass motherfucker
*Karmattack – when Karma comes around and kicks a douchebag in the nuts