Oh. My. God Yes.
Comedy is when you hate something so goddamn much that is transcends all levels of anger. You can’t simply scream about it; “fuck you ___” isn’t enough. From there, the only possible way of expressing your feelings about that thing is through making fun of it. It’s the ground below hell, but that’s not a funny way to describe it.
I’d read it
Well, yeah. That’s one way to win.
This man is going into a hall of fame for something, and I have his ass on cardboard.
I Want To Fuck You Before
Still infuriated I couldn’t go
Worcester, Massachusetts isn’t much of a town. It’s not a ghost town; those are for Iowa. There’s enough to do in Worcester. You’ve got your malls, your awesome breakfast diners, and of course, your Friday night football games. It’s actually not that bad of a town to live in. I could live there for the rest of my life if I so chose. I’m just saying that nobody born outside of Worcester has any interest in it, and why blame ‘em? There’s nothing monumental there, like in Boston. The Sox don’t play in Worcester and there hasn’t been a tea party there since the couple from Provincetown visited. There’s nothing really significant about Worcester, but no matter how hard I may try to forget, I will never forget my time there, for in the town of Worcester, I became a man.
I was sixteen at the time. You wouldn’t have believed that though. With a height of 5’ 2” and weighing in at a solid ninety-five pounds, it was hard for people to believe I was a teenager. I was never really that confident in myself. I didn’t talk that much. I only had a few friends. They were all from my baseball team, and we only hung out during the offseason once or so a month. I wasn’t even that comfortable around my family. My brother was my exact opposite and my mom was too wrapped up in what Regis and Kathie Lee were doing every day. The only stable relationship I had in my family was with my dad. People say we look the same, but little did they know that we had the personalities to match. We both loved the Patriots, had infinite hate for James Cameron, and would’ve followed Bob Seger from city to city if money didn’t exist. In the words of Norman Bates, “A man’s best friend is his father.” I don’t know whether or not that’s right, but you get the point. I may not have had a lot of friends, but my dad was enough.
I had just finished the last day of school before Spring Break. I walked in my home and immediately had to remove my jacket, thanks to the thermostat being cranked up so high. I walked into the living room to find my mom, watching some five year-old standup comedian on Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show.
“Get dressed. We’re going to the Bibauds’,” said my mom.
I nodded and went upstairs. As I put on a polo shirt and some cargo pants, I couldn’t help but smile.
I loved going to the Bibauds’ house. Tim Bibaud was my dad’s friend from high school. As a result, our family had a strong relationship with the Bibauds’. Anytime at the Bibauds’ was a good time, whether we were there to celebrate a holiday or just to watch a game. The Bibauds were just good people. They were smart, funny, and kind. The only problem was that the Bibauds didn’t have any kids. It was just Tim and Liz, husband and wife. It used to be kind of an uncomfortable place to be, but one night made it totally different in my eyes.
My family and I walked into the house, which was packed. I’ve never seen more people at a party in my life. It was hard to move around. I wasn’t aware that the Bibauds had decided to move into a can of sardines since I was last there, but I was okay with it. As long as I could find my way to the people I knew, I could get used to the atmosphere.
I shoved my way through the waves of Camel smoke and found myself in the Bibauds’ living room. After shoving my way through that Irish prison-camp, I finally found what my purpose for going to the party was: the game of Pitch. Sitting around a huge glass coffee-table were all of my dad’s friends. With this many family friends around, I felt like I was in a scene from some kind of Irish Goodfellas.
There was Tim Bibaud, Mike “Tyke” Harris, Harry “Moon” O’Malley, Liam “Commander” Crowley, Tom “Lenny” Conlon, Michael “Morg” Morgan and “Brother” Bill Bibaud. As soon as my dad and I walked in, they all looked at him and welcomed the last member of their crew.
My dad went around the room and shook everyone’s hand, as did I. I felt a little foolish, being The Sailor’s son, the tag-along. I felt unimportant around all of these adults. For the only moment of my life, I wished I was forty-eight years old. I would have loved to have Tyke’s messed up teeth, as long as I was considered a man among these guys. As I shook Bill’s hand, he smiled and pointed behind me.
“Good to see you, buddy. You meet Jordan? She’s my new stepdaughter.”
I turned and saw Jordan. Jordan Asperidge. She smiled and waved to me. I tried to be suave as I grinned and waved back. She was sitting on the couch, watching something on the TV. It might’ve been something on VH1; I have no idea. What should’ve been on my mind was Jordan. She definitely did some damage on the attractive scale. She had lightly tanned skin, which totally gave away the fact that she was Bill’s stepdaughter. She was wearing a t-shirt about one size too small and a pair of jeans. She had long, blonde hair and thick, brown eyebrows. She had an hourglass figure if hourglasses have ample breasts and long legs. I only realize she was attractive now because at the time I was focused on other things.
My dad’s friends were crowded around the table, playing Pitch. If you don’t know how to play Pitch, don’t ask me. I’ve played hundreds of hands and I still get confused by parts of it. You just need to know that it’s complicated. The game’s more likely to play you than you are to play the game. If I had been alone, I could’ve never learned how to play Pitch. I learned how through the rites of passage I took there at the Bibauds’.
I watched a couple of hands of Pitch and talked to my dad about the rules. It’s a four-person game and we’d just shown up, so we were just spectators until I got the rules down. I was set with just that, but the fellas insisted I try playing a game.
“Let the kid play,” said Moon, “We’ve been playing since the days at The Shack. It’s not like we need to play. Let him take my place.”
Moon stood up from his seat and offered it to me. I shook my head at first, knowing I wasn’t ready. Everyone insisted though, so I took my new seat at the coffee-table.
I was sitting across from Tyke, with Bill and Tim at my sides. Knowing that it was my first game, Tyke gave me a reassuring wink that let me know if I made a bad move during the game, he’d be there to back me up, being my partner and all. With that, the cards were dealt, and the game began.
The game started off pretty smoothly. The trump, the highest ranking suit in the game, was spades. I had about four spades in my hand of seven cards. The first hand went by and before I knew it, Tyke and I were up four to nothing. I had no problem believing it, especially since Mr. Crowley was sitting behind me, telling me what cards to play whenever it was my turn. I continued playing with my dad’s friends and by the time we were done playing, I had grown on them. I went to the same high school as they had, so we talked a lot about teachers they had and the sports teams. They were particularly impressed by the amount of stolen bases I had on the baseball team during my freshman year. At one point, Lenny called me “Sweet Feet.” That was the point when I knew I was accepted among them. I had always wanted a nickname like they had, and now I had one. I felt like one of the guys. I felt like a man, but my manhood wouldn’t be official until later in the night.
About an hour later, we had stopped playing Pitch and were watching the Celtics game. The Celtics were beating the Bulls so badly, we just wrapped ourselves up in discussion. We were talking about Glengarry Glen Ross when Lenny came up with two bottles of Heineken.
“One for Moon,” he said, handing it to Mr. O’Malley, “and one for Sailor,” he said, handing it to my dad.
“None for me, thank you,” my dad said with a grin, “I wanna be able to drive again in my life.”
“Alright, if you say so,” said Lenny with a chuckle, “Who wants a beer, then?”
I raised my hand and replied, “I’ll take it,” without thinking. Everyone laughed at my “joke” while I sheepishly smiled. I hate embarrassing moments like that when people laugh at what they think is a joke, but I couldn’t have been more serious. Truth was, I didn’t really think about it. I just wanted to be involved in conversation. It was selfish, but I just wanted attention as a man. As the laughing settled, I got that attention I had been craving.
My dad looked over at me and said, “You really want it?”
I replied with a cautious “What?”
My dad nodded, letting me know he was serious. “You want it or not?”
“You’re mom’s not here,” said Lenny, “She’s off in the other room with all of our wives, probably talking about some awful Susan Sarandon movie.”
“Yeah,” Tyke said, “It’s not like you’re driving tonight anyways. How old are you, fourteen?”
“Sixteen, but close,” I said with a smirk.
“Point is you’re fine,” my dad said, “Here”
I couldn’t believe it. I had heard so much about this. I heard how you’re supposed to wait for twenty-one years to drink this. I heard you’re supposed to, if needed to be done at all, consume it in total privacy if you’re underage. Drinking illegally was the last thing I wanted to do around adults, but there was my father, with a smile on his face and a bottle of forbidden liquid in his hand.
My hand moved in slow motion as I grabbed the bottle and placed it on my lips. I followed the ritual of every single beer commercial I’d ever seen. I rested the bottle’s neck on the bottom of my lip and raised the bottle to the point where the bottle was almost upside down. I tried to take the beer in as smoothly as possible. It went down like water, really bad tasting water. In my opinion, it tasted like a blend of all the diet drinks that nobody likes but drinks for the “diet” aspect.
I put down my beer and realized that everyone had returned their attention back to the Celtics game. No one had really watched me take my first drink, and why should they? I was just another man, drinking another beer. Another man. I couldn’t believe it.
That same year, in my religion class, Mr. Applegate, my teacher, told us about the rites of passage. He said that the rites of passage are parts of life where a boy goes through struggle or passes into another realm of life in order to become a man. He said that America is absent of the rites of passage. He said pure rites only reside in Africa nowadays. So since the U.S lacks African customs, like the one we all saw in Roots, America also lacks proper rites of passage. Apparently, American culture has given modern society fake paths to manhood, such as underage drinking and premature sex. Yep, that’s what Mr. Applegate said. Fuck what Mr. Applegate said.
I didn’t care what society had to say about manhood. I had become a man. If not that, I had figured out what it is to be a man. I had crossed over. With one sip, I had defied the laws given to me by my religion teacher and had learned something completely different. With that taste of beer, I also got a taste of the truth. The criteria of being a man doesn’t exist. Being a man is independence. Manhood has nothing to do with being dragged into the jungle and being told by someone else what you are. It has nothing to do with being accepted by anyone. Manhood is when you’re able to accept yourself as a man. I was convinced at the exact moment of alcohol consumption that I was a man and I could do whatever I wanted. I forgot all of that “fake path” nonsense. I had taken the right path: my path. I knew drinking wasn’t the best form of initiation into manhood, but I knew it was mine. My actions may not have made me look like a man, but the fact that I chose to take those actions sure made me feel like a man. I was sure that I could’ve drank an entire keg of beer if I had so chosen. And right after that, I’d walk over to the side of the room, and kiss Jordan on the lips in front of everybody. I could’ve cared if anyone would have a problem with it, because I sure as hell wouldn’t.
I may do a lot of things in my life. I may walk through the violence of Bourbon Street in the middle of Mardi Gras. I may throw myself into the heart of New York on New Year’s Eve. I may run with bulls. I may dance with stars. I may save lives. I may make a difference in plenty of other people’s lives, but I know nothing will make a difference in my life more than the moment I first experienced manhood. Nothing will ever make a difference in my life more than that moment in the small town of Worcester, Massachusetts, when I had my first drink.