Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Acting The Fool

Mo' Tales From My Yoot

Y'know, one of the things I like about the blogosphere is that you can sit there cruising through your blogroll, and out of nowhere a post comes along and smacks your skull like a sledgehammer on a big bronze bell. Serious resonation that sends memory waves echoing back & forth through the dusty recesses of your braincase...

I've been thinking about this post of Eric's for a couple of days now. It's a good post, but if you don't have time to read it, basically Eric gives a houseguest the heave-ho for being extremely inconsiderate. For those of you who don't know Eric, he's an outstanding host, and usually a reserved individual, but you really don't want to be running your yap when he's asked someone to play him a specific song on the guitar. The man's got a shovel, and he knows how to use it!

So, I read his post and I'm flung back in time to 8th grade. Ms. M***'s history class at Spring Forest Jr. High, to be specific. I made a complete ass of myself, and probably didn't realize why until I read that post of Eric's. Oh, I'm sure I could have figured it out earlier, had I recalled the episode. People are really good about "forgetting" those times where we beclowned ourself in public.

It was toward the end of the school year, and the topic was the War of Northern Aggression. Each student had to do a special project about the war. I built a huge 36" x 48" diorama of the Battle of Shiloh. I used tiny HO scale soldiers and a train depot repainted to look like the Shiloh Church, and a bunch of little trees painted with pink dots representing the Peach Orchard.

Another kid in the class named "James" was a member of the school choir, and chose as his project a rendition of popular songs of the Civil War era. I knew the kid fairly well. We were both JRR Tolkien fans and liked wargaming. He was kind of a know-it-all blowhard, but in 8th grade, who isn't?

So, there in class in front of God & everybody, unaccompanied by backing music, piano, or even someone clapping out the time, James launches into his selection of songs. I was absolutely aghast. Oh, he was a good enough singer, but I was mortified at the idea of someone just standing up there and singing alone. I was so uncomfortable at what he was doing, I just began tearing into his performance, making snide comments, rolling my eyes and generally being an immature prick, something else 8th graders are quite good at.

I was embarrassed FOR him. Looking back on it, I would have sooner bent over in church, dropped trou and shown off my shiny pink balloon knot than to stand up and sing a song in front of a group. Just the thought of doing such a thing had me squirming in my seat.

I dunno what I was trying to accomplish by being a jerkoff. Maybe if I cut up enough, he'd stop singing and I wouldn't be so uncomfortable.

8th graders don't know much about Freudian projection... What I didn't realize was that my embarrassment was not shared by James. I was more or less projecting my own fears onto his performance.

The end result was I was unceremoniously ejected from the room, had my ass tanned by Coach T**** and his big wooden paddle, and got a blistering lecture on General Assholery by James at lunch the next day.

I'd like to say that the experience cleaned out my supply of jackoffishness and assholery, but I'd be lying to you. It still pops up from time to time, usually here on the blog. I did learn to behave myself in public, though...

I can't say that Eric's boorish houseguest was hit with a case of Freudian projection, but even if it was, politely showing him the door was the proper thing to do.

Maybe hitting him with a shovel, too...