I recently stumbled upon this souvenir photo from a Putt-Putt golf birthday party in lawton oklahoma circa… oh… ’89, I wanna say?
I loved that place. I loved mini golf. I loved that the arcade had Dig Dug. Lots of good memories there.
It’s been torn down now, of course. Replaced with a boring tan shopping center. Lives on inside of me, though.
The kids in the pic? I can tell you all kinds of things about each one. From left to right: Chris, my best friend growing up. He lives in Illinois now, but we still chat sometimes. We used to stay up all night drinking Surge and playing Street Fighter II. We went to Star Trek conventions together.
Mark, in the horizontal-striped shirt, he was my next door neighbor. He was younger than me and kind of annoyed me but he was a good kid. I could see into their house through my bedroom window, and though I longed to see a glimpse of his mom naked, it never happened. They had a peach tree in their backyard. I used to eat them.
Toller had a Nintendo with all the cool games. He was a smart kid. We used to talk about comics.
Michael, and to his left, David, are brothers. Michael was really smart, and into science. I had a chemistry set we used to mess around with. Came with a frog in a jar of formaldehyde.
David struggled with a lot of things. Their dad died when they were young, and he later went to prison for a bit. He’s out, and seems to be doing okay. When his mom died, he had a lot of trouble adjusting to that. Brent, the kid next to him, became the executor of his mother’s estate a few years back. He was a deacon in the church we went to, and when I recently spoke to David, he told me Brent kicked him out of his mother’s house and sold it soon after her death. I believe it. He was one of my best friends, but he comes from a douche family, and slowly turned into one himself.
Lastly, there’s me on the end, looking away. I remember doing that on purpose, but I don’t know why.
Amazing how tall I am here. I was a fairly tall kid. And then I just stayed that height while others shot up past me, lol.
I look at myself here and think of all the things I was into at the time, what my state of mind was.
I was into GI Joe, comic books, drawing classic cars, wishing girls would let me smell their hair, writing short stories, and trolling truckers with an old CB radio my parents kept in the closet and told me not to play with. I did, of course.
See that shark to the right? Got that at the Indianapolis Zoo. The chair it’s sitting in is in my house right now. Belonged to my grandma in Indiana. She’s long gone. Alzheimer’s. Took a long time. One of my last memories of her involves her stumbling out of the bathroom, confused, with her pants down. I hate that memory. I’d rather think about the zoo, and pretending to be Elvis.
Oh, yeah, I was HUGE into Elvis. I credit much of my swagger to the King. I read every biography and even persuaded my parents to take a detour to Memphis while on vacation and visit Graceland. I walked through Elvis’s house. Man, my parents were so cool to do that kind of stuff for me. That was a fun trip. We toured Nashville and spotted Randy Travis, who waved at us.
I rarely if ever listen to Elvis anymore, got kind of cheesy to me after awhile, but I still crank this jam.
I look like I thought I was pretty cool, but I was not. Not at all. I don’t think I am now. But I’ll keep on playing the part.