Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Childhood of a Lawyer and Its Repercussions

I know this is long overdue, but I just haven't had much to write about lately. Still don't, in fact, I have to dig deep into my childhood to find an anecdote worth repeating. Or maybe it isn't. I don't know. You be the judge.

In my early childhood, I had a best friend whom we will call Eric. Protecting his identity is kind of important, as you will see as this story unfolds.

So for Eric's ninth birthday, we went to see Ninja III: The Domination at the dollar movies in Yukon. I hadn't seen Ninja, or Ninja II, and I am not even sure those movies were ever made. But it was 1984, the height of suburban white kid ninja phases and profitable movie sequels. So, without a doubt, we were in.

Before the movie, Eric announces he has to take a dump. Eric loved shock value as one may infer. But the shock value I was in store for, well, I was not prepared.

Eric proceeded to climb on the large counter in the men's restroom, and dropped a big, fat, steaming log directly into one of the sinks.

We laughed. I thought it was funny at the time (I was eight). When we came back to use the restrooms after the movie--Eric, in a much more conventional manner--we saw the log was gone. I remember joking, "someone got hungry". My weak attempt at shock value paled in comparison to Eric's steamer.

I have reflected on this incident much over the years, and my viewpoint has evolved considerably. A couple of years later, I marveled at the balls Eric had to do such a thing. The thing about the men's restrooms at that movie theater was that there was no door; just a short hallway and a 90-degree turn provided all the necessary privacy. If someone had walked in, Eric would have been caught. There would not have been any kind of sounds to warn us of a third party's entrance. We would have had no explanation. (I say "we" because I think I would have gotten in trouble due to guilt by association.) Let's consider:

(Shock and Disgusted Imaginary Man): "What in the Hell…? What the Hell are you doing?!"

(Eric): "I had to go really bad. All the stalls were full."

(SDIM): "What?! You two little bastards are the only ones in here. There are four empty stalls…"

I just don't think it would have been pretty after that.

A couple of years later, I thought it was funny to taunt Eric about the terrible thing he had done in subtle ways. I remember saying to my mother, "Mom, one time Eric and I went to the movies, and someone had pooped in the sink."
She responded, "Only the scum of the Earth would do that." After that, I always told Eric he was the scum of the Earth in jest. I think he wore the title with pride.

Right around the time I turned 17, I ended up getting a job at the bowling alley where I bowled league. I was kind of like a busboy for bowling lanes, what those in the industry refer to as "concourse boy". It occurred to me that some other poor stiff getting minimum wage had to clean up Eric's mess. While the night crew cleaned the bathrooms, I knew that if some other little bastard committed a similar bathroom atrocity during business hours, my boss wasn't going to let it wait for the night crew, and I would be tasked for the necessary steamer extraction. I waited and waited for it to come full circle.

After all, it wasn't like I was dealing with the upper crust of society working at a bowling alley. While I knew a league bowler wouldn't shit in the sink, the one thing I learned there was to never underestimate the appalling behavior open bowlers (non-league bowlers) were capable of. Hell, I was amazed at the number of people who wandered in with no intention of bowling and their behavior. But I saw the way some people drank there, and I always expected someone to vomit on the floor eventually.

I was prepared to quit on the spot if that occurred.

But it never came full circle. No poop, no vomit. Although once when I was working the desk after a promotion and Gus was working concourse, someone spilled a tuna fish sandwich's contents on the floor, and we both thought it was puke. He asked me what it was, knowing damn well what we both feared it was, in a tone that suggested he might be willing to quit on the spot as well. Maybe that was the "coming full circle" that I deserved since I just laughed at Eric's dump and didn't take an active role.

I guess that is the end of the story for the most part. Eric moved away, but stayed in our school district. We didn't hang out much after he moved, but I do remember he was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" in his senior class. Last I heard, he was a lawyer in San Diego or something.